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Ex-Leeds boss Wilkinson: Premiership must show Bundesliga commitment to local talent

Former Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday boss Howard Wilkinson says the Premiership needs radical changes if it is to produce world class English players.

Wilkinson, who served as Technical Director at the FA between 1997-2001, first proposed the need for a National Football Centre 13 years ago. All the politics at the top level has seen delay after delay and at present the site at Burton will be completed in 2012, but a lot of time has been wasted.

He said: "When I was technical director from 1997, what Germany did is what I proposed and in part what we did for a while.

"But as we do in this country it got eroded and people weren't as privy to it as they should have been in power.

"We need to have more English players playing in the top flight, but given the popularity and competitive nature of the Premier League, the current number of English players reducing is going to get worse.

"You can't change it. You can't force clubs to play English players. We are stuck unless football is prepared to make some radical organisational changes in its structure.

"My view is that we have to put more resource and backing to providing tournament football for young international teams and we have to support that as opposed to now where it is very difficult to get players released."

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