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Premier League

McLeish reveals foreign ownership fears

Alex McLeish fears for the future of British managers as the number of foreign investors in the Barclays Premier League continues to grow.

The Birmingham boss, whose side visit Portsmouth tonight, has echoed Harry Redknapp's view that owners from abroad are more likely to bring in managers from outside these shores.

McLeish feels it could have an adverse affect on young English talent coming through the ranks if homegrown coaches are gradually eroded.

He said: "Should the Premier League be worried there will be no British managers left? I think it should.

"The foreign managers work differently to the British managers who choose their own players and scout through their own networks.

"On the continent, they tend to use an in between director of football who recruits players.

"If the foreign owners did that over here, it would make it quite difficult for English managers to continue in that kind of set-up."

He added: "At the same time in this country, we want to encourage the kids to come through the grass roots.

"We have seen the fantastic young players that have come through in the England set-up in recent years. That is down in no small part to English coaches who could be in danger."

McLeish is to give a full debut to January signing Michel as he looks for City to bounce back from their weekend FA Cup defeat at Fratton Park.

He believes the time is right to bring in fresh legs to ensure there is not a decline in fortunes over the final two months of the campaign.

Michel, signed from Sporting Gijon, will be given the opportunity against Avram Grant's team after previously having only bit-part roles as a substitute.

McLeish said: "We have maybe a bit of tiredness, and it is understandable after such a long spell with the players playing week in, week out.

"Players can also get mentally tired and maybe it is now appropriate for me to utilise the squad. There have been a lot of guys kicking their heels.

"Is Michel ready for an opportunity now? We have to have a look and see what he can do. He has a lack of match practice along with one or two others.

"There's no doubt he can handle the ball and it's time to look at a couple of the players. We brought him here because we knew what he could do.

"But the form of Barry Ferguson and Lee Bowyer was excellent and the momentum from these two guys meant we wanted to get to a certain position before we started to look at other players."