Foreign limit would help England - Gerrard

November 14, 2007

Steven Gerrard believes a limit on the number of foreign players in English domestic football would benefit the national team.

Several figures including Sepp Blatter, the president of world governing body FIFA, and Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson have called for the number of overseas players in the Premier League to be capped.

The issue has proved particularly pertinent with England in serious danger of failing to qualify for Euro 2008.

Liverpool star Gerrard, who is currently captaining England in the absence of injured John Terry, stopped short of calling for such restrictions but can see their merits.

'I'm sure it won't do any harm and I'm sure it would help the national team,' he said.

'We want as many homegrown players in that league as possible.

'I think there is a risk of too many foreign players coming over, which would affect our national team eventually if it's not already.

'It is important we keep producing players. There is no point having the best league in the world if the national team is going to suffer in the long run.'

Michael Owen, one of the few members of the England squad to have actually played overseas himself, accepted the best foreign players had made a positive contribution to the Premier League.

And although he had no doubt the very best youngsters would make it to the top, he was concerned some players who had a chance of making the grade would have their progress hindered.

'We all want one thing at the end of the day, we want our national team to be very good and our league to be good,' he told a press conference televised by Sky Sports News.

'The foreigners have helped raise the standard of our game but if you want to be greedy you would want English players to raise that standard further.

'You always think to yourself the top English players will come through and play but there are some who are late developers and they get pushed to the back of the queue because there are too many foreign players.'