MANCHESTER United defender Rio Ferdinand has joined the critics of the number of foreign players in the Premier League.
And he has cited the line-ups in the Manchester City v Newcastle United game at the start of the season as a prime example of why England’s chances at major tournaments are being hampered.
The 34-year-old, who came up through the ranks at West Ham and moved to Leeds before settling at Old Trafford, was speaking after a week which saw new Football Association chairman Greg Dyke highlight the “frightening trend” of a reduced number of domestic players in the top flight.
Ferdinand told The Mail on Sunday: “Having so few English players in the Premier League diminishes the English team, of course it does.
“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!”
Although it would be almost impossible to implement, Ferdinand would look to copy the example of Turkey, adding: “I would do what Turkey do, and have limits.
“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.”