Ferdinand calls for limit on foreign imports

Rio Ferdinand has called for a limit on the number of foreign imports in English football, labelling the current situation "a disgrace".

The Manchester United defender said that the sheer volume of overseas players in the Premier League is damaging the potential of the national side.

His comments come in the same week that new Football Association chairman Greg Dyke aired his concerns over the ever-decreasing number of homegrown players in England's top division.

Ferdinand, who was capped 81 times by his country before retiring in May this year, urged the authorities to implement a minimum quota of English players at each club - or risk continued failure at international level.

"Having so few English players in the Premier League diminishes the English team, of course it does," the 34-year-old told The Mail on Sunday.

"Look at the Manchester City game recently against Newcastle. There was barely an English player on the pitch, three out of 22 starters.

"That is a disgrace.

"If you look at it and ask whether there should be a stipulation that you have a minimum number of players who are English, even just in your squad, I think that should happen.

"If you look at a lot of teams, there are England players who aren't playing for their clubs - yet we're hoping to go to a World Cup and do well!"

He cited the example of the Turkish Super Lig, which does enforce a limit on the number of foreign players at any one club, but admitted that such a move was unlikely to be allowed in his own country.

"I would do what Turkey do, and have limits," Ferdinand added.

"In that country, clubs can have a maximum of 10 foreign players on the books, and no more than six in any 18-man matchday squad.

"I know that European laws won't let a legal quota happen. So you can't do that. But if you want to protect English football and its heritage and its future, something like that has to be done."