England must promote young players in the Premier League – Loew
German manager Joachim Loew said last night that the England team would continue to struggle for as long as it failed to promote young English players to play in the Premier League.
Ahead of his team's quarter-final against France today, Loew espoused unprompted on the level of young English players in the Premier League, citing it as a problem for Roy Hodgson. Asked about the strong numbers of German players in the Bundesliga, Loew said that he also benefited from his players playing abroad.
He said: "We have a good blend. These players have a lot of experience in tough competitions. I'm not unhappy if players are abroad. We can benefit from Sami Khedira, Mesut Özil having different influences and cultures and coaches. They benefit personally as well and it helps players to mature.
"If other countries like England have a problem, their league has a disadvantage because of a higher percentage of foreigners so it becomes difficult for the national coach to get things moving. We have changed over recent years with lots of young German players in German clubs given an advantage over foreigners and we're benefiting from that. In England there are many foreigners and perhaps that is not always beneficial."
Germany's team director Oliver Bierhoff announced that the Germany players had not even travelled with their suitcases ahead of the game against France – symbolic, he said, of their confidence that they will reach a record fourth consecutive semi-finals.
The former Germany striker said that he and Loew had decided the players should not pack up their bags at their base in Bahia, in the north-east of the country ahead of today's game at the Maracana in Rio. "We are travelling without suitcases," he said. "When players have already packed their bags, it means that in their heads there is a lot of anxiety."
Earlier in the week, the German camp had been struggling with an outbreak of flu. Loew had said that seven of his players had throat complaints, although he did not specify which members of his squad.
But yesterday he said that the players had recovered. "One third of our team were complaining about sore throats. We were contaminated and have problems and need to see how that develops. Mats Hummels had a fever but from (Wednesday) all players are able to train. They're still slightly suffering but no feeling of exhaustion. Hopefully they stay stable and there is no worsening.
"Bastian Schweinsteiger and Khedira recovered well. They had a break so are in excellent condition. Both are in good shape and able to play. Hummels can play. He was able to train with the team and he told me he no longer feels tired and could be perfectly fit." (© Independent News Service)