Foreign influx has enriched the Premier League, says Spain coach

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The Independent Football

The Spain coach Vicente del Bosque does not believe England's World Cup failure should be blamed on the amount of foreigners in the Premier League, claiming they are a benefit rather than a hindrance to the English game.

As the England national team look to pick up the pieces following a disappointing World Cup campaign, the long-running debate about whether there are too many overseas players and coaches continues to rage. For Del Bosque, who this summer helped Spain add the world title to their European Championship crown, the influx of world talent into the Premier League should be considered a boon as opposed to a problem.

"I don't think it's damaging for English football to have people from abroad. On the contrary – I think that it's quite enriching to have good coaches and the best players from around the world to play in the Premier League," said Del Bosque. "I can't agree that one poor result from a national team is due to too many foreign coaches and players.

"I think the England squad has enormously talented players, so I certainly don't think it's a problem of quality. I think English football is very much up to date."

With regards to England's World Cup exit at the hands of Germany, when Fabio Capello's side lost 4-1 at the last-16 stage in controversial circumstances after Frank Lampard scored a legitimate goal that was not awarded, the former Real Madrid coach said: "There's always an element of chance in football. So perhaps against Germany, instead of losing 4-1 it could have been different if that goal had been given. The England squad is one of the best national teams in the world, without a doubt."

Del Bosque was talking yesterday at the end of a three-day Uefa conference in Madrid involving the European national team coaches. The Uefa technical director Andy Roxburgh, the former Scotland coach, added: "Fabio Capello and [FA director of football development] Trevor Brooking, who were with us this week, are clearly working very hard. The first thing I feel from Fabio's point of view is that it's one game – we're really talking about one game. They had so many good games in qualification and then they had one hiccup if you like.

"What would have happened if that goal had gone in and they'd got back to 2-2? Who knows what would have happened? There's a chance element to it. So I think to suggest English football is in trouble because of what happened in that one game... you've noticed they've already bounced back and, as any top coach will tell you, you have to have a rebound mentality and clearly England have shown that, they have rebounded.

"Everybody can have a bad day. Vicente [Del Bosque] had a rather awkward day in Durban on the opening of the World Cup against Switzerland when they lost 1-0, but what happened? They went on to win the World Cup.

"I'm not suggesting England are going to win the Euros or World Cup here, but all I can say is watch this space. They are back and running again."

England have beaten Bulgaria 4-0 and Switzerland 3-1 in their opening two Euro 2012 qualifiers since being knocked out of the World Cup, as well as defeating Hungary in a friendly.

Portugal will need to add commitment to their recognised individual talents to overcome a woeful start to the Euro 2012 campaign, new coach Paulo Bento said yesterday.

"It is a tough mission, that is clear, and the numbers don't lie, but we have the capacity, talent and we'll also have the organisation to complete it," Bento said.

Asked how he would deal with players' egos in a disjointed team which includes big names like Cristiano Ronaldo, Bento warned there would only be room in his squad for those committed to a tough mission. "In this moment of difficulty it is completely forbidden for them to think as individuals first. The players have my admiration, but they will also have my demands and rigour in a short space of time," Bento said.

The 41 year-old coach was named on Tuesday to replace Carlos Queiroz, who was sacked for obstructing anti-doping agents. He will take charge of a side that is second from bottom in Euros Group H with one point from their first two qualifiers, having lost 1-0 in Norway following a 4-4 draw at home to Cyprus.

"One point from six is not good... we are in a complicated situation," Bento said, although he pointed out that Portugal have not missed a major tournament finals since the 1998 World Cup.

Bento's first games in charge will be the qualifiers on 8 October at home to Denmark and in Iceland four days later, with the side under pressure to win both games to give themselves a realistic chance of reaching the finals.

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