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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 7, 2007

Sir Bobby sceptical over England's academies

Sir Bobby Charlton has questioned whether the academy system is doing anything to end the current dearth of English talent.

The Manchester United and England legend can only shake his head in dismay at the lack of emerging young players, which threatens to have a seismic effect on the national side over the coming years.

Charlton is convinced there are too many foreign players operating within the Barclays Premier League but he is also aware not enough is being done to correct the balance.

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has argued for a long time the academy system, with its strict travelling restrictions, is a disadvantage to the Old Trafford outfit.

But Charlton's view comes from a somewhat wider perspective.

'I don't know if the academy system has worked,' he said.

'It may have benefited some clubs but there is no great influx of talented young players coming into the game.'

Charlton addressed his concerns at the start of a month-long promotion of his newly-released autobiography `My Manchester United Years'.

Unlike in his own era, when Sir Alf Ramsay was able to leave prolific striker Jimmy Greaves out of his World Cup final side, Charlton accepts current coach Steve McClaren has no such luxury.

And, unless action is taken quickly, the 70-year-old United legend fears the problem will get even worse.

'If I was a football supporter, paying my money to sit behind the goal, when I looked at the programme I would like to think there would be someone local in my team,' he observed.

'Do I want to just see a list of foreign names? Do I heck.

'This is a big problem now. England are really struggling and it is an important enough issue for some kind of measures to be implemented to stop it.

'I know we are in the European Union and everyone is entitled to freedom of movement but at the very least some kind of special committee should be set up to try and find a solution.

'If you look at it, England probably has two decent strikers and if one of them gets injured, as Wayne Rooney is at the moment, we have nobody else.

'When you end up in a state like that, you have to sit back and address it.'