Sunderland's former chief scout Bryan 'Pop' Robson has expressed his concern at the club's growing preference towards foreign imports over locally reared players.
Robson was recently released from his position at the Stadium of Light and was speaking just hours after England's Under-21 squad crashed out of the European Championships group stages.
Having represented both Newcastle and Sunderland during his playing career before performing a number of different roles on Wearside, Robson is already concerned at the early summer dealings of his former club.
"I fear it might happen that Sunderland will concentrate solely on the overseas market," he said, after the club signed a quartet of players from mainland Europe this week.
"They might go for cheaper options, younger players, European players, Croatians, Italians – but they still have to be good enough to play in the Premier League, which is pretty demanding. But you read where probably Norwich is the only team in the Premier League that is fielding enough of a percentage of English players, and I feel that's a sad situation."
An 81st minute winner from Ofir Kriaf condemned England to their worst ever European Championship performance, and made them just the third team to pick up no points during their three group games. Blaming his players for England's failure, manager Stuart Pearce is out-of-contract next month and is unlikely to be offered a new deal by the Football Association.
With attention once again returning to Premier League academies, Robson admits the influx of overseas talent remains his biggest concern, with potential development hard to see.
"It's a worry to me in the English game," he explained. "I don't know where the development is going to come from. The Premier League has spent a lot of money on academies but we need to keep working on it."