Eric Cantona, arguably the most influential foreign player of the Premier League era, has warned that England will fail to make future World Cups unless a cap is placed on imports.
Cantona said: “Yes, (a cap) is important. You can have foreign players; but three, four or five.”
“You must also have good, young English players because they will play with great foreign players and improve with them.”
“They will have a chance to play with the first team and they will play to win the Premier League; big games with a lot of pressure, they will play in Europe and they will have experience of the game.”
“Now, even the small teams, they have so many foreigners. Capello would once have had hundreds of players he could choose, but now how many English players play in the Premier League?”
“If it keeps going, in 10 years time it will be very, very difficult. I’m sure England will not qualify for the European Championship or the World Cup, because you need to have players who play at the highest level so you have to be careful.”
Cantona, who was credited by Sir Alex Ferguson with inspiring and improving United’s ‘golden generation’ of David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and the Neville brothers, fears that a talent drought in the younger ranks of English football is now beginning to tell.
He said: “England have good players from the last generation, but they need to have very good young players and why don’t they have good young players?”
“You still have the old generation, like (Steven) Gerrard and these kind of players. When they were young, there were not so many foreigners.”
“Now Liverpool or Arsenal have 11 foreign players, so where are the young English players? Arsenal and Liverpool never play with English players!”
“These kind of teams need to work on young players – it’s very important for England, for the national team.”
“It’s very important for the whole national team to have young players involved in the greatest teams because they will play in very strong competitions, they will play to win the Premier League, in Europe and they will improve every time.”
Tags: Premier League