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English clubs should be doing more to develop talent - Ginola
GREG DYKE has found an unlikely ally in former Newcastle United midfielder David Ginola, who believes English clubs should be doing more to develop home-grown talent.
In his new role as Football Association chairman, Dyke cited both Newcastle and Sunderland as examples of clubs that have sought to recruit their players from abroad, eschewing local players in favour of foreign imports.
The Magpies signed a raft of French-based players in January, adding another in Loic Remy in August, but Ginola, who played for Newcastle between 1995 and 1997, believes his old club should be looking closer to home.
"If a club wants to buy 10, 12, 15 French players, or Spanish, or German, that’s up to the club. The only concern is that they do well for the club,” said Ginola, who was a £2.5m signing for the Magpies under Kevin Keegan from Paris St Germain.
"It’s not only Newcastle - most of the teams in England should have more English players. I’ve said that for many, many years. It doesn’t seem to be any different. Every year you see more and more foreign signings. Clubs should concentrate more on bringing young English talent to the top teams and improving their academies with better coaches.
"Barcelona and Bayern Munich have been working very, very hard from the grassroots to know how to pass the ball. It’s something you learn from a young age, so it needs to start very young.”
Newcastle have invested time and money in their scouting network in France, with chief scout Graham Carr regularly taking in games across the Channel in order to unearth new talent.
But, as Newcastle learned towards the end of last season, dressing room cliques can occur which could prove to destabilise a team spirit, and Ginola knows from experience of the importance of adapting to the English way of life.
"You can’t just arrive in Newcastle and say, ‘I’m just going to live my life, I don’t want to understand the culture’,” explained Ginola, who went on to play for Tottenham Hotspur, Aston Villa and Everton before retiring in 2002.
“It could be bad in a way, if all the French players stick too much together, you don’t speak English, you speak French together in the dressing room. I guess there will be some rules in the dressing room that the French should speak English. That could be a problem.
"It’s also a problem with English. I’ve been in this situation before when I was speaking in French with some of my friends, sometimes English players start to get annoyed because they think we are talking about them. It can bring some issues in a dressing room and this is something you have to avoid.
"When I was at Newcastle, I was on my own. I had to discover things by myself – language, environment, new way of life. When you come from Saint Tropez, and you play four years in Paris, and you arrive in the North-East in England, you think that people speak English but in fact they speak Geordie, so for me it was like a foreign language – but another foreign language. So I said to myself that would be difficult. But having said that, I did everything I could to be accepted – learning the language, doing my best every day in training.
"The best reward for me was that people questioned how I would do in England and in the North-East but I arrived on July 14, started the season and I was voted player of the month for August. It means I settled down pretty quickly and learned about things pretty quickly, and this is what they should do.”
Newcastle almost lost Yohan Cabaye in the transfer window with Arsenal interested in the playmaker, and Ginola is pleased Alan Pardew was able to retain the French international.
"It’s gone now, it’s behind him,” said Ginola of the time Cabaye spent out of the team. “He’s looking forward. In front of him he has got the World Cup next June in Brazil. He has to get his place back in the French squad and to do that he needs to put in some good performances for Newcastle. It’s as simple as that.
"The team needs him, he’s a good player. He’s a big asset for the club. I don’t think there are many players as good as him. He can deliver, he can score goals, he can tackle and track back, he’s got good vision. He’s a complete player. They need him but he knows as well that he needs Newcastle.
"When you look forward in your career, you play for a club and first of all you need to be good with your club. If you want to expect anything else, first things first you need to play well for Newcastle, and then things will follow.”
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