Arsene Wenger and Tony Pulis question FA English player reforms

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Premier League managers disagree with Greg Dyke's proposals

FA chairman Greg Dyke's proposals to improve the quality of English players is flawed, according to Premier League managers Arsene Wenger and Tony Pulis.

Dyke wants to increase the number of home-grown players in top-flight squads from eight to 12.

The plans have received the backing of five former England managers.

Arsenal boss Wenger claims the right to play has to be earned, while West Brom head coach Pulis says the quality of English youth teams is the problem.

Last season, English players accounted for 32% of playing time in the Premier League, compared with almost 70% 20 years ago.

FA's new proposals
A player will have to have been registered with his club from the age of 15 - down from 18 - to qualify as 'home-grown'.
The minimum number of home-grown players in a club's first-team squad of 25 will increase from eight to 12, phased over four years from 2016.
At least two home-grown players must also be 'club-trained' players - defined as any player, irrespective of nationality, that has been registered for three years at their club from the age of 15.
Only the best non-EU foreign players will be granted permission to play in England.

"This trend cannot continue," read a letter signed by former England managers Glenn Hoddle, Sven-Goran Eriksson, Graham Taylor, Steve McClaren and Kevin Keegan.

"The FA and the Premier League are already doing a lot of good work to improve the standards of facilities and coaching at all levels of the game...offering young players unparalleled support and coaching.

"The one thing they are not being offered is the most important of all: opportunity."

McClaren, who is manager of Championship side Derby County, believes the future of English football is already exciting, but says the increase in the home-grown quota can only help.

"I am excited about the players," he said. "They have technique, they have pace and strength. Our Under-21s are very good, also the Under-20s and the senior team has been introducing young players with terrific ability and speed. It is coming. Giving them opportunities, we need to do that more."

McLaren also believes the Championship is a good platform for young English Premier League players to gain experience.

"The Championship is a nursery really where top teams can send their youngsters," he added. "The more we give them the opportunity the better."

Wenger, though, urged caution over whether the proposed reforms will lead to an increase in the quality of English players, suggesting that the England national team was not hugely successful between 1966 and 1996 when there were relatively few foreigners in the domestic league.

"I believe we are in a top-level competition and you earn your right through the quality of your performance rather than your place of birth," he said.

"I think between 16 and 21 the English youth teams, until now, have not performed. So that's the heart of the problem. Let's get better at that level, then if there is a problem integrating these players in the top teams, we have to do something about it."

Pulis added: "I think the Premier League is now not an English League, it's a world league. What we've got to do is produce English players that are as good as any players abroad.

"No disrespect to Greg Dyke but sometimes he says things that football people wouldn't agree with. I certainly don't agree with that."

What the other managers say

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Former Arsenal defender Lee Canoville says English players can be forgotten

Aston Villa boss Tim Sherwood, who first played new England striker Harry Kane regularly while he was manager of Tottenham: "I think there were five players who had come through Tottenham's academy and four were on the pitch the other night [for England]. It was something we always pushed but everyone has to be on the same page."

Hull City boss Steve Bruce: "One thing that is staggering is that over the last 20 years we have invested millions in academies, but are we producing enough players? When you look back, where are they? For me personally, we miss children playing football at school."

Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew: "You only have to look at the profits we've made to know that if you're in the Premier League, you should be turning a profi. We should be using that profit to develop young British talent. I'm all for that and I think an extra quota of British-based players is a good idea."

QPR boss Chris Ramsey: "It doesn't guarantee the national team will be any better than it is. It does however make the academy systems worth their while in giving players pathways to play in their country of origin."

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