Lippi: Too many foreigners in Serie A

The former Italy boss believes the influx of overseas players is hindering the development of promising youngsters, citing the examples of Marco Verratti and Manolo Gabbiadini
Former Italy coach Marcello Lippi has urged Serie A sides not to overlook homegrown youngsters in favour of foreigners who add little value to the team.

Lippi feels there are too many overseas players plying their trade in Serie A who are not significantly better than Italian youngsters and fears this development could hurt Italian football in the long term.

"There are too many foreigners in Italian football. I agree with Cesare Prandelli on the matter," Lippi told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"I don't have any problems with it if a team buys an important foreign player. But if they're buying someone foreign just because he has a different passport, I cannot support it.

"It's just wrong that over 50 per cent of the players in Serie A are foreign. There will be no room any more for promising youngsters such as Manolo Gabbiadini, Marco Verratti and Lorenzo Insigne if this continues.

"I remember when Ciro Ferrara was in charge of Italy Under-21 and he had no other options but to call up players from Serie B and C. We risk returning to that situation again and I wonder why we'd go there."

The 65-year-old guided Italy to World Cup glory in 2006 and is currently in charge of Guangzhou Evergrande in China.