Scudamore hails England's Euro dominance

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The Independent Football

Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore believes England's dominance of the Champions League is something to be proud of and sees no reason why it should not continue.

Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and holders Manchester United were all in action in the first leg of the last-16 ties this week after safely negotiating the group stages.

Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea posted 1-0 wins over Roma, Real Madrid and Juventus respectively while United held Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan to a creditable 0-0 draw at the San Siro.

The four teams, along with Spanish giants Barcelona, rank among the bookmakers' favourites for the prestigious competition.

English teams have dominated the tournament for the last two years, with three English outfits making the last four for the past two seasons, and Scudamore believes the quartet stand a good chance of continuing that domination this season.

"It's still only at the halfway stage and games aren't over at half-time but we are doing well in Europe," Scudamore told PA Sport.

"We have done particularly well in Europe over the last few seasons. We did well last year when we had two English teams in the final and had a few in the latter stages.

"It's good for English football, there's no downside to it for English football, apart from possibly that other leagues get jealous and other people get jealous, but we'll live with that.

"We can bear with that if we get success."

Unused substitute Kieran Gibbs was the only English player to make the Arsenal squad for Tuesday's match at the Emirates Stadium, while Rio Ferdinand and Michael Carrick were the only home-grown starters for the Red Devils in Milan.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger in particular has often been criticised for favouring foreign imports over home-grown players.

Theo Walcott and Gavin Hoyte are the only two English players to start a Gunners league game this season and England manager Fabio Capello has complained that the lack of home-grown talent is hampering his efforts to build an England team capable of winning a major championship.

Scudamore, who was speaking at the launch of the Premier League health initiative yesterday, denied this was a problem, however.

"It's irrelevant," he said. "English football is based here in England, our teams are here and most of the players are here.

"The fans don't discriminate. They don't really care as long as long as they see the best players, that's really what is important.

"All the English players are playing here in Britain bar David Beckham and what we want to see is the home talent mixed with the foreign to improve the fortunes of the national team."