Woodgate sticks boot in to Premier League: English football is over-rated!
08:31 GMT, 28 March 2012
Jonathan Woodgate has joined the chorus of critics claiming that English football is over-rated.
Stoke City’s defender, who spent three injury-plagued years at Real Madrid, believes recent set-backs in Europe have highlighted deficiencies in the domestic game.
While the former England international, 32, says there are shining examples of the manner in which club football is changing for the good, due to the emergence of Swansea City, he believes that recent events have cast a shadow over the game.
Blast: Jonathan Woodgate
The Premier League was able to boast just one club in the last eight of the Champions League and Manchester United were catapulted from the Europa League after being beaten home and away by Athletic Bilbao.
That led to questions being raised about the strength of the English game and Woodgate says that the basis for those questions has merit.
'I don’t think the standard here is as good as it has been,' he said.
'No disrespect to Liverpool but you can tell because there aren’t too many teams behind them.
'I just don’t think it has been a great league this season. That’s my opinion, but I don’t know why it is.
'Athletic Bilbao dominated Manchester United over two games – which has never been seen.
'Maybe the quality has just gone out of the league a bit, although I have to say that Swansea have been unbelievable.
'I love the way they play football and how they pass the ball out, no matter where they are on the field. I think Brendan Rodgers is destined for a really big job.'