Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Sunderland anger over Dyke comments

Greg Dyke highlighted Sunderland's summer transfer dealings
Greg Dyke highlighted Sunderland's summer transfer dealings

Sunderland have hit back at Football Association chairman Greg Dyke after he criticised their summer recruitment policy.

Dyke highlighted the Black Cats while expressing his concern over the declining number of English players in the Barclays Premier League and the consequences for the national team.

Only one of the 14 players the club signed ahead of last month's transfer deadline is English, with former Altrincham striker Duncan Watmore the exception.

However, chief executive Margaret Byrne, writing in her programme notes ahead of today's home clash with Arsenal, said: "I have to say that I was very disappointed by some comments in Mr Dyke's speech and in particular his reference to Sunderland AFC.

"I am sure that when Mr Dyke has had an opportunity to speak with clubs and to familiarise himself with the rigorous process involved with EPPP [Elite Player Performance Plan], he will become more knowledgeable as to the efforts that we are making.

"All Premier League clubs (and indeed, all clubs in England) want to develop players that can play for England.

"We are fully committed to developing young English talent and our pledge to this was cemented from the moment we embarked on the Elite Player Performance Plan, and indeed our significant capital investment in our indoor training facility last year.

"We hope players such as El-Hadji Ba and David Moberg-Karlsson will help our other younger English players to develop.

"We have signed a number of established players with the intention of them being involved at first team level immediately, but the wider picture is that we have committed to the playing squad as a whole, something that we recognised that we needed to do."

Meanwhile, manager Paolo Di Canio has insisted he did not apologise to skipper John O'Shea for publicly criticising his performance at Crystal Palace.

The Republic of Ireland defender, who conceded a penalty and was sent off during the 3-1 defeat at Selhurst Park, revealed that he had received a telephone call from the Italian the following day.

However, Di Canio told the Sunderland Echo: "It is not true that I rang John O'Shea the next day to apologise.

"That's not because I feel that it is wrong to apologise if you do something wrong - if you do something wrong, you should apologise.

"But there was nothing for me to apologise for. The way that phone call was interpreted by the media shows that people do not understand my relationship with my players."

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