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'There will be an all-black England side within a decade'

LION: Nathaniel Chalobah in action for England

FOLLOWING AGENDA-setting talkSPORT research finding that the proportion of British football players from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds had doubled since the Premier League began in 1992, senior footballing figures have now said it’s possible to field a fully BAME side within 10 years.

The comments were made to talkSPORT’s Kick Off show diversity special looking in detail at the BAME research findings.

This comes against the backdrop of a report released by the Resolution Foundation highlighting that graduates from ethnic minorities in Britain are less likely to be in work than their white peers, but it appears that English football is bucking the trend.

The FA’s inclusion advisory board chair and former Chelsea star, Paul Elliott, told talkSPORT that, “of course it is possible” while the chair of anti-racism organisation Kick It Out, Lord Ouseley, described it as “not inconceivable” that England could field a fully BAME side within a decade.

The comments come after talkSPORT research revealed the Premier League trend has been reflected in the England national side.

VIEWS: Former Chelsea player Paul Elliott

At Euro 2012, 50 per cent of all England appearances were made by BAME players, eight of whom featured in the opening match against France. This represents a 43 per cent increase in BAME players when compared to when England hosted the Euro 96 tournament when the proportion was just seven per cent and only Paul Ince and Sol Campbell represented BAME communities.

With a nod to the future, in England’s Under 20 World Cup triumph in June this year, 60 per cent of all England appearances were made by BAME players, with the figure rising to nearly 70 per cent in the final against Venezuela.

Lord Ouseley said: “talkSPORT’s research into BAME players at the top level provides an important insight into the increased diversity we are seeing on Premier League pitches.

“The figures are a reminder of the progress that has been made in making team selection in English football colour blind, however it remains the case that there is still prejudice, bias, discrimination and exclusion throughout the rest of the game.”

Elliott commented on the statistic that BAME British players had doubled telling talkSPORT:

“It’s a very important statistic, because it demonstrates that on the footballing side, if you’re good enough and prepared to work hard enough, this is what you can achieve. There is a tremendous amount of talent but that talent needs one key ingredient and that is game time.”

Watford midfielder Nathaniel Chalobah told talkSPORT:

“From when I was in the U16s up to the U21s it was always very diverse. There are not many incidents of racism happening nowadays, as everyone watches a football match to enjoy themselves and have a good day out.”

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