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The keeper thinks that the competition hinders the national team due to a lack of home-grown players at top sides, but feels the Three Lions also suffer from bad luck

 Martin Langer
In Kiev
Gianluigi Buffon thinks that money and foreign imports continue to make the Premier League the strongest in the world, but are hindering the England team at major tournaments.

The Italy goalkeeper played a big hand in his side's Euro 2012 quarter-final win over The Three Lions, keeping out Glen Johnson's early close-range effort and saving Ashley Cole's penalty in the shoot-out.

The Juventus man believes that the Premier League has been better than others in recent years, thanks in part to rich club owners, but suggested that it is stopping home grown players from emerging and therefore hindering them on the international stage.

"Having a competitive league doesn't necessarily mean having competitive players," the 34-year-old said.

"For a number of years now, the English league has had the best football and is the best league in terms of quality. The money that's in the game means they can go and buy anyone from all over Europe or the world.

"This can happen in Spain and Italy as well as England but the league in England is no longer very faithful to what the national side needs.

"With this footballing globalisation, it's very difficult. You struggle to have players from your own country playing in the top league."

The Azzurri dominated Roy Hodgson's men in their knock-out tie, but failed to find the net in 120 minutes, needing a penalty shoot-out to progress, and went on to reach the final by beating Germany in the last four.

Critics of the English team pointed out that the national side do not possess players that can keep hold of the ball such as Andrea Pirlo but Buffon insisted they benefit from other attributes and pointed out that they have suffered from bad luck in the past.

"The England national side has its own strengths and they're a lot more physical than other sides," he added.

"But England aren't very lucky. They've lost on penalties in the last five or six times, so the margins between winning and losing are very thin indeed."

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