By Rebecca Hawksworth

World Cup winner Ossie Ardiles was at UCFB Wembley recently to speak to Neil Silver, Head of Employment & Enrichment, about his time in England with Tottenham Hotspur and to give his thoughts on the number of foreign players playing in the Premier League.

A Spurs legend, Ardiles spent a decade playing for the club before going on to have a brief managerial stint with the North London side. The Argentine’s playing career also saw him spend time in England with both Blackburn Rovers and Queens Park Rangers before turning his attention to management.

Asked why he chose to come and play in England just after winning the World Cup in 1978 alongside compatriot Ricky Villa, Ardiles said; “When I played in the World Cup I had already made it clear that I wanted to continue my playing career in Europe. Europe at the time in football terms was Spain, Italy or France – it never crossed my mind to go to England. Sometimes you don’t choose – you have a contract there and you have to say yes or no. The contract was there, it was London, it was Tottenham and it looked brilliant, so I said yes!”

Having himself been a player from overseas opting for the move to England, Ardiles was asked what impact he believes foreign players have made on English football.

He said: “The impact has been absolutely huge. Superb players have come here all the time; players like Eric Cantona, Peter Schmeichel and Thierry Henry. I would say the Premier League is the most powerful League in the world right now and I would say one of the main reasons is because of the quality of the players in the league.”

The Argentine midfielder went on to tell the other half of the story of having foreign players in the Premier League, making reference to the difficulty that English players coming up through the academy ranks now face.

He said: “Because there are so many foreign players it has become much more difficult for English talent to flourish and to become members of the first team. In other countries you normally only have competition between members of the national side but in this case, in England, you have to compete against the very best players in the world.”

Ardiles added: “But after saying that I always believe that the cream will come to the top. Players like Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Glenn Hoddle… for them it would not have been a problem.”

With a managerial career that spanned over 20 years, Ardiles has a wealth of knowledge and experience on how to become a successful manager in football.

Asked to give his advice to the many students at UCFB studying the BA (Hons) Football Coaching & Management and BA (Hons) Sports Business & Coaching programmes, Ardiles had this to say: “Of course everybody will say you have to work hard and of course you have to do that, but the main thing I would say is that you have to have a really big love for the game.”