Ex-Leeds United wonderkid Michael Woods speaks out on leaving for Chelsea

Stamford Bridge

Former Leeds United youngster Michael Woods has been discussing the effect of foreigners in English football.

Former Leeds United youngster Michael Woods has been speaking about foreign players in English football for a new BBC study.

Woods signed for Chelsea from Leeds for £5 million in 2006 in a joint deal with Tom Taiwo. He is now playing for Hartlepool, and at one stage dropped down to non-league with Harrogate.

Still only 24, Woods admits it was impossible to say no to the prospect of joining the Blues.

He said: "We had a strong side that had grown up together. Danny Rose, Fabian Delph, Tom Taiwo and Jonny Howson. A lot of the bigger Premier League clubs were sniffing to take a few of us, just trying to take advantage of the financial situation Leeds were in.

"A lot of eyebrows were raised as if to say ‘are you going to go down there and get a chance?’ I thought 10 years down the line I’m going to think ‘what if I didn’t go’.

"In any job everyone wants to try and be the best you can be. When you are that age and you hear Mourinho is interested in you..."

Woods never played a league game for Chelsea but did feature in the League Cup and Carling Cup, and he says despite feeling there are too many foreigners in the English game, he is thankful to the club.

"I was flying for the first two years. I was enjoying my football and felt confident in my abilities. Then the injuries struck. I haven't got a bad word to say about Chelsea and the academy, the way they treated my injury. They couldn’t do any more."

"I think there are too many foreign footballers in the Premier League. I’d like to see a quota of three English players in each team. At 15, 16 or 17 you’re playing with lads who you’re looking at and thinking ‘he’s a cert, he’s going to make it, he’s nailed on, he’s got everything’. Then it comes to the age of 19/20 and Premier League managers can buy an Eden Hazard with 100 French league games under his belt for £30m."

As well as playing for Notts County on loan, Woods also spent time at Aberdeen, Yeovil Town and Doncaster Rovers.

The central midfielder has made 14 appearances for Hartlepool this season, 11 in League Two, scoring once.

Tom Taiwo is also 24 and is currently playing for Scottish Championship side Falkirk, previously playing for Carlisle and Hibernian after leaving Chelsea.

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