Goals on Sunday: I draw the line at Januzaj playing for England, says Danny Mills

Last Updated: 01/11/13 11:59am

Danny Mills told Goals on Sunday that he doesn't agree with the nationalising of foreign players and a line needs to be drawn about who can play for England.

Mills, who played 19 times for England and was first-choice right-back at the 2002 World Cup, is a member of the recently-formed FA commission tasked with improving the fortunes of the national side that has attracted far more criticism than praise during the early days of its existence.

The 36-year-old joined Ben and Kammy on the sofa to discuss his views on how the commission can improve the game and the former Leeds man had strong views on foreign players being nationalised, including Manchester United youngster Adnan Januzaj, who could theoretically be eventually able to represent England as well as Belgium, Bosnia or Turkey.

"They'll have no affiliation to this country whatsoever. You're going to starve English players yet again."

Danny Mills

Mills said: "I don't agree with the likes Januzaj playing for England. I think you've got to draw the line somewhere, especially if you're going to promote English players.

"If you start to nationalise people after five years academies will start picking kids up at 13/14 and taking a gamble. They won't have to play for the U21s, they won't have to play for the senior club side and suddenly by the time they get to 18 they'll be playing with England and they'll have no affiliation to this country whatsoever. You're going to starve English players yet again.

"I think you've got to stop the line at whether your parents can play for England, grandparents fine, maybe if you lived in this country before you went to school - and that's it.

"After that do we want to go down the line of cricket and rugby? I know it has worked and been a little bit successful but I think it's going to starve us even more."

Identifying the problems

The commission, set up by new FA chairman Greg Dyke, is focused on increasing the number of players available to the national team playing regularly at the highest level.

Mills, a graduate of Norwich City's youth system, believes improvement has to come from the bottom with better coaching at grassroots level.

"I think first and foremost we've got to really identify the problems. We all know what some of the problems are but we've got to pinpoint them and start finding solutions," he added.

"Great players coming over from abroad is brilliant. My kids watch football and they want to see the best players, the best techniques - the Henrys, the Bergkamps, all those people that add something.

"But the issue we have is that all English players are too expensive and for whatever reason it's cheaper to go abroad, to go to France or Europe and pick a player of a similar standard - maybe not even quite as good - and pick them up cheaper.

"I had a good chat with Dan Ashworth about this last week. He was at West Brom and they had to stick to a budget. With English players like Downing, Henderson and Carroll - they went for ludicrous money compared to what they bought Countinho and Aspas for, who are real quality players.

"We'd all pick the same England squad because Roy Hodgson doesn't have that big a pool to pick from. If you imagine it is as a pyramid, if you've got a huge base by the time it gets to the top you've still got a lot of players to pick from.

"For me, it goes back to grassroots and we've got to get better coaches. There are a lot of coaches and some fantastic volunteers but I think they need more help and they need a better way of coaching.

"I've seen grassroots football for the last eight years, my kids are going through it, they've been through it and one of my lads is now at an academy and I see it at all different levels. There are some good coaches out there but a lot of work needs doing."