David Gold is fearful that the proliferation of foreign players in the Premier League is hindering the chances of the England national team.

The Birmingham City chairman, whose club benefits from the presence talented players from abroad, says that the number of imports plying their trade in England will continue to increase.

Just 37 per cent of players who started Premier League matches on August 11 were qualified to represent England.

"We've got to live with the current situation because the Premier League is driving football," Gold said. "I cannot see how you can legislate to stop overseas players from coming to the country. You can't alter this.

"The question is are you happy for your club to have 50 per cent of their players come from overseas or are you more concerned about the national team?

"It depends where you're looking from - whether you're on the beach in the summer and you're concerned about the national team, or it's Saturday and you're at Chelsea or Arsenal. You can't have it both ways.

"We benefit as individual fans because we see world-class players. But the price for that is that the national team is suffering.

"There will be times when great English players emerge - and we will win a tournament in due course - but I've got to say it's very difficult. We're under-performing and the reason we're underperforming is because less than half of the players in the league are English.

"If you compare us with Italy, 70 per cent of the players in their top division are Italians and it reflects in their national side. If we could run at 70 per cent we would be competing at the highest level but we're not and we have to face up to that.

"The reasons we're not is that the Premier League is bringing in the world's greatest players and that is stifling young English players from emerging."