Vincent Kompany has told young English players they ought to move abroad to get experience of first-team football -- and predicted that, if they do, the country will reach a World Cup final by 2030.
The centre-back captained the Belgium team that reached the quarterfinals of this summer's World Cup and skippers a Manchester City side who sometimes line up without a single Englishman in the starting 11.
But while his former City teammate Jack Rodwell, who left the Etihad Stadium for Sunderland after struggling to get a place in the team, advised English players to think carefully before moving to the club, Kompany believes he and his Belgian teammates have benefited from featuring a lot at a young age and playing in different countries.
"It is not just opportunity," he told national newspapers at the official Premier League launch. "It is also education. What has made my development is not the fact that I started in the Premier League at 17 or 18, because it is not realistic -- it is the fact that I started at Anderlecht at 17 and played Champions League at 17 and moved on when I was 20.
"That made a difference for players like me, Eden Hazard, Jan Vertonghen, Mousa Dembele, all the players in my national team. We started at smaller clubs. If you think about England, what needs to change is the mind-set.
"English players should accept at a younger age to take experience abroad or in leagues where it is easier to play, where it is less demanding, either physically or when it comes to results. It is as simple as that."
Kompany, 28, debuted for Ajax at 17 and moved on to Hamburg three years later before signing for City in 2008.
He believes the future of English football will be bright because of the facilities and said their failure in this World Cup could be the jolt that spurs the national team forward.
He added: "I look at it in a more rational way. Germany have just done the basics right like they did in France after their elimination in the 1994 World Cup qualifiers. They've gone back to their roots ... they put in the necessary funding into it. All of a sudden, because it is a big country, they have such a huge number of young players coming through with quality. It is as simple as that.
"People talk about the great facilities in England but they've only been here for two to three years. You still have to wait. England will play a World Cup final in the next four competitions for the simple reason that no other country has the resources to put that much into facilities.
"The wealthy ownerships of the clubs help and at the same time coaches are being brought in from countries where they have succeeded, whether it is Germany, France, Spain or Holland, teaching the locals here. It will make English football evolve.
"What happened was very simple. You [England] rest on your laurels a little bit because you have had success for so long, and then you get a slap like the last World Cup and all of a sudden it makes you progress 10 years. It's a good recovering cycle. It was a very important slap, a good one, one that will make English players reach another level."
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