Paolo Di Canio has hit out at claims by Football Association chairman Greg Dyke that foreigners are negatively affecting English football.
In a speech delivered on Thursday, Dyke stated that young English players were not developing properly because of too much competition for places from overseas players at Premier League clubs.
However, Sunderland manager Di Canio believes the influx of foreign talent has the opposite effect.
Di Canio – arrived in England as a player in 1997 with Sheffield Wednesday – also criticised English players for not having the correct mentality to adapt quickly enough to keep up with other nations.
“It can help raise standards in England, bringing fresh techniques and ideas,” the Italian said. “I admire English football but it is obvious that the country has not done as well as it should have done in tournaments in the last few decades.
“If English players buy into different techniques and ideas, they will not go out of tournaments early.
“That is what I hope for, because there are positive foreign influences on the English game.”
The Italian brought in 13 players to Sunderland during the most recent transfer window, but none were English.
However, the 45-year-old has defended his approach, insisting it was necessary to help the club move forward.
“This was change that needed to happen and now we have to deal with the new situation,” he added. “If we are a united group we can achieve a lot more and for that reason we have to mix and share as much as possible.
“Together as a group of players we must speak English and it is important that the players who do not speak English learn as quickly as possible.”
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