Rio Ferdinand has claimed the ever-increasing number of foreign players in the Premier League is hampering England’s chances of international success.
The 34-year-old’s comments come at the end of a week that saw new Football Association chairman Greg Dyke highlight what he called a “frightening trend” of the decrease in domestic players that ply their trade in England’s top flight.
Ferdinand, who has retired from international football, spoke to The Mail on Sunday about his concerns over the issue, and he predicts that if the problem is not address, England’s chances of winning at major tournaments will become even slimmer than it already is.
"Having so few English players in the Premier League diminishes the English team, of course it does,” said the Manchester United defender.
"Look at the Manchester City game recently against Newcastle. There was barely an English player on the pitch, three out of 22 starters.
"That is a disgrace.
"If you look at it and ask whether there should be a stipulation that you have a minimum number of players who are English, even just in your squad, I think that should happen.
"If you look at a lot of teams, there are England players who aren't playing for their clubs - yet we're hoping to go to a World Cup and do well!"
Ferdinand has identified Turkey’s model as a way the situation can be addressed, where setting a limit on the number of foreign players allowed at a club and in a match-day squad has seen the development of many Turkish youth players.
"I would do what Turkey do, and have limits,” Ferdinand explained.
"In that country, clubs can have a maximum of 10 foreign players on the books, and no more than six in any 18-man match-day squad.
"I know that European laws won't let a legal quota happen. So you can't do that. But if you want to protect English football and its heritage and its future, something like that has to be done."
However, former Tottenham and Liverpool director of football Damien Comolli has defended the number of overseas players in the Premier League, and instead claimed that the FA should shoulder the responsibility of the international team’s failures.
"Everybody is pointing fingers at the Premier League -because they do not want to look at their own failures," he said in the Sunday People.
"I thought [Dyke's] speech was very poor. The FA needs to produce better quality coaches, and more of them.
"Roy Hodgson will be feeling very frustrated - any manager in his shoes would be. It is not a good thing that there are no English players in the Premier League but people are not looking at the right reasons for them not being there.
"Instead of blaming the Premier League they need to work with them."
He also claimed that Premier League managers had too much power and control over matters at a club, which has caused an instability at youth level among the country’s top clubs.
"Managers in England have too much say about what is going on. All over the world stability and consistency is the most important thing.
"In England a new manager comes in, then brings his mate to take charge of the under-12s. Most teams change managers about every 18 months, so that brings an incredible instability to the academy.
"That is absolutely killing the youth development in England, I'm convinced of that."