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THE FOREIGN ISSUE

Graeme Sharp, 15th November 2007 - 12:42

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Graeme Sharp

Graeme Sharp

Posts: 25

Blues legend Graeme Sharp is Everton's leading post-war goalscorer and won two league championships, an FA Cup and the Cup Winners' Cup.

He is now the Club's Fan Ambassador and chairs the Fans Forum.

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Steve Coppell is the latest in a long line of managers bemoaning the fact that there are too many foreign players in the Premiership.

Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Trevor Brooking have already stated that having more "home grown" players would benefit the national team. However I'm not so sure if there is enough young British talent about. Why would Arsene Wenger and Rafa Benitez be scouring the European market for up and coming youngsters if they were readily available on their doorsteps.

When Howard Wilkinson introduced the "Academy System" in the early 90's this was seen as the way forward for English football but considering the money that has been invested, I don't think we have seen the benefits. Of course there have been exceptions and people will roll out the likes of Rooney, Gerrard etc but they are world class players who would have progressed anyway.

Everton and Manchester City are two clubs who have seen an influx of young players progress to the first team and for many clubs there has been a steady flow but nowhere near the amount expected. I believe English football has got better but that is down mainly to the influx of quality foreign imports such as Arteta, Fabregas etc, who have all contributed greatly to the Premier League.  Of course for all the top quality imports there are some very average ones and I agree that they may well be holding back our young talent.

Under European law it will be difficult to stop the flow of foreign players into our leagues and I for one would not want it to stop but I think we have to work harder in trying to do more for the grass roots level of football.

After Everton, I think the side most of us would love to have a season ticket for is Arsenal. They play fantastic football and are a joy to watch and whilst a few of their fans would love to see more home grown players involved, I'm sure they are delighted with what they are witnessing.

I think it revolves around the old adage of "Club or Country" and what you see as most important. But whatever opinion you may have one thing is for sure, we need to improve football in this country at grass root level.

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