England Under-21 manager Gareth Southgate has told the Times that he wants to see a quota introduced to help limit the number of foreign players in the Football League.
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Football Association chairman Greg Dyke issued a warning last month regarding the future of English football due to the falling number of English players in the Premier League, while an FA commission was set up last week to help reverse such problems.
And Southgate feels introducing a quota in both the Championship and the lower tiers of English football will prevent clubs in those leagues from importing limited quality rather than nurturing home-grown talent themselves.
“The lower divisions should be a breeding ground for young English players,” Southgate said. “I can understand why Premier League clubs want to bring in the best foreign players. If foreign players are coming into the Championship, though, they cannot be the very best because of the very nature of the league they are being brought to play in. There should be a strong emphasis on the Championship being English -- or at least British -- players.”
Southgate added: “Sometimes it is finance. It is cheaper [to sign a foreign player]. There is a premium on English players and that exists from a very early age. It has changed a bit with the academy system, but it is still top-heavy and [it is still seen as an expensive risk] to buy a young player, as they are not necessarily experienced.
“Everybody is trying to find the right way [to bring young players through], with the Premier League introducing the Under-21 league. It has always been difficult. Managers have never really taken a chance on young kids, unless they have been truly outstanding.”
Despite such problems, Southgate feels the game is starting to see some positives come out of the academy system. Nine of the players in his squad for Monday’s game with Lithuania are drawn from clubs in the Championship.
The likes of Tom Ince and Jesse Lingard, Southgate feels, are examples of more technically-based players that academies are starting to produce.
“There is a big drive in this country for Futsal, which is very popular in Brazil and is where all those individual skills of beating players and running your foot over the ball come out,” he said. “It is important we only do that in the right areas, though.”