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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 2, 2007

FA chief Barwick has fears over foreign influx

Football Association chief executive Brian Barwick fears the continuing influx of foreign players into the Premier League will stifle the development of young English talent.

Friday's transfer deadline day witnessed a host of new arrivals from foreign shores into a league already brimming with international players and many clubs now even cast their net abroad in a bid to boost their academies.

Former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson recently justified his purchase of purely foreign players by pointing to the spiralling cost of homegrown talent and his comments were today echoed by Birmingham boss Steve Bruce who admitted British players were 'very expensive because we aren't producing that many'.

Barwick admits he too is worried by the current shortage, pointing to the number of English players who were involved in top-flight action on the opening day of the season.

'There aren't a lot of English players playing in the Premier League,' he said. 'That for us has to be a concern and an issue and in truth therefore it has to be an issue for every football fan in the country.

'The England team pulls the nation together almost like nothing else. The television figures for the England Germany game were over 10 million, you have to be Simon Cowell to get anything close to that!

'One of the things we have to realise at the moment is that English players are getting squeezed at both ends.

'Firstly, they are not necessarily getting on the field of play in real numbers - there were under 40% I think on the opening day of the season - but also there's youngsters from abroad now coming into our academies ahead of our own English kids.'

But Barwick revealed the FA are doing their best to ensure English players are in the best position possible to break through into country's elite teams.

Speaking on the Gabby Logan Show on Five Live, Barwick added: 'One of the things we have done is launch a schools programme up and down the country to teach five to 11-year-olds, to change their mentality and show people feel there is a real future for the game that our skill base, our technique is as good as our opponents.

'It's our way of saying if this thing is not going to have a quick fix it does need a fix. It might be the Football Association by its nature are the only people who can think long term.'