City team 'pretty depressing': FA chairman
May 12, 2014, 12:03 am TWN
LONDON -- The lack of English players in Manchester City's first-choice team is “pretty depressing,” according to Football Association chairman Greg Dyke.
“It's been a great league this year. I think the Premier League has been brilliant,” Dyke told several British Sunday newspapers.
“But I think there are probably two England players playing at City and two or three at Chelsea, although there won't be that many next year. That's pretty depressing.”
City will almost certainly be crowned Premier League champions later on Sunday if they avoid defeat at home to mid-table West Ham United in their final game of the season.
But Dyke, who this week announced proposals to increase the number of England-eligible players playing in the Premier League, feels that City's success reflects a damaging trend.
“I think the figures that we produced showed the top four averaged 29 (English players between them) and this year it is down to 24,” he said. “We should be worried about that.”
Goalkeeper Joe Hart is the only English player who regularly starts for City and while midfielder James Milner has made 30 appearances in the league, 18 of them have been as a substitute.
Centre-back Joleon Lescott and central midfielder Jack Rodwell have barely featured, while one-time England international Gareth Barry has spent the season on loan at Everton.
In contrast, City's closest rivals Liverpool often include up to six English players in their starting XI.
Steven Gerrard, Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Sterling and Jordan Henderson have enjoyed particularly impressive seasons and are all expected to be named in England manager Roy Hodgson's World Cup squad on Monday.
“Liverpool have been exciting this year with four or five English players,” Dyke added.
“It's good news for Roy and it's good news for the campaign in Brazil.”