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Dyke plays down 2014 chances


Greg Dyke has admitted that England may be some way off challenging for the World Cup next year

Greg Dyke has admitted that England may be some way off challenging for the World Cup next year

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Greg Dyke has admitted that England may be some way off challenging for the World Cup next year

Football Association chairman Greg Dyke believes there is only a remote chance of England winning the 2014 World Cup.

On Wednesday, in his first speech as FA chairman, Dyke spoke about the dwindling numbers of English footballers playing regular top-flight football. His aim is to reverse that trend, with the stated ambition of England winning the 2022 World Cup.

England are struggling in qualification for next year's tournament in Brazil. They are currently second in Group H, two points behind Montenegro, who have played a game more while Ukraine are just a point behind England.

No European nation has won the World Cup in South America and Dyke therefore thinks England will not be among the favourites for the tournament in Brazil if they qualify.

"I don't think anyone realistically thinks we are going to win the World Cup in Brazil," he told the BBC's Today programme.

"I asked a bunch of journalists what would be seen as doing well in Brazil. The consensus was if we reach the quarter-finals we'll do very well.

"That's not to say we can't win. But let's not kid ourselves, it's pretty hard to win in Latin America anyway for a European side. We're certainly not going to go there as odds-on favourites, that's for sure."

England play Moldova at Wembley on Friday and they then fly to Kiev, where they face Ukraine four days later.

Hodgson's team could drop to third in Group H if they lose to Ukraine, but Dyke says he believes the team will qualify.

Dyke added: "He knows that we want to do the best we can possibly do at every tournament and I believe we will qualify for Brazil and we can do OK."

As well as targeting victory in the 2022 World Cup, Dyke said in his speech that he wanted England to make the semi-finals of Euro 2020.

The fact that the 2022 World Cup is currently still scheduled to take place in the blazing summer heat of Qatar is likely to diminish England's chances, although there is a chance that the tournament could be moved to winter.

Former England striker Gary Lineker labelled Dyke's goals as "fantasy" and he admitted an improvement in standards will take some time.

Lineker wrote on Twitter: ''Finally read Greg Dyke's speech. Some realism as to issues, some fantasy as to targets. Unless PL & FA unite, it's all pie in the sky.

''Things are improving, small sided games and pitches, better coaching, but will take time and patience. There is NO quick fix!"

Dyke conducted a round of media interviews on Thursday morning following up on his speech, and believes the Premier League understands the need for change without any pressure being exerted upon it. Dyke wants the league's chairman, Anthony Fry, to be part of his commission to look at reforms which could improve the state of the domestic game.

Dyke told talkSPORT: ''I'm not sure I need coercive powers. I think the Premier League understands it is in everybody's interest to have a successful England team.

''I have no doubt some of the remedies might be tough for the Premier League and you might not be able to implement them.''

Changes could include a quota on foreign players, a reform of the loan system and also addressing the thorny issue of a mid-season break.

Such a break is commonplace on the continent, but it has never been introduced into English football despite lobbying from key figures.

Former England manager Fabio Capello said the lack of a winter break was one of the main reasons behind England's failure to win a major tournament since 1966.

''What I hope will come out of (the commission) are some positive proposals,'' added Dyke.

''(Other national associations) appear to have acted in a much tougher way (in pushing through reform). I think people know we have a problem. Hopefully we can do it without using the big stick.''

Dyke also wants the commission, which he expects to deliver its findings in the new year, to look outside the professional game and also outside the sport for answers to the question of the falling number of English players in the Premier League.

''There's something that says 'if you haven't played the game you don't know', but I don't buy that.

''I think you learn from wherever you can. We should learn from what is happening in football in other countries and we should learn from other sports.''

Dyke went on to reject allegations of hypocrisy from his time as a Manchester United director between 1997 and 1999 and also, as chairman of Brentford, his appointment of former Germany international Uwe Rosler as manager.

In an interview on Sky Sports News, Dyke said: ''When I was a director of Manchester United I was lucky, I was there during that wonderful period when virtually half the youth team came and played in the first team.

''Manchester United is one of the clubs that has developed young English players over many years.

''In terms of Brentford, Uwe Rosler played a long time. I'm not against foreign managers. If you've got a league which is largely foreign owned, largely foreign managed and mainly foreign players you've got an issue for English football.''