Hansen hits out at foreign invasion

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The Independent Football

The former Scotland international Alan Hansen insisted yesterday that his country was failing to produce world-class players - and that foreigners in the game were stifling home-grown talent.

The former Scotland international Alan Hansen insisted yesterday that his country was failing to produce world-class players - and that foreigners in the game were stifling home-grown talent.

The BBC pundit claimed the national squad of today did not have as many individuals stars as the teams of the past three decades and said the problem was caused by a vicious circle with England suffering similar problems. "The worry for Scottish football is that there are so many foreigners playing here - just as there are so many foreigners playing in England," he said. "If you go back to the 1970s and 80s there was a conveyer belt of talent that was Scottish and, unfortunately, that conveyer belt of talent just isn't there at the minute.

"Why isn't it there? It's ironic because there has never been a better time to be a professional footballer financially, yet there doesn't seem to be that many people playing. This talent might not come through in the next two or three years and you can't learn how to play the game at 16 or 17, you've got to do it when you're six, seven and eight.

"The Scottish people love heroes - Law, Bremner, Dalglish, McCoist - but where is the next generation of that sort of player coming from? The only way to eradicate the problem is to have restrictions on the foreigners or have a conveyer belt of talent and it doesn't look like we have one at the minute."

But, speaking ahead of Scotland's impending World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Croatia, Hansen admitted that Craig Brown's men have been just as successful as the famous names of the past. He added: "Craig Brown has done an unbelievable job forging the team spirit that they've got and that's a valuable commodity."

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