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Dyke's reform could work if clubs are brave enough-Wenger

02 April 2015, 18:31

London - Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger backs FA chairman Greg Dyke's plans to improve the England team but says Premier League clubs must show more faith integrating young players despite the pressure to succeed being so high.

Dyke has proposed changes to the home grown player rule in English soccer to help more "top quality" players break through.

Also read: Aaron Ramsey believes Wales can defeat Belgium

He wants the minimum number of home grown players in a club's first team squad of 25 to be increased from eight to 12, phased in over four years from 2016.

Frenchman Wenger, who has been working in England since 1996, said on Thursday that while he could see some initial problems with Dyke's proposals he was happy to contribute to the quality of the England team.

Over the years Wenger has often fielded Arsenal teams with few or no English players but his current squad includes England players Theo Walcott, Kieran Gibbs, Calum Chambers, Jack Wilshere, Danny Welbeck and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

"I support every single measure that improves the English national team but it has to be efficient," he told a news conference before Arsenal host Liverpool on Saturday.

"Sometimes what looks a good solution is not necessarily the right one. What is the heart of the problem?

"First of all between 1966 and 1996 there were no foreign players in England and it didn't improve too much the performances of the national team.

"I think between the age of 16 and 21 the English youth teams, until now, have not performed. So that's the heart of the problem.

"Let's get better at that level, then if there is a problem integrating these players in the top teams, we have to do something about it.

"I think today you have to be very brave to integrate the young players in the top teams because the pressure is very high," he added.

Wenger's comments came after a letter by ex-England managers Glenn Hoddle, Kevin Keegan, Sven-Goran Eriksson, Graham Taylor and Steve McClaren was published saying the prospects of winning another World Cup will suffer unless reforms are introduced.

England have only been world champions once back in 1966.

England manager Roy Hodgson used youngsters Raheem Sterling, 20, Harry Kane and Ross Barkley, both 21, and Nathaniel Clyne, 23, in a Euro 2016 qualifier against Lithuania and an Italy friendly in the last week and Wenger said that was encouraging.

"I still believe when the players are good enough, they play. You speak about Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane. Nobody stops the quality, no matter where they are from. So let's focus on that first," he said.

- Reuters


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