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Roy Hodgson urges young English players to move abroad

Thursday, 21 August 2014 - 7:31pm IST | Agency: Reuters

England manager Roy Hodgson has urged his young international players to move abroad and enrich their football experience rather than sit on the substitutes' bench at Premier League clubs stacked full of overseas signings.

In an interview published on the English Football Association's (FA) website (www.thefa.com) on Thursday, Hodgson made clear he would prefer to see promising youngsters spreading their wings with foreign clubs, but understood the economic realities they faced. "We are going to have to accept that some young players, who I think are good enough and can win games for England, will not always be first choice for their teams in England," he said.

"It wouldn't hurt them at all to go abroad. Most of our players, although they don't all play regularly, play at very good clubs at a very high level. "They play in clubs with very important fixtures in the Champions League and the Premier League.

"It would take a pretty good club to come in and take them - or even afford them. The players command high transfer fees and high wages that clubs in other leagues can't always afford." Hodgson guided England to a disappointing and winless group stage exit at the World Cup finals, highlighting how far away England are from challenging for a major title.

"We had a very young side at the World Cup," he explained. "And (we) could be even younger going forward." 

"If you're asking me would it be better for some of our players to be playing in good teams abroad rather than warming the bench, then of course, as a national team manager I would like to see that," he added.

"Even as recently as five years ago, certainly 10 years ago, it would unthinkable for any England manager to pick a player who wasn't the first name on his club's team sheet. "Now more than half who start for us are certainly not the first names on the team sheet. Sometimes they might not be a regular starter.

"But that's where we are with our league, where there is a predominance of foreign players, because of course the clubs can afford the best players. "That could also occur later on in teams that are in Germany and Spain - who knows?

"Outside of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, there aren't many clubs who can tempt players away from English clubs and there are a lot English clubs who can tempt away foreign players. "It is not my job to tell players what to do, but I would think that, if the opening was there for players to go abroad, then a lot of them would take it."

He said also that he would like to see restrictions on foreign players re-introduced to the leading European leagues. "National team managers would welcome anything that would protect their players from foreign player invasion," he said. "But whether the Premier League, or the Bundesliga, will bring in rules that restrict foreigners then I'm not sure."

British players plying their trade abroad are few and far between. Welshman Gareth Bale enjoyed a successful first season at Real Madrid last year while former England left back Ashley Cole moved to Roma this summer from Chelsea. Cole said players were scared to make the switch to other European leagues.

"Perhaps British players are a little afraid to move abroad. They are accustomed to British culture and for them it is convenient to stay at home," he said after joining Roma. "But as soon as I had this opportunity, I was glad to get out of London, to face a new language and a new culture."




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