London, England – Former England manager Glenn Hoddle on Sunday demanded the British government and the English Football Association take action to limit the number of overseas players in the Premier League.
Hoddle, who also managed Chelsea, Tottenham and Southampton, was responding to new FA chairman Greg Dyke's admission that there is a “frightening trend” of domestic players being forced out of the English top flight because clubs prefer to buy cheaper imports from abroad.
English players made up only around 32 per cent of teams' starting line-ups in the Premier League last season and Hoddle, who coached England from 1996 to 1999, fears that figure will continue to dwindle unless action is taken.
Any attempt at a quota system would be hampered by European employment laws but the 55-year-old insists the matter still must be explored.
“We all know it is difficult, because at the end of the day the rules are the rules and the Premier League will just abide by that,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek programme.
“We have got to show some teeth. If it is a maximum of five (foreign) players and the rest have to be English, whatever we can do with the rules, but it always seems they come up against a brick wall.
“Maybe the government could be helping that, but it is a bigger, deeper issue for politicians and the FA to get together, because this 32 per cent is going to get less and less each year.”
Former Spurs and England midfielder Hoddle, who played abroad himself for a spell at Monaco, admits better quality coaching from a young age remains essential if more homegrown talent is to emerge through the club's youth systems.
“We have to focus in on English talent and be bold enough to say if foreign players are coming in to fill our clubs aged 17, 18 or 20, then we have to build a 10-year plan which allows these lads being taught by the best coaches - being paid good money, which is what the Dutch did -and bring them through where they master the ball first,” Hoddle said.
“There is definite talent out there, we just need to source it.” – Sapa-AFP