Alexis Sanchez has blasted the system used for developing young English players. The highly rated attacker has been quick to criticise the academy set up following his move to Arsenal, according to The Guardian.
Sanchez became Arsenal's marquee signing this summer when making a £35 million move from Barcelona. The 25-year-old scored 47 goals in 141 appearances for the Catalan giants and netted two goals in the World Cup in Brazil.
Sanchez had a less than ideal upbringing in the small Chilean town of Tocopilla, nicknamed the 'Devil's Corner'. With a population of 24,000 the town is better known for its declined industry and high pollution than being a hotbed for young footballing talent.
Sanchez, raised by his single mother, would spent most of his spare time as a child washing cars to help put food on the table. As a youngster his schoolteacher recalls asking her students to bring in photos of their heroes. Whilst others brought photos of Winnie the Pooh and Mickey Mouse Sanchez brought in a picture of himself.
During tough times the Chilean told his mother: "Don't worry, I'm going to be a footballer and get us out of this situation".
Football the saviour
The attacking maestro compared his experiences to that of his English counterparts: “If I had failed I would be working 15-hour days on construction sites and still not be earning enough to live. Football saved me, and I don’t think any England players could say that."
Sanchez's criticism comes as many attempt to try and diagnose England's capitulation in Brazil. Despite having one of the world's greatest training complexes in St George's Park and the highest grossing domestic league the English national squad remains 20th in the FIFA world rankings.
With the implementation of FIFA fair play rules soon to apply perhaps the focus on English players in the Premier League can help drive a resurgence in the national team.