Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

Lambert reserved about quota idea

Greg Dyke believes the influx of foreign players in the Premier League has denied home-grown prospects first-team opportunities

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert is unconvinced about how beneficial the introduction of a foreign player quota in the Barclays Premier League would be for the England team.

Football Association chairman Greg Dyke last week made a speech in which he said the "frightening trend" of the reduction in the number of England-qualified players in the top flight needed addressing.

And with a view to boosting the prospects of the national side, he pledged to set up a commission to find a solution to the problem - something the Premier League on Thursday declared its commitment to following a meeting attended by club chairmen and Dyke.

The 66-year-old said last week the commission will look at the possibility of introducing a foreign player quota, admitting it may be legally "complex".

And regarding that issue, Lambert said on Thursday afternoon: "I don't know if it's the answer.

"It (foreign imports) is not stopping the Bundesliga, is it? It's not stopping them (Germany) from producing their own players.

"It's hard to say. There's a lot of clamour when the national team is not doing well that it must be the fault of the league.

"If you're good enough you'll play."

Norwich manager Chris Hughton regards a quota as a feasible option, but is unsure as to the "rights and wrongs" of it.

He said: "Quotas are possible but for that to happen it has to be an organisation or a group of people that have to implement that.

"Whether that is right or wrong I don't know, the clubs will have a say on that.

"What he (Dyke) is heading towards is that he wants to see the best national game that he can and I thought it was a very interesting speech."

Hughton added: "You have to support what the rules are and what the quotas are.

"The rights and wrongs will be questioned by a lot of people."

Hull boss Steve Bruce feels the Premier League may have "blocked the way" for English players, but has also suggested that the development systems at clubs have not been adequate.

Bruce said: "It's interesting to hear what he (Dyke) says...maybe we have blocked the way with the Premier League, but there's all sorts of reasons for it.

"We've spent millions on academies for years and for there's no real evidence it's working.

"Maybe it's social, maybe we should look at schools.

"It's a big debate and a big issue because we just aren't producing players like we used to."

Within a statement released by the Premier League on Thursday, its chairman Anthony Fry said that investment in the new youth development system - the Elite Player Performance Plan - demonstrated top-flight clubs' desire to bring English talent through their ranks to the point of making an impact in the first team and at international level.

Fry added that it was an area, along with that of coaching education, where "a lot has been achieved and there remains plenty to be done."

Everton boss Roberto Martinez feels it is certainly important that the Merseyside outfit continues to see their young English players develop into senior players with them and full internationals, as has been the case recently with midfielder Ross Barkley.

But the Spaniard has also stressed that the focus for the Toffees must be on what that will do for them as a club, rather than the national team.

Martinez said: "The responsibility is - you don't do something for someone else. We do it for Everton.

"Our football club has always had terrific young talent.

"We need to make sure we use that talent in the first team. To do that we need to help them and have a structure where they can be given an opportunity to show what they have got.

"Ross Barkley is a great example. We have got similar cases now, deeper down.

"I do feel if you want to be successful at any club, you need to have good young talent, and a good young generation that can be guided, representing the values of the football club, on the football pitch.

"That can help the foreign additions, (in terms of) how to play and how to represent the club."

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