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Grant: Chelsea always will have English players

Fears have been expressed about the quality of coaching from primary school level upward and another foreigner - ex-Blues boss Jose Mourinho - appears to be the Football Association's preferred choice to take over the national team.

The Professional Footballers' Association have also conducted their own survey into the way imports have affected the Barclays Premier League, where current leaders Arsenal regularly field teams without a single Englishman.

But Grant was quick to point out Chelsea provide the backbone of the England squad in Frank Lampard, John Terry, Ashley Cole, Joe Cole, Wayne Bridge and Shaun Wright-Phillips, and that homegrown core was also replicated throughout the under-age teams, with 17 youngsters currently representing England at various levels up to Under-21.

Grant said: "We have six players in the England squad and 70% of the players in the academy are English. I have followed English football and in 1994 the team didn't qualify for the World Cup even though most of the players were English in the Premier League.

"It is an excuse. You need a good balance but it is also good competition for the English players, to see other players and then be better than them.

"I have seen in the last year and a half, on almost every Saturday, a game at under-18 level and there are good English players and also good foreigners. All over the world it is the same.

"Of course (bringing through) players from the same country is important and for me there will always be a priority for the English but only as long as they are good players. I don't want to take them just because they are English.

"It is not easy to get into the Chelsea squad because the demand is a high level but there are good talents."

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Tribal Football Staff

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