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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 September 2007, 20:11 GMT 21:11 UK
Boro chief rejects Brooking claim
Steve Gibson
Gibson was speaking at a BBC Tees Fans Forum at the Riverside
Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson has rejected Sir Trevor Brooking's claims that overseas players are harming the national side's chances of success.

"I think we need to be brighter in our approach and our thinking as to why England is so far behind," said Gibson.

"It is wrong to see the foreign players as a threat. We should be looking to learn from them.

"This country still produces excellent footballers. We just don't produce excellent teams."

Gibson was speaking at a BBC Tees Forum this week at the Riverside stadium, taking questions from the fans alongside manager Gareth Southgate.

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"It's not just football," Gibson remarked. "If you look at our history in tennis, cricket or rugby, we don't seem to quite get there in anything.

"I know we won the Rugby World Cup, but I don't think we'll win it this time, and I don't think we'll win the Cricket World Cup or the Ashes next time around either.

"I saw the England under-17s game against Germany (on Sunday) and it was embarrassing. We were so poor. It's a problem we have as a country. We can learn a lot from these foreign players."

Would I sell David Wheater for 10m? No.

Steve Gibson

Boro's academy has unearthed several notable homegrown players in recent years, including England international Stewart Downing, and under-21 stars Andrew Taylor, Lee Cattermole and David Wheater.

"There's a lot in football you don't see," said Gibson. "At Boro we put a lot of time into educating our coaching staff, the academy, and the kids we try to bring through.

"We've seen the arrival of David Wheater and Gareth has given him the opportunity and the confidence to go out there and play. Would I sell David Wheater for 10m? No."

Also on the Fans Forum agenda was the sale of influential striker Yakubu to Everton in August.

"The one thing which cannot happen at a club is when you have a player who is unsettled to the point where it affects his performances on the field," said Boro boss Gareth Southgate.

"That's the position where we'd got to with Yakubu. Emotionally he was struggling, and at Wigan he gave a performance that was below his own standards.

"When that happens, it's the right time to get the best possible deal for the club."

Asked about who will score the goals now Yakubu and Mark Viduka have left, the Boro boss remained confident.

"You don't have to have two strikers scoring all the goals. My responsibilty is to get a team who can score goals from any position.

"Downing has two already, and we've had goals from nearly all the other midfielders. I think Mido, Aliadiere, Tuncay and Dong-Gook will also score their share."

SEE ALSO
Brooking fears for England future
03 Sep 07 |  Football
Yakubu joins Everton for 11.25m
29 Aug 07 |  Everton


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