Premier League needs more top-class foreigners, says Carragher

Liverpool stalwart Jamie Carragher believes the Premier League can no longer be considered the best in the world.

Speaking in his column for The Daily Telegraph, the defender claims a lack superior talent from abroad has seen England’s top flight falter thanks to the departures of Cristiano Ronaldo, Xabi Alonso and Cesc Fabregas, among others, with the league is now lagging behind La Liga, Serie A and the Bundesliga.

And, contrary to popular belief, the former Three Lions international has insisted that the emergence of top-class foreign players in English football has helped, not hindered, the progression of young homegrown talent.

“Our football has been enhanced by some of the greatest talents in the world, and it’s a shame so many have left this country in the last few years. I’d love to see them all come back,” he said.

“During the 1970s, when every top division club was packed with British players, we didn’t qualify for consecutive World Cups.

“There was no golden age before the floodgates opened for overseas stars playing in the Premier League. English football just had one golden year, on home soil, in 1966.”

The Liverpool legend, who has been working as a pundit for ITV during the European Championships, believes the argument that the influx of foreign players to the Premier League has damaged the national side is completely wrong.

“It’s a reversal from the arguments we’ve heard in the past from those who claim there are too many overseas players here, which had no credibility to begin with,” he added.

“Those who suggest the arrival of top continental stars in this country have a detrimental impact on England’s performances need to read more history books.”

The 34-year-old has often been quoted in the past as criticising the number of foreigners in the Premier League, but he states it's only when the development of young English talent is affected he calls their impact into question.

“I was referring to low-level, poor imports – those players who are no better (or in some cases a lot worse) than the English players they replaced,” Carragher explained.

“My argument was if you had two players of the same level, one English and one from abroad, the home-grown player should be given a chance to improve.

“When you’re talking about the world-class players who have graced our shores such as Thierry Henry, Didier Drogba or Alonso, it’s an entirely different matter.”

Carragher insists that for homegrown players to improve they need to be playing regularly with the best talent the world has to offer.

“There is only one conclusion. There are not enough top-class foreigners in our league. The greatest players in the world are now primarily in La Liga, Serie A or the Bundesliga,” he added.

“The more we attract, the more our young players can learn. Playing alongside or against the best makes you better. I know from club experience that a classy overseas influence has an immensely positive influence.”

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