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Last Updated: Friday, 25 January 2008, 10:47 GMT
Academies are not working - Bruce
Steve Bruce
Bruce believes the lack of depth lies with distractions for youngsters
Wigan manager Steve Bruce has criticised English football's academy system for not producing top-class talent worthy of the Premier League.

Bruce struggled to find a replacement for Emile Heskey when the England striker was injured recently.

"There are not many of his type of centre-forward around," said Bruce. "They used to be 10 a penny, but we have not got many now.

"We are not producing them like we did. In my opinion, the system is wrong."

The Football Association's director of football development Sir Trevor Brooking recently said English football has been "hugely negligent" in the way it develops young talent.

606: DEBATE

Brooking has been instrumental in the FA's decision to back the concept of a National Football Centre to develop the country's most promising talent.

But Bruce believes the fundamental problems lie with the many distractions youngsters now have.

"In my day there was a game going on at every street corner and on every park, but kids seem to have too much to do now, what with computers and everything else they have," he said.

"The reason why managers go abroad to sign players is because we don't have the talent anymore.

"We have to be realistic. We have to stop kidding ourselves that we have the talent."

SEE ALSO
Brooking urges coaching overhaul
18 Dec 07 |  Football
Burton 'vital to England success'
18 Dec 07 |  Football


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