Liverpool and England captain Steven Gerrard would welcome reduction in foreign players in the Premier League

England trails in terms of the percentage of homegrown players playing domestically in comparison to Spain and Germany

Steven Gerrard wants to see the number of foreign players in English professional football halved.

The debate around how to increase the number of young English players coming through the ranks has been a hot topic since Greg Dyke's landmark speech one month ago.

This week the topic was back on everyone's lips again after Jack Wilshere appeared to criticise a move to determine whether Belgium-born midfielder Adnan Januzaj would be willing to play for England.

Dyke has established a commission to look at ways of boosting the talent pool in England and Gerrard has urged the FA chairman to take action.

"Greg is trying to put a structure in place to improve the statistics and credit to him," Gerrard said.

"I read something about him trying to half the number of foreigners allowed in the country and I think that is a good start."

Wilshere drew criticism from some quarters with his response to a question about Manchester United midfielder Januzaj turning out for England.

"The only people who should play for England are English people," the Arsenal midfielder said.

"If you live in England for five years it doesn't make you English. "If I went to Spain and lived there for five years I'm not going to play for Spain."

The 21-year-old, who became embroiled in a spat with South Africa-born England batsman Kevin Pietersen over the matter, has since claimed his comments have been misinterpreted.

Januzaj is eligible to play for Belgium, Turkey, Kosovo and Serbia - while it was also claimed today that he could turn out for Croatia.

The only way he will be eligible to play for England is if he stays in the country for the next five years.

The 18-year-old is yet to pledge his allegiance to one country, and Gerrard appears to have no objection to the idea of such players running out for England.

"If players become available through FIFA rules, it's only right that the FA look in to it," said the England captain, who has 105 caps.

"We need to try and gain every advantage we can to make the England team as strong as possible."

Dyke called Wilshere's comments "too extreme" on Wednesday, and admitted that the FA was looking in to reviewing its stance on foreign-born players.

England manager Roy Hodgson refused to give his view on the matter today, but he defended Wilshere's right to air his thoughts.

"We are always complaining that players don't have an opinion or that they say nothing worth listening to, so I don't think it's quite right to criticise someone for having an opinion in the first place," he said.

"The subject matter is worthy of debate and, at the end of the day, it will be a policy decision taken by the FA."

England need Wilshere to be at his best for the forthcoming qualifiers against Montenegro and Poland.

Judging by the Arsenal player's response in training, he is not letting the saga get to him.

"From my point of view, it hasn't affected Jack in any way," Hodgson added.

"His performances in training have been fine. I think he just shrugs it off as one of those things. He was asked an opinion, some people have liked it, others haven't liked it.

"He's put it behind him.

"I think England will get a lot out of him in these next two games and for a long, long time to come. Maybe training and playing is a tonic for him."

PA

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