Burton-on-Trent - The dwindling English talent pool in the
Premier League may leave England's new manager Sam Allardyce with no option but
to naturalise overseas-born players, he said on Monday.
After naming his squad for England's opening 2018 World Cup
qualifier in Slovakia on Sunday, Allardyce revealed he had made an unsuccessful
attempt to call up Sevilla's French midfielder Steven N'Zonzi.
The move was blocked by FIFA due to N'Zonzi having played
for France's under-21 team, but with only around 35 percent of Premier League
starters being English, Allardyce wants to keep his options open.
Asked if he should not be giving priority to players born in
England, Allardyce said: "It happens in all the other countries though.
"The shortage of English players in the Premier League,
I think it is only 31 percent.
"If those don't play on a regular basis, surely if you
are going to win something and that player is of the calibre to force his way
into that side, then you give him an opportunity?
"It's a very delicate subject, I agree with you. I'll
have to see if I actually do it one day how it's perceived across the nation.
"If he goes out and scores the winner, will it be quite
Raheem Sterling, who was born in Jamaica, is the only
overseas-born player in Allardyce's current squad. The Manchester City winger
moved to England when he was five.
Allardyce pointed to England's cricket and rugby teams as
examples of national sides who have successfully integrated foreign-born
players into their squads.
"Cricket do it, don't they?" he said to reporters
at England's St George's Park training centre in Burton, central England.
"Rugby do it, athletics do it. It's not happening
anyway, so we can cover that again if it does."
Allardyce also revealed that England's Football Association
was actively on the lookout for non-native players who might qualify to play
for the national team.
"It's not my department to find those," he said
when asked if he had other foreign-born players in mind.
"We have a department to look at the whole situation at all areas for every international team."