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Adam Davy/PA Wire/Press Association Images Former England manager Glenn Hoddle has called on the government and Football Association to explore ways to limit the number of foreign players in the Barclays Premier League.
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Ferdinand, Hoddle call for limit on overseas stars in Premier League
The Manchester United defender has labelled the current situation “a disgrace”.

FORMER ENGLAND MANAGER Glenn Hoddle on Sunday demanded the British government and the English Football Association take action to limit the number of overseas players in the Premier League, while Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand also backed these calls.

Hoddle, who also managed Chelsea, Tottenham and Southampton, was responding to new FA chairman Greg Dyke’s admission that there is a “frightening trend” of domestic players being forced out of the English top flight because clubs prefer to buy cheaper imports from abroad.

English players made up only around 32 per cent of teams’ starting line-ups in the Premier League last season and Hoddle, who coached England from 1996 to 1999, fears that figure will continue to dwindle unless action is taken.

Any attempt at a quota system would be hampered by European employment laws but the 55-year-old insists the matter still must be explored.

“We all know it is difficult, because at the end of the day the rules are the rules and the Premier League will just abide by that,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Sportsweek programme.

“We have got to show some teeth. If it is a maximum of five (foreign) players and the rest have to be English, whatever we can do with the rules, but it always seems they come up against a brick wall.

“Maybe the government could be helping that, but it is a bigger, deeper issue for politicians and the FA to get together, because this 32 per cent is going to get less and less each year.”

Former Spurs and England midfielder Hoddle, who played abroad himself for a spell at Monaco, admits better quality coaching from a young age remains essential if more homegrown talent is to emerge through the club’s youth systems.

“We have to focus in on English talent and be bold enough to say if foreign players are coming in to fill our clubs aged 17, 18 or 20, then we have to build a 10-year plan which allows these lads being taught by the best coaches – being paid good money, which is what the Dutch did – and bring them through where they master the ball first,” Hoddle said.

“There is definite talent out there, we just need to source it.”

Meanwhile, Ferdinand has similarly called for a limit on the number of foreign imports in English football, labelling the current situation “a disgrace”.

The United defender said that the sheer volume of overseas players in the Premier League is damaging the potential of the national side.

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“Having so few English players in the Premier League diminishes the English team, of course it does,” the 34-year-old told The Mail on Sunday. “Look at the Manchester City game recently against Newcastle. There was barely an English player on the pitch, three out of 22 starters.

“That is a disgrace. “If you look at it and ask whether there should be a stipulation that you have a minimum number of players who are English, even just in your squad, I think that should happen.

“If you look at a lot of teams, there are England players who aren’t playing for their clubs – yet we’re hoping to go to a World Cup and do well!”

He cited the example of the Turkish Super Lig, which does enforce a limit on the number of foreign players at any one club, but admitted that such a move was unlikely to be allowed in his own country.

“I would do what Turkey do, and have limits,” Ferdinand added. “In that country, clubs can have a maximum of 10 foreign players on the books, and no more than six in any 18-man matchday squad.

“I know that European laws won’t let a legal quota happen. So you can’t do that. But if you want to protect English football and its heritage and its future, something like that has to be done.”

Additional reporting by AFP.

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