LONDON (AFP) - England midfielder Jack Wilshere says he is not concerned about the lack of young English players plying their trade in the Premier League this season.
Only around 30 per cent of players in the English top flight qualify to play for the national team and Football Association chairman Greg Dyke voiced fears about the trend in a recent speech in London.
However, Wilshere pointed to the emergence of West Ham United youngster Ravel Morrison, scorer of a fine solo goal at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, as one of many reasons for optimism.
"I don't think we should be worried at all," he said during a press conference on Tuesday ahead of England's penultimate World Cup qualifier against Montenegro on Friday.
"They (foreign players) are not an obstruction. Ravel Morrison has burst onto the scene this season. He is a great prospect for the future.
"A lot of young English players are breaking into teams, too. OK, there are a lot of foreign players as well.
"But I can learn from the likes of Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil (at Arsenal). They are top players. Playing with the best players in Europe can only help my game. That is a positive." Wilshere cited his own experience of coming through the youth ranks at Arsenal as evidence that nationality is no barrier to achievement in the English game.
"Teams want the best players," said the 21-year-old.
"If the best players come through your academy, you can play. Kieran Gibbs is in this England squad. He grew up with me at Arsenal from when I was nine.
If you are good enough, it doesn't matter where you come from."