Premiership's strength is England's weakness - Sven

December 8, 2006

Sven-Goran Eriksson claims the economic strength of the Premiership could be undermining England's chances of success in international football.

The former England manager claims it would benefit the national team if more senior internationals played in Spain's Primera Liga or Italy's Serie A.

However each player called up for last month's friendly against Holland was England-based, and only David Beckham and Owen Hargreaves of Eriksson's World Cup squad play their club football abroad.

Beckham was prised away from Manchester United by Real Madrid in 2003 for £24million, while Canada-born Hargreaves has spent his entire career with Bayern.

Eriksson believes there is little prospect of any England footballer leaving the Premiership, because of the high fees paid and demanded domestically, which contrast with more modest transfers in mainland Europe.

'There are only two English players playing outside England which means that the Premiership is economically very strong,' Eriksson told TakeSport, free with the Evening Standard in London every Friday afternoon.

'It is hard for a club to buy a player from the Premiership because it costs too much.'

England have not reached a World Cup final since 1966.

At the 1990 World Cup they reached the semi-finals, and matched that at the 1996 European Championship, however since then no manager has been able to lead the team beyond the last eight of either tournament.

Eriksson's sides fell at the quarter-final stage at two World Cups and also at Euro 2004.

Despite the experience of England's players in the Champions League and UEFA Cup, Eriksson believes his squad would have been better prepared if several senior men had played club football abroad.

'The lack of exposure of home-grown English players is one of the contributing factors,' said 58-year-old Eriksson.

'Yes it would be better for England if more English players were in Italy or Spain because I think you become a better footballer if you experience different playing styles.'