Former Sunderland boss Peter Reid has called for young English talent to choose playing time over big-money deals.
And he has pinpointed Black Cats midfielder Jack Rodwell as an example of a promising player whose career has stalled.
Reid, who managed both Sunderland and Manchester City, says playing regular first team football should always be the priority for the best young English talent.
Rodwell broke through at Everton and his impressive form resulted in an England call-up. But following his £15million move from Everton to Manchester City, Rodwell struggled for game time at Eastlands.
The 24-year-old played just 16 times in two seasons at City before moving to the Stadium of Light, where he is now battling for a first team place. Rodwell has made just three Premier League starts this season.
And Reid says younger players have to make the right decisions early in their careers.
“Footballers have to play, it’s all about time on the pitch," Reid told the Mirror.
"You can have top players, great coaches but the best players reach the top through playing regularly.
“It’s relevant to every young footballer. Get out there, be with a team where you are going to play, it’s as simple as that.
“Jack came up through the ranks at Everton, everyone was suitably impressed and he was a huge talent. Strong, good on the ball and an excellent prospect.
“Fair play to him, he backed himself to go to City. There’s a few English lads who went to City and it didn’t work. Scott Sinclair is another one.
“I can understand them going to City. It’s a great club, great set-up and you can win trophies. But you can’t if you’re not playing. And that’s the problem.
“Now he has gone to Sunderland and he’s still not playing. What is that telling you?”