Arsène Wenger believes the falling numbers of top English players competing in the Premier League is a direct result of its “economic strength”.
Roy Hodgson this week expressed his concern that the volume of foreign imports in the league has reduced opportunities for homegrown players.
Wenger has some sympathy with the England manager’s view, but says it is an inevitable consequence of the money on offer in the top flight.
But you cannot want to be the best league in the world and close the borders. So you have to find a good mixture
“I can understand Roy Hodgson because when you go to games and there are no English players you can complain,” he said.
“But you cannot want to be the best league in the world and close the borders. So you have to find a good mixture. I think the good mixture is to produce the players from your own academies, and buy top, top, top class players.
“The trend follows the economic strength. When I was at Monaco, all of the players went to Italy. It was the league you wanted to be in: Gascoigne and the best English players went to Italy. Now it is England.
“The price you pay is that you have fewer English players. Maybe Roy is right - a few more would be good. But the trend is changing.
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“I have good young English players who play: Gibbs, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jenkinson, Wilshere, Walcott. It is not my fault if Ramsey is Welsh!”Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 19 Apr 2013