MARK Noble believes a limit should be placed on the number of foreigners playing in the Premier League.

Some 144 of the 220 players - or 65.5 per cent - who started the opening weekend's fixtures in the top-flight were either born or registered to play for a country other than England.

Only Noble's West Ham and Aston Villa, with six each, and newly-promoted Derby County, with eight, fielded sides with more home-grown players than imports.

And the Irons youngster believes something needs to be done if the state of the English game is not permanently harmed by the foreign invasion.

"I've always thought there should be some sort of limit to the number of foreigners in each team or in the Premier League," said Noble, who was joined by fellow former Irons trainee Anton Ferdinand, Robert Green, Matty Upson, Lee Bowyer and Bobby Zamora in Alan Curbishley's starting line-up.

"I've seen so many young players with so much talent just not get a look in.

"They get sent out to lower league teams on loan, as I did, and if you don't take your opportunity and get that little bit of luck then you might never end up playing in the Premier League, your confidence goes and you never get a chance."

Even Noble had to wait until the final ten games of last season to make his mark, having spent the first half on loan at Championship side Ipswich Town before seeing his way into the West Ham side barred by new signing Nigel Quashie - a Scot - and the now-departed Nigel Reo-Coker.

And the popular midfielder - who came up against England Under-21 colleagues Nedum Onuoha and Micah Richards on Saturday - said many of the youngsters he had grown up playing Academy football against had fallen by the wayside after being unable to dislodge foreign players from their club's first elevens.

"There's loads and loads," he said."I've played against players since I was 10 who people have talked about as great players and you never hear anything from them.

"Some of them go quiet and don't play football any more."