West Ham's Etherington: Foreigners threatened my career

West Ham winger Matthew Etherington has claimed his career was hindered by the foreign invasion into the Premier League.

Etherington was an up-and-coming young winger with Tottenham under Glenn Hoddle six years ago, but found his chances in the first team limited by the already large influx of overseas players.

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"That's probably the main reason I left Tottenham. I had Christian Ziege in front of me and if he was fit he was playing, Glenn Hoddle more or less told me that," said the 26-year-old.

"That was fair enough - he was a German international - but I had a spell where I played about 12 games in a row and had done well, we were in the top three, and then he came straight back into the team.

"I was only young, 19 or 20, at the time but it is kind of disheartening when you know you are doing your best week in, week out and then Christian would just come straight back in.

"It happened time and time again so that's why I had to move to West Ham to get a chance, and now I'm playing week in, week out and doing relatively well.

"The foreign players help the game and the supporters love to watch the best players, but if you're an English player coming through it definitely holds you back.

"You see fewer and fewer lads coming through the Premier League now. You've got to be exceptional to do that."

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