Alex McLeish admits the lack of home-grown players on duty in this week's Portsmouth-Arsenal clash is "worrying" for the future of English football.
Arsenal won 4-1 at Fratton Park on Wednesday evening to bolster their push for the Barclays Premier League title but there was not a single English-qualified player in the starting line-up of either side.
Former Scotland boss McLeish said: "At the end of the day, it is a worry for English football. But, when you are the coach of a professional team, you should be able to play the players of your choice at the top level."
He added: "If it is top-level sport, you should be allowed to play who you want to play. There is no getting away from that.
"It is difficult to say 'you can't play someone ahead of an English player', but it is worrying in terms of the development of the English game.
"However, when I look at the England national team and the resources they have, it is frighteningly good.
"They are one of the favourites to win the World Cup next summer."
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