Ferdinand says there's too many ordinary imports taking the place of English talent.
"Manchester United are a leading light of youth development," Ferdinand told the Mail on Sunday. "There is no questioning the impact that the best foreign players have had. Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Eric Cantona, Gianfranco Zola - they had a massive positive impact on our football.
"Our game would not have been enhanced without them. Arsene Wenger's ethos as a manager changed things, too, on diet and nutrition and other areas off the pitch, and that's been positive. So there is a place for the best of foreign talent. But they're the elite. What I don't like seeing is a manager having to choose between a kid coming through and a more established foreign player who isn't perhaps that good."
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