Gary Neville believes rich kids do not “have the eye of the tiger” to become top footballers.
The former Manchester United star, 45, said successful players often come from poor backgrounds because they are hungrier for success.
Gary and brother Phil, 43, both played for United and England, while their sister Tracey, 43, was a netball ace.
Nev said: “Your footballers come from mainly the most deprived areas in the country ordinarily because they’re hungry as hell, they’re desperate to play football.
“This idea that you could grow up in wealth and become a football player is rare because you won’t have the eye of the tiger.
“You won’t have that hunger, you won’t have that horribleness, that determination that you need to have, that selfishness.”
Gary, who grew up in Bury, Greater Manchester, retired from the game in 2011 and is now a Sky Sports pundit and business tycoon.
He said he was taught how to work hard by United legends Roy Keane and Sir Alex Ferguson.
He explained: “The person I am now or the person I became over a period of years I wasn’t at 16.
“I saw the determination in Roy Keane, Paul Ince, Eric Harrison [youth coach], Sir Alex Ferguson.
“I saw people around me who were absolute animals. They worked on a football pitch, in the gym, everything was like 110%.
“They would literally die for every single pass, every tackle, every header.
“And when you see that you’ve got a level that you need to go to – and that’s where I was influenced by all of those people around me and I became that person that I am today through those influences from 16 to 20.
“We all did, all of us young lads. We all became the individuals we became over the learnings that we had alongside those people, the influences, the mentors that you have.”