Diafra Sakho: West Ham striker says FA proposals are 'an excuse'

By Shamoon HafezBBC Sport
Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney
England exited the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil at the group stages without a win

English football's failings should not be blamed on the number of foreign players in the Premier League, says West Ham's Diafra Sakho.

Football Association chairman Greg Dyke has outlined plans to restrict non-EU players coming into the English game.

And England defender Phil Jagielka has backed the quality of English players coming through the system.

But Senegal striker Sakho told BBC Sport: "Everyone can make their own excuses to defend their own interests."

The former Ligue 1 player added: "France won the World Cup in 1998 and the French league was full of foreigners, same with Spain who won the World Cup and Euros, and Germany too.

"I don't see why we should shut the door on new talent coming over."

Sakho, 25, joined West Ham from Metz on a four-year deal in the summer and has become an integral part of Sam Allardyce's side, scoring 12 goals in all competitions.

Didier Drogba, Yaya Toure and Max Gradel celebrate
Ivory Coast internationals Didier Drogba (top) and Yaya Toure (bottom) have made an impact in England

He has followed a rich tradition of African players succeeding in the Premier League, with the likes of Ivorians Didier Drogba and Yaya Toure both winning several trophies with Chelsea and Manchester City.

"We have seen many African players do well here so it would make things difficult for them," Sakho said.

"The Premier League is one of the best leagues in the world, one which all young players dream of playing in."

Defender Winston Reid moved to Upton Park from Danish side Midtjylland in 2010 and won West Ham's player of the year award in 2012-13.

The New Zealander suggests the pressure for clubs to succeed force them to look for players away from these shores.

"The Premier League now is a massive business for football clubs," he said at an event for Lycamobile and the West Ham Foundation.

"They might not be playing young players but buying better players from abroad.

"It would be unfortunate if some of my peers weren't given the chance to do the same as me. There are a lot of good foreign players here."

In Europe this season, no Premier League side progressed into the quarter-finals of the Champions League or Europa League.