England captain Steven Gerrard believes young players are struggling to break through at top clubs because of the high numbers of foreign players in the Premier League.
Gerrard, 33, made his Liverpool debut at the age of 18 and has been a mainstay in the club’s first-team ever since.
However, the midfielder is a rare example of a player from the Reds’ academy being promoted to the first-team, with Jamie Carragher the only other notable example in the past 15 years.
The likes of Martin Kelly, Andre Wisdom and Raheem Sterling have shown signs that they, too, could make the step up permanently, but Gerrard recognises that their path to the senior side is harder than his was 15 years ago.
“Managers are only ever eight to 10 days away from the sack so to take risks on unknown young players is difficult,'' he told BBC Breakfast. “[Liverpool manager] Brendan Rodgers has been fantastic at this club because he's been brave and he's given young players a chance.
“But there's no two ways about it, it's a lot more difficult to break through nowadays because of the standard of players and because there is a lot more foreigners about. That's the whole top and bottom of it.''
New Football Association chairman Greg Dyke recently expressed his concern about the diminishing number of English players in the Premier League and has suggested that more must be done to encourage club’s to utilise young homegrown talent ahead of foreign imports.