• England National Team

FA chairman Dyke sets England 2022 World Cup target

ESPN staff
September 4, 2013
FA chairman Greg Dyke believes an influx of foreign players in England has weakened the national team © Getty Images

FA chairman Greg Dyke has set England the target of winning the 2022 World Cup after proposing sweeping changes to the domestic game.

In a wide-ranging speech on Wednesday, Dyke also complained that the influx of foreign players in the Premier League has denied first-team opportunities for home-grown prospects, which he feels has had a knock-on effect for the national side.

England have not reached the semi-finals of a major tournament since 1996, and were knocked out in the last 16 at the World Cup in South Africa after failing to qualify for Euro 2008, but Dyke is eyeing a semi-final at Euro 2020 and glory in Qatar two years later.

He said: "No doubt some will say these targets will burden the players with more pressure. I don't see it in that way. Top players must be able to handle pressure if they want to be winners. We want to be winners."

While he accepted that the FA "had not done as well as we should" in helping to construct a successful England team in recent years, Dyke warned that 20 years of the Premier League had weakened rather than strengthened the national side, leaving them unable to compete against the best, but insisted his words were "not designed to start a blame game".

Dyke aims to set up an FA commission which will raise the key issues and propose solutions as to how England can turn around their prospects in the long term.

"English football is a tanker that needs turning," Dyke said. "We want to work hand in hand with the [Premier] League. If the best of our emerging young players can't get a game here, then we have a serious problem.

"In the future it's quite possible we won't have enough players qualified to play for England who are playing regularly at the highest level in this country or elsewhere in the world.

"As a result, it could well mean England's teams are unable to compete seriously on the world stage.

"We all have a responsibility to do our best to reverse this frightening trend because if we fail we will be letting English football down.

"We will certainly give ourselves a much better chance of winning tournaments if we have a bigger talent pool of players to pick from, which means having more English players who are consistent starters in the Premier League."

The England Under-21s failed to get out of their group at the European Championship this summer after a season in which the number of English under-21 players competing in the Premier League dropped to an all-time low.

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