Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville wants greater emphasis placed on the grassroots game in England after figured showed 65 per cent of Premier League players now hail from overseas. "In the media, we are all aware of the next controversy, the next big match, the next transfer," said the Sky Sports pundit and England coach.
"But without these volunteers we don't go anywhere. There are a decreasing number of British players in the Premier League and we need to try to buck that trend. We need to give these players more opportunity."
"Football players don't grow on trees," he stated. "They are made on football pitches like these. It is where you learn your trade.
"It taught me about competitiveness, about sport, about winning, dealing with defeat, dealing with disappointment.
"People think of football as being the Premier League and Champions League and that kids' stuff is meaningless. But for those involved it means absolutely everything.
"If you play badly or miss a chance, you carry it with you all week.
"It is just the same as professional level but for kids it is a lot tougher because they don't have the experience of life to deal with it."