Houllier sides with PL clubs over signing young French talent

Former Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier is not totally against young French players being signed by Premier League clubs.

Former Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier is not totally against young French players being signed by Premier League clubs.

The practice, whereby England's top teams scour the globe for the world's best youngsters from other clubs, has been common for years.

Despite many calling for harsher punishments for clubs found guilty of illegally poaching youngsters, Houllier believes it is not be a bad thing if French teenagers opt to learn their trade at a bigger club abroad.

"If you look at it closely, very few players are hired by foreign clubs at 18-years-old," he told L'Est Republicain.

"But when it is the case for one player, it makes a lot of noise like Gael Kakuta who left Lens for Chelsea.

"Maybe you will think it is shocking, but it is not necessarily a bad thing if an Under-20 player joins a big foreign club.

"Obviously it is difficult but it will allow him to improve close to the very highest level. It is just like when a young man decides to join the USA during his studies."

Houllier was also quick to point out that French clubs must take some of the blame for failing to tie their starlets down to long-term contracts.

"Our young players have everything to blossom in France," he added.

"Sometimes our clubs are too unenthusiastic, too hesitant to propose a good contract to a talented guy.

"However, I have noticed a positive evolution recently."