Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Foreign Player Glut Causing 'Blockage'

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Foreign Player Glut Causing 'Blockage'

Article excerpt

ENGLAND'S best prospects are being denied a crack at the big time because of a worrying "blockage" caused by the number of foreigners in the Premier League, according to Ray Lewington.

Concerns about the future of English football came to the fore again this summer after the Under-21 side - often seen as the feeder team to the senior squad - flopped at the European Championship, losing all three matches and scoring just one goal in the process.

New Football Association (FA) chairman Greg Dyke admitted this morning he is concerned about the swathes of foreign players in English football and Lewington also appears to have his worries.

Lewington has been working with the Under-21 side this weekend on a one-off basis ahead of tomorrow's friendly against Scotland and he has been impressed with the young talent in the current squad.

Raheem Sterling, Jonjo Shelvey and Tom Carroll all impressed during today's training session at St George's Park, but they have all had limited firstteam experience due to intense competition from foreign stars at their respective clubs.

"We are producing some exciting talent, but there is a blockage and they don't get through," England's assistant manager said.

"The blockage is there because there are lots of foreign players coming in. It's great for the league. But from an English point of view it means there are so many blockages on the way to the top.

"Players who would have got their chance a lot earlier have to wait a little longer. Football is instant now, managers can't take chances. "We have tipped the balance at the moment. It's hard for the young players to break through.

"England will always produce good players, we are a footballing nation, it's just whether they will get their chance."

This debate is hardly a new one, of course. Every time the senior or Under-21 side flop at a major tournament, the number of foreign players in the English game is always cited as a huge problem in the post mortem. …

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