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Woodgate: Standards have dropped

Stoke City defender Jonathan Woodgate believes the standard of play and quality of players in the Premier League has dropped this year.

Woodgate, who has played for Leeds, Newcastle, Real Madrid, Middlesbrough and Tottenham during an injury-affected career, believes Liverpool's current struggles - and the number of teams within striking distance of the seventh-placed Reds - indicates the drop in quality at the top of the table.

However, the 32-year-old admits he has been impressed by Swansea's adjustment to the Premier League, especially the attractive way they have played.

"I don't think the standard is as good as it has been - you can tell because teams aren't too far behind Liverpool," Woodgate said. "Maybe the quality has gone out of the league a bit although Swansea have been unbelievable.

"I love the way they play football. Brendan Rodgers is destined for a big job."

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