Footballer turned actor Vinnie Jones has lambasted his native Britain as a country that has lost its identity and is “past its sell-by date”.
“There’s nothing to come back to here,” the star of the film Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels reveals in this week’s Radio Times.
“To me, England is past its sell-by date. It’s not the country I grew up in. It’s a European country now. If someone blindfolded you and put you on a plane in LA, and you landed at Heathrow and they took it off, you wouldn’t have a clue where you were.”
He added: “I just think we should get our own house in order before we open our doors. It’s mind-boggling to me.”
Jones is also critical of the foreign takeover of England’s domestic league and says that foreign players have made it less sporting.
“Yeah, well, that rolling around, that’s the foreign players. I said it all 15 years ago, that diving would creep in, and also that the England team would suffer, because none of these foreign managers would buy English players. It’s all happening, just like I said it would. The likes of Frank Lampard and John Terry at Chelsea, English players with proper status at a club, they’re going to be like the dodo bird. Extinct.”
Jones, who is to appear in a six-part National Geographic series Russia’s Toughest in which he experiences life in some of the least hospitable parts of the biggest country in the world, says that he misses some aspects of Britain despite the comforts afforded by his current home in California.
“I get my Walkers crisps delivered once a month. I have a box of Roast Chicken, a box of Salt and Vinegar, and a box of Monster Munch.”
He adds: “And there’s more Premier League football on TV there than there is here.”
Jones also reveals that his footballing prowess has helped him gain credibility in the sports-mad USA.
“I’ll tell you something. Americans are crazy about sport. [Basketball star] Kobe Bryant is bigger than Brad Pitt. Even the President wants to shoot hoops with Kobe Bryant. So, that gives me massive credibility. Massive. Nic Cage said to me, ‘Hey man, I didn’t know you were a pro soccer player, that’s awesome.’ It means I’m going in on an even keel with them.”
He also reveals a soft spot for one of the UK’s national treasures – presenter and naturalist David Attenborough.
He reveals: “if you want to know what makes me emotional, it’s nature stuff. I haven’t got Tarantino’s films on my iPad, I’ve got Attenborough. Growing up, Glenn Hoddle was my hero. But away from football, it was Attenborough. And it still is.”
The new issue of Radio Times is on sale from Tuesday, priced £1.60
Sign up to the Radio Times newsletter for the latest TV and entertainment news