Football: McKenzie slams `whingeing' foreigners

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The Independent Online
THE FORMER Everton and Leeds United forward Duncan McKenzie has spoken out against "moaning" foreign players who earn a living in Britain.

McKenzie himself has experienced playing in a foreign country, having spent a year in Belgium with Anderlecht in 1976, prior to his transfer to Everton in December of the same year. But he admits to being "staggered" that overseas players over here are complaining about conditions at their clubs.

Pierre van Hooijdonk has been on strike at Nottingham Forest, Paolo Di Canio refused to return to Sheffield Wednesday because of "stress" and "depression" and the Blackburn midfielder Sebastian Perez has said he wants to return to France because the cold weather is affecting his daughter's health.

But McKenzie feels that players should rise above such complaints and has sided with Paul Gascoigne, who claimed on Saturday that he did not like the idea of foreign players saying they needed rest.

"It's all rubbish," McKenzie said. "This goes back to the days of Mirandinha at Newcastle. There have always been problems and you end up with some managers becoming xenophobic and not wanting any foreigners at all.

"Scandinavians are the one option because they are very similar to us anyway.

"The foreign players are much more business-minded than [the British], but they seem to whinge an awful lot about the people who pay them.

"It staggers me the number of people who are playing and taking fortunes out of England, but are also saying everything about the place is wrong.

"I wouldn't have dreamed of living in Belgium and telling the Belgians and the people of Brussels that it wasn't a very nice place - the Belgian people don't do this and don't do that. That's bang out of order."

McKenzie insists that he had no problems with local culture during his time in Belgium and says the foreign players he played with were made welcome by their team-mates and fans alike.

Furthermore, he also believes the success Chelsea are currently enjoying can be attributed directly to their foreign players integrating well into the English community.

"Osvaldo Ardiles, Ricky Villa, Frans Thijssen and Arnold Muhren all came over here and loved it - so much so that Ossie still has a home in London," McKenzie said.

"He is still a member of a golf club in Ware. Can you believe that? Golf is such a typical English game. George Graham is a member there as well.

"I believe the Chelsea lads also love the country because they have discovered golf, and the biggest problem Gianluca Vialli has had is keeping them off the golf course."

But McKenzie appreciates that the success at Stamford Bridge is not mirrored around the country, where many clubs, like Middlesbrough, have struggled with foreign signings.

"One of the problems is down to Italians and Brazilians and their Latin temperament. If things aren't going their way they want their ball back," he said.

"I would urge our clubs to keep away from too many foreign signings, but they are cheaper than ours. It's the chicken and the egg situation, isn't it?"