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Sunderland hit back at Dyke criticism

Sunderland brought 14 players to the Stadium of Light during the close-season transfer window, of which only former Altrincham forward Duncan Watmore is English.

This recruitment approach sparked criticism from Dyke, in a speech highlighting his concerns over the declining number of home-grown players in the Premier League.

However, the club's chief executive Margaret Byrne used her programme notes ahead of Saturday's clash with Arsenal to respond to Dyke's claims.

She said: "I have to say that I was very disappointed by some comments in Mr Dyke's speech and in particular his reference to Sunderland AFC.

"I am sure that when Mr Dyke has had an opportunity to speak with clubs and to familiarise himself with the rigorous process involved with the Elite Player Performance Plan, he will become more knowledgeable as to the efforts that we are making.

"We have signed a number of established players with the intention of them being involved at first-team level immediately, but the wider picture is that we have committed to the playing squad as a whole, something that we recognised that we needed to do.

"All Premier League clubs want to develop players that can play for England. We are fully committed to developing young English talent."

Sunderland's foreign recruits, including United States international forward Jozy Altidore, have failed to inspire Paolo Di Canio's side so far this season, as they currently sit second bottom of the table with just one point following a 3-1 defeat against Arsenal.