A statement from Alan Pardew

A statement from Alan Pardew:

"In light of the media coverage surrounding my recent comments, I would like to make one or two things clear.

When I said it was disappointing that there were no British players in the Arsenal team that went through to the last eight in the Champions League, I was not being racist or xenophobic, as Arsene Wenger has suggested.

My view is that, if we are to have strong British national sides - and success at that level boosts crowds and revenue in our domestic leagues - then we need to have young British players coming through.

I made it clear at our press conference last week that I am a great admirer of Arsene Wenger and what he has achieved, and in no way was I belittling their great result. Indeed, they have my support and I hope they go on to win the Champions League.

But I maintain we need to protect our young talent for the greater good. It is a view I know is held by the PFA, other managers and indeed FIFA, who are considering introducing a quota system.

A manager who is married to a Swede and has signed players from Ireland, Wales, Argentina, Israel and France, while giving trials to players from Japan and Poland cannot be called racist. Our multi-cultural approach to our squad is something I am proud of.

I care passionately about our game and will always give my views honestly and from the heart."