Sunderland boss Paolo di Canio's has defended the foreign imports in the Premier League.

FA chairman Greg Dyke took aim at the number of foreigners currently playing in England.

Di Canio - whose 13 senior signings as Sunderland manager have all been foreign - told the Evening Chronicle: "I do not agree that a big foreign influence in the English game is a bad thing.

"I am a big admirer of English football but it is obvious that the country has not done as well as it should have done in tournaments in the last few decades. There is a lot of benefit that English football can get from being exposed to footballers and managers from abroad.

"It can help raise standards in England, bring fresh techniques and ideas.

"If English players buy into the those techniques and ideas, then maybe they will not go out of tournaments in the early stages.

"That is what I hope for, because there are positive foreign influences on English football."

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