Quota on foreign players could harm England team: Reed

A quota on foreign players in the Premier League could hinder rather than help the England team, according to former FA technical director Les Reed.

Andy Burnham, the opposition Labour Party's home affairs spokesman, opened the Soccerex Global Convention by suggesting one of the advantages of Britain's exit from the European Union could be the introduction of limits on foreign players, which would provide greater playing time for English talent.

But Reed, now director of football at Southampton, believes that would stunt the development of English players.

"I disagreed with what Andy Burnham said about Brexit and that quotas could be better for the England team," Reed, 63, told Reuters.

"We supply more players to England at every age group than any other club and part of their development is training with the first team.

"England Under 21s captain James Ward-Prowse - who has trained with them since he was 16 - has to cope with Jordy Clasie, Oriol Romeu and Pierre-Emile Hoejbjerg in centre midfield every day.

"There is a big risk that quotas would not enrich the experience of English youngsters.

"Players in the (second tier) Championship would be promoted to replace the foreign players and that would alter the menu of training and not be beneficial to England."

Reed believes Southampton's strategy is one of the reasons their academy has groomed the likes of Theo Walcott, Luke Shaw, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Calum Chambers in recent years.

"There is a continuous debate about what clubs get from academies," added Reed, who has coached England at every age-group level from Under 15s to the first team.

"My analogy is this: would people who invest in vineyards and orchards not make wine or pick the fruit?

"Some clubs invest lots of money in an academy but also buy lots of players. Others think they have to have an academy but don't invest enough money in it to make it worthwhile having.

"We've tried to make it a core part of our culture.

"You employ the right coaching staff and recruit youngsters diligently but then you have to employ a head coach who buys into that philosophy and is willing to put them in the first team.

"When they do that, kids make a big leap and accelerate their development."

Former FA vice-chairman David Dein also warned 'Brexit' may make it more difficult for Premier League clubs to recruit talented young players.

"I don't believe in quotas," he told Reuters. "It's easy to blame overseas players, what we have to do is create our own talent.

"It is a cheap shot to blame somebody else, like the kid in the playground saying 'it wasn't me it was him'.

"I signed Cesc (Fabregas) when he was 16 due to freedom of movement, now you will need a work permit perhaps and that will make it more difficult. I'm not sure Brexit will be a good thing for sport."