Roberto Mancini echoes Gareth Southgate complaint about homegrown talent

Roberto Mancini has claimed that Italy are ‘worse off’ than England, after Gareth Southgate bemoaned a decreasing number of English players in the country’s top flight.

England manager Southgate said last week that there are ever fewer homegrown players in the Premier League, meaning he might have to start selecting from “the Championship or elsewhere” going forward.

And the 52-year-old’s Italian counterpart, Mancini, has echoed Southgate’s point while suggesting that Italy are in an even tougher position.

“We are worse off than Southgate,” the Italy coach said, ahead of his team’s Nations League match with England in Naples on Thursday (23 March).

“We have three teams in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, but out of the three teams there are seven or eight Italians at most. This is the reality.”

Serie A clubs Napoli, Internazionale and Milan are the teams to whom the 58-year-old was referring.

“We used to play for three or four hours on the street and then go to train; today this no longer happens. It is no coincidence that players are still discovered in those countries such as Uruguay, Argentina or Brazil, where people still play a lot in the streets.”

Per the BBC, approximately 32 percent of players starting in Premier League games are eligible for England selection. However, Southgate noted that two recent weekends saw the average drop to 28 percent.

“It has been around 32 percent, but that’s down from 35 when I took over, and 38 in the years before,” Southgate said. “So, the graph is clear, there’s no argument about that.

“Twenty-eight percent has happened in a couple of weekends in the last few weeks.

“The numbers are the numbers. They’re not going up.”

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