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Dec 31, 2009

Sam Allardyce sounds dire warning over England future

Blackburn Rovers manager Sam Allardyce has warned that the English national side faces a "very bleak" future if the game's governing bodies do not take decisive action to increase the number of domestic participants in the Premier League.

The continued expansion of the top flight's foreign contingent is a hot topic once more after Arsenal's 4-1 win over Portsmouth on Thursday night became the first ever Premier League game to start without an English player on the pitch.

From the start of next season, clubs will have to name at least eight "home-grown" players in a squad of 25 but nationality will in practice not be an issue as the provision is that a "home-grown" player must have been registered at an English or Welsh club for three seasons between the ages of 16 and 21, meaning, for example, that Cesc Fabregas would qualify for Arsenal.

Allardyce is adamant that if the trend of foreign importation continues unaddressed, then the English national side will suffer from a lack of talent.

"As an Englishman, my thought is that the Premier League and the FA really need to get together and start immediately, regarding how they are going to address this situation," Allardyce said. "For the national team in the future, it is looking very, very, very bleak indeed.

"If you went through the amount of English players that are now playing in the Premier League there are very few indeed and those are the only players that England's national side can choose from.

"We all know how passionate we are about our national team so it's a real big one for the Premier League and FA to get their heads together and develop a culture in this country of developing young English players."

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