England's exit down to over-rated players says Valdano

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MADRID, Nov 24 (Reuters) England should look to the shortcomings of their players when seeking to explain their failure to qualify for next year's European championship, former Argentina forward Jorge Valdano has said.

''At present England will feel it is the victim of the success of its domestic league and use this to justify its absence from Euro 2008,'' Valdano said in his weekly column in sports daily Marca today.

''The weekly wear and tear of the Premier League, the excessive number of foreigners, and the new ideas that contaminate the purity of the particular British style.

''An avalanche of opinions, all exaggerated, will try to frame the debacle around a central principle: those from outside harm what's inside.

''It would be better for them to look at the problem head on and to recognise that from Eric Cantona to now, those from outside import prestige and those inside export failures.

''The over-rating of some English players that have much more name than talent, is the sad reality.'' England's fate was sealed by Wednesday's 3-2 qualifying defeat by Croatia at Wembley.

Valdano was part of the Argentine team that won the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.

He played for and coached Real Madrid and was their sporting director for four years before resigning in 2004.

REUTERS PDS RAI2055

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