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Vinnie Jones on UK immigration

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The footballer turned actor Vinnie Jones has revealed that he disapproves of immigration to the UK. He says that he does not recognise the England of his youth because it is now 'a European country'. Jones lives in Hollywood in California.

Speaking on a rare visit to the UK, Jones said that England had changed beyond recognition. He said 'It's not the country I grew up in. It's a European country now.' Jones would clearly be surprised to learn that England was, in fact, a European country in the 1970s when he was growing up in Potter's Bar, a town on the outskirts of London. Great Britain is an island situated on the western coast of continental Europe.

As a footballer, Jones was known for his aggression and violence rather than for his skill. He cultivated his image as a 'hard man' and used intimidation as a tool of his trade. He was sent off twelve times in his career and was once given a yellow card for violent play after only three seconds of a match.

Grabbed Gascoigne between the legs

He was famously photographed grabbing England footballer Paul Gascoigne hard between the legs during a game in 1987 causing Gascoigne to grimace in agony.

Jones began his major league career with Wimbledon FC, winning the FA Cup in 1988 before going on to play for Chelsea, Leeds United and Queen's Park Rangers. He played nine international matches for Wales, qualifying because he had a Welsh grandparent.

Despite being the descendant of a Welsh immigrant, Jones was a very 'English' type of footballer who made up for a lack of skill with aggression and violence. In 1992, the French international forward David Ginola, who played in the English First Division for Tottenham Hotspur, criticised Jones.

'Does not deserve to be considered a footballer'

He said 'Jones does not deserve to be considered a footballer. Getting kicked is part of the job in France as well as England, but the real scandal is that someone like Jones gets to be a star, to make videos and become an example for kids'.

Jones retired in 1998, the same year that he made his film debut in Guy Ritchie's film Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels in which he played Big Chris, a violent thug. He later moved to California to further his acting career. He has since played a violent thug in several other films.

This week, he told The BBC listings magazine, The Radio Times, that he has no desire to move back to the UK. He said 'People say you can get bored of the sunshine in LA. No, you can't. I play golf six days a week.'

English football ruined by overseas players

Jones also revealed that he believes that English football has been ruined by an influx of 'foreign players' and 'foreign managers'. He said that foreign players cheat by 'diving' - that is throwing themselves to the ground pretending to have been fouled.

He said 'Yeah, well, that rolling around, that's the foreign players. I said it all 15 years ago, that diving would creep in [when foreign players joined English clubs]'.

Jones clearly has a nostalgia for the days when English football was populated by English players who tried manfully to stay on their feet while Jones and the other 'hard men' tried, sometimes successfully, to break their legs.

In those days, before the influx of foreign players, the only reason why a player in the English leagues would writhe around on the ground was if he had been brutally fouled by a hard man like Jones, often while minding his own business far away from the ball.

Flies a Union Flag outside his house in California

Mr Jones now lives in a mansion in Mulholland Drive in Hollywood next door to Quentin Tarantino where he often enjoys British delicacies such as Walkers Crisps and Ribena. He flies a British Union Jack flag on a flagpole on his front lawn but says that he has no desire to live in Britain because of the weather and the immigrants.

In this regard, he is similar to Sir Sean Connery, the former James Bond star. Mr Connery is an ardent supporter of the Scottish Nationalist Party which advocates independence for Scotland. He has a tattoo which reads Scotland Forever and lives in The Bahamas.

Sir Sean's views on immigration are not known.

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