Sport

David Moyes calls for Rangers and Celtic to join unified British league system

The West Ham manager, David Moyes, has called for a unified British league pyramid, with Rangers and Celtic in a two-tier Premier League that allows other Scottish clubs a pathway to the English top flight.

After England’s big six clubs were forced into a humiliating U-turn after agreeing to join the breakaway tournament, speculation has once again surfaced that Scotland’s two Glasgow giants could end up south of the border.

Moyes, who played for Celtic before playing and managing in England, says he would take things further. “Change is needed in some way. I think the Premier League has a brilliant product, I really do, but at the top clubs you’re talking about too many games, so could we have Premier League I and Premier League II?”

“Could we have a situation where we do invite Rangers and Celtic to Premier League II?. Why can we not unite the UK? More money would filter down if Rangers and Celtic could be given an opportunity to come in.”

The Scot is not proposing entry for the Old Firm alone, instead calling for “a pyramid that allows teams in the Scottish leagues to get into Premier League II”. Moyes also suggested wider reforms. “Maybe take a few less teams, maybe two out of the Premier League and put in Premier League II, and we have a few extra weeks.

“The big clubs have got such a big programme, and I can only see with the new programmes them getting so many more games, and it is getting too tough to play too many games.”

Moyes, who said he was disappointed with the English big six for their involvement in the ill-fated Super League, is hoping Michael Antonio can return from injury in time to bolster West Ham’s Champions League push.

Antonio is currently out of action with his third hamstring problem of the season, joining key players Declan Rice and Aaron Cresswell on the sidelines. “We have to hope somewhere along the line we can get Micky back in,” Moyes said.

Jesse Lingard will be fit to face Chelsea on Saturday despite limping out of last weekend’s defeat at Newcastle, with Moyes praising the on-loan forward for speaking about his mental health this week.

“It is good that Jesse spoke up,” said Moyes. “Everybody going through these times has had issues and we are really fortunate in football that we can come in and go to work and run about with our pals, play football and train.”

“It is important that people do speak up because life has been difficult for most over the last 18 months or so. But let’s hope that everything is getting better – and it certainly is for Jesse. He is great fun around the training ground … he is a big kid, but we like that, sometimes it is good to be big kids.”

The Hammers will be without the suspended centre-back Craig Dawson for what could prove to be a pivotal game in the race for a top-four place.