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Southampton (A) Sat 20 Dec 2014, 15:00, Barclays Premier League

Distin: Ross Is Proof Of Quality

by Matthew Gamble @efc_mattgamble

Sylvain Distin says Ross Barkley's emergence is the best evidence that foreign players are not hindering the development of the English game.

Barkley, 19, had been Everton's standout player in their three games this term and is the newest member of Roy Hodgson's senior England squad.

In recent years the performances of the Three Lions at major tournaments has led to all manner of inquests into supposed underachievement – with many observers suggesting the influx of overseas players into Premier League squads has blocked the path for homegrown talent.
 
But Distin's message is simple. If you are good enough - you will play.
 
"Exactly," he said when quizzed on the topic. "It's about how good you are. Ross is the perfect example. Ross deserves to play.

"He was training with us last season, he has great quality and a bright future if he keeps working hard and doing what he's doing."

Sylvain Distin

Distin first arrived on English shores in 2001 and had played for Newcastle, Manchester City and Portsmouth before arriving at Goodison.

And despite racking up over 400 Premier League games, the Frenchman is certain he is not responsible in any way for hindering the progress of promising English defenders.

He insisted: "It's something maybe people talk about because of the results of the English national team. But I don't think that's because of players like me. I don't see how I can change the result of the national team."

Of more concern to the Frenchman is helping the Blues overcome Cardiff on Saturday afternoon.

The Welsh outfit are on the crest of a wave after dispatching Man City last weekend in their first home game since returning to the top flight.

Distin continued: "That is the beauty of the Premier League; you never know what is going to happen, who is going to win or who is going to lose. I definitely wasn't expecting an easy game against Cardiff or any other team.

"I don't really try to focus on the opposition though, I try to focus on our strengths - as long as you respect your opponents."

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