• Premier League

City title win would be depressing, says FA chairman

ESPN staff
May 11, 2014
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FA chairman Greg Dyke insists it would be "pretty depressing" if Manchester City win the title on Sunday because of a lack of English players in their side.

City need just a point at home to West Ham to finish ahead of Liverpool and become champions for the second time in three years.

Joe Hart is the only English regular in Manuel Pellegrini's strongest starting line-up, while James Milner has made 30 league appearances, 18 of them as a substitute.

Of City's other English players, Joleon Lescott has made only 10 Premier League appearances, while Jack Rodwell and Micah Richards are expected to leave the club this summer.

"It's been a great league this year. But, if there is only one England player, maybe two [in City's team], that's pretty depressing," said Dyke, who received much criticism last week after his FA Commission into the future of English football published its report.

"I think the figures that we produced showed the top four averaged 29 [English players between them] and this year it is down to 24 - we should be worried about that."

Liverpool, on the other hand, were lauded by Dyke with the FA chairman saying England will feel the benefit of Brendan Rodgers' work this season.

Anfield quintet Steven Gerrard, Daniel Sturridge, Glen Johnson, Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling are all set to feature in Roy Hodgson's 23-man World Cup squad - to be named on Monday - while full-back Jon Flanagan has also emerged as a regular this season.

"Liverpool have been exciting this year with four or five English players," added Dyke. "It's good news for Roy and it's good news for the campaign in Brazil."

Dyke also defended his proposal of a B-team league for top flight clubs, with hopes of increasing the number of English players in the Premier League from 66 to 90 by 2022.

"Certain players and clubs are against it," he said. "But then you say to them, OK, but what are you going to do to get these kids through? There is no point saying 'don't change anything' and in 15 years' time the rate [currently 32 per cent] is 15 per cent in the Premier League who are English and we haven't got an England team."

City manager Pellegrini defended the club's recruitment, however, saying English players cost too much.

"We have a very important squad and it's not easy to buy English players," Pellegrini said. "If you want to buy a player from Liverpool, Tottenham or Arsenal or Chelsea, I don't know how much it would cost and I'm sure the teams will not sell.

"It's a high cost and we now have the rules of Financial Fair Play so it will be more difficult to pay more money for players and we need high quality."

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