Arsene Wenger has, once again, hit out at new proposals which would mandate clubs to have a specific number of homegrown/local players in their squads.
The Frenchman spoke last week about it, suggesting the proposals would do little but ‘protect the mediocre’, and at his pre-Liverpool press conference today the subject was brought up again.
Pointing out quite rightly that England weren’t exactly world beaters when there no foreign players, he suggested that the best players will always rise to the top, pointing out the success of Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling.
In Wenger’s view the proposals fail to address the real issue.
“I believe we are in a top-level competition and you earn your right through the quality of your performance rather than your place of birth,” he said.
“Secondly, I’m happy to, and would like to contribute to the quality of the English national team, but you have two questions you can raise before that.
“What is the heart of the problem? First of all between 1966 and 96 there were no foreign players in England and it didn’t improve too much the performances of the national team.
“Secondly, if between the ages of 16 and 21 the youth teams in England win every single competition in Europe then you could say yes, there is something that we have to do because they are not getting their chance at the top level.
“That is not the case, on the contrary. I think between 16 and 21 the English youth teams, until now, have not performed.
“So that’s the heart of the problem. I still believe when the players are good enough, they play.”
Speaking about specific players, he said, “You speak about Sterling and Kane. Nobody stops the quality, no matter where they are from. So let’s focus on that first.
“Sometimes what looks a good solution is not necessarily the right one.”
The Arsenal manager also refused to drawn on rumours involving a summer move for Sterling who is clearly trying to orchestrate an Anfield exit and who described Arsenal interest as ‘flattering’ last night.
“I don’t want to interfere in that,” he said, “especially 48 hours before the game. That’s down to Liverpool, it’s not my problem.”