Former England defender Sol Campbell has labelled the new generation of rising stars as “bland”.
The 40-year-old, who recently put himself forward to be Mayor of London, has bemoaned the lack of characters in the modern game.
He told the Daily Mail : “There used to be so many of them: Paul Ince, Gazza, Tony Adams, etc. And the foreign players, like Cantona. You need those characters but they are going.
“Wayne Rooney is one but he will retire in four or five years. John Terry will retire sooner. Frank Lampard has gone. Stevie G has gone. There’s a different type of player coming through. They are good but they are bland.”
The former Tottenham and Arsenal defender also took a swipe at the Football Association, who he says are “100 years out of date”.
“I have played amazing for my country but at the moment the regime at the FA is not working for me,’ he says. ‘I went to Holland and at that time Patrick Kluivert — a black man — was assistant manager to Louis van Gaal. It’s all about inclusion.
“The FA should be a beacon with a diverse group of coaches. There are a lot of England players from the black community who have done well. That history should count for something. There should be black people somewhere — trainer, coach, physio, doctor, somebody in the media. I am not talking about the Under 21s or lower down but the first team. They could change it like that.
“The FA are 100 years out of date. I tried to change it. I didn’t get anywhere. I am Sol Campbell.
“Maybe it was a personal thing with me; not because of colour. I would say it how it is. But you need strong characters. You need friction, in an intelligent way. Football is hard and you need people who make tough decisions.
“Roy Hodgson is a Steady Eddie. He does what it says on the tin. But sometimes it’s nice to have something that’s not on the tin. But the FA can’t handle someone with character. Look at Brian Clough.”