Drinking still a problem for English says Dabizas

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The Independent Football

Nikos Dabizas, the Greece and Newcastle defender, believes that, despite the best efforts of coaches such as Sven Goran Eriksson and Arsène Wenger, English football is still in the grip of a drinking culture.

In the wake of revelations that Steven Gerrard had been indulging in late-night drinking in Liverpool before joining up with the England squad, Dabizas's comments have particular relevance.

"There is a problem in the English game about drinking and it is a big concern for English footballers, although it has been getting better," said Dabizas, who came to Tyneside in 1997. "It is in the culture of English people to drink and before a game you know there is going to be a problem."

However, Dabizas did not believe England would be below-par at Old Trafford today. "They don't need advice from me. It's their problem and sometimes you [the press] insist too much on these issues. In football sometimes problems like these can make you stronger."