Foreigners boost England’s potential – but our youngsters may beg to differ | Sean Ingle

Across sport and industry all the evidence suggests foreigners do not damage national teams. If anything, they improve them

It sounds like the start of a bad joke. What do Boris Johnson and Silvio Berlusconi have in common? Yes, apart from that. And that. Oh, and that too. Well, both have also warned of the dangers of too many foreign footballers. Johnson, of course, blamed England’s Euro 2016 humiliation on huge numbers of international players “soaking up space on our top teams” while Berlusconi has spoken about how he craves an all-Italian Milan side.

Johnson may have been trying to tap into the nation’s worst instincts, singing his siren song when the country was vulnerable after the Brexit referendum. Yet more sober heads, such as Paul Scholes, have also warned that too many foreign players could damage the England team as youngsters are unable to break through. The Football Association agrees. As things stand, Premier League teams can register up to 17 non-home grown players in a 25-man squad, a figure the FA wants reduced to 13 after Brexit.

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