Fewer English Players in Premiership Now

The number of players qualified to play for English and starting in the Premier League has fallen from 184 in 1992 to 81 in 2007 (a 56% decline) and on the first weekend of the season only 37% of the starting elevens of the 20 Premier clubs were English.

Sir Trevor Brooking, the FA director of development, told the BBC yesterday that this trend is depriving English youngsters of first-team opportunities. Brooking said this has led to a lack of depth in key playing areas, particularly in forwards.

We’ll take a look at this and link it with the players coming through at the Under-21 level.


Trevor BrookingEnglish Football Association’s Director of Development

With English players claiming less than a third of the goals scored in the Premiership so far this season, Brooking is concerned about who will score the goals England need to progress in this competition and future ones.

But we think the English FA has a choice and they can’t have their cake and eat it too. One the one hand do they want to have the English Premiership the best league in the world? It is that now with world stars wanting to come to England to play and managers jumping at the chance to manage English teams.

Or do they want to use the Premiership top groom English qualified players to ensure they have a very strong national team. Gone are the days when English teams are predominantly restricted only to English players and it will be almost impossible to ever turn this around.

Here’s some statistics produced by the FA on this issue:

  • 76% of the starting XIs that played on the first weekend of the first Premier League season in 1992 were English, only 37% were English on the first weekend of this season
  • Only 10% (23 players) of the starting XIs in 1992 were from outside the UK, this season that number had increased to 56% (123)
  • Non-English players have scored 69% of Premier League goals so far this season – they have even scored two of the three own goals
  • Of the 118 goals scored so far, only nine have been scored by seven English strikers
  • According to the latest Deloitte figures for disclosed transfer fees, spending by Premier League clubs rose from £333M in 2006 to £531M in 2007
  • Half of that went to non-English clubs

Stuart Pearce seems to agree with what Brooking said yesterday, that the lack of young English talent in English football will hurt England long term. Stuart admits his scouting is done mainly outside the Premiership’s top 4 teams, as the only Under-21 player who comes from the top four is Theo Walcott of Arsenal.

We hope the top four will be broken up this year by Aston Villa, West Ham or Newcastle United – preferably the latter 😀

Stuart Pearce said yesterday:

“The one thing that hit home to me was sitting down and looking at the fixtures and how many players under 21 that was worth me going to watch,”

“The numbers aren’t very big. Is it worth me going to see Liverpool? No. There’s no-one on show. Chelsea? No-one on show. Manchester United?”

“Most of the players that we have in the squad come from Manchester City, Middlesbrough, Aston Villa and Newcastle.” “Those four sides contribute a hell of a lot to the side we can have.”

What do you think – is this situation being overplayed by Brooking?

Should we restrict the number of foreign players in the Premiership?

Should Newcastle bring more English players into their squad?

We’ve opened a discussion topic on this in the Newcastle United Forum and your comments on this are very welcome.

29 comments so far

  • Aussie geordie

    Sep 5, 2007 at 11:33 AM

    Comment #1

    I’m glad Milner and Taylor are putting in for the under 21’s and Carroll should be there soon. Not sure if in myignorance I have missed anyone else but its good to know we are the future of English football and though the top 4 are top sides they are not truly in the hearts of the fns come world cup time.

  • Craig Allen

    Sep 5, 2007 at 11:44 AM

    Comment #2

    It is interesting that it;s only being highlighted now as it’s been a growing trend over decade or so.

    I’m not too familiar with the youth structures but surely clubs like Man, Pool, Spurs should have solid youth structures in place? What happens to the youngsters? Do they lose interest? Do they not get opportunities? Not enough scouts? Are they just not good enough? That last one seems a bit of a cop out tho’.

    I’m baffled that there’s a shortage of talent coming through the ranks – when the structures are so sound? Are the barriers really only in the premier league or does it start to stifle talent at championship level or 2nd div or ? u/15 u/17 etc

  • Craig Allen

    Sep 5, 2007 at 11:51 AM

    Comment #3

    Oh and West Ham? Come on Ed, surely you can’t mention them in the same light as us and Villa ? Or maybe not even Villa – group them (Villa) with Man City,Spurs and Everton and put us ahead of them just behind the top 3/4

  • Midjew

    Sep 5, 2007 at 11:52 AM

    Comment #4

    HMMMMM its hard, its GREAT to see the Best players from the world playing in the EPL.

    And i think this is good it will only push English players to be better than them, look at rooney, scholes, lampard, terry, gerrard all have or are the best in there position.

    I see nothing wrong in it, AS LONG AS the prices are the same e.g for foreign or english players, that is a PROBLEM as big sam pointed out.

  • dragoner

    Sep 5, 2007 at 12:11 PM

    Comment #5

    At the end of the day teams should simply go for the most talented youth, unfortunately that is often not the English. Therefore the English should strive to be better so they can be picked over the foreign players, and should not simply expect to be the “priority”.

    Also, judging by the England U-21’s and U-17’s the future is bleak, It does not seem like there are any legends in the making in either sides, ESPECIALLY the U-17’s who were awful against Germany in their 4-1 thrashing

    U-21’s have a good squad but none of the players seem to be the answer to Englands hopes. Steven Taylor and Micah Richards(yes i know he is now in the senior squad) are the only ones who seem to possess massive potential. James Milner is a quality winger but i do not feel he has the potential to be “World Class”.

    If England are going to win anything it needs to be with their current squad of top quality players, otherwise it seems the English fans are destined for another decade or so of disappointment

  • rich

    Sep 5, 2007 at 12:20 PM

    Comment #6

    ED !!!!

    What do you think about these stories:


    The press are now focusing on unsettling Given, it seems they think because he missed the Wigan game hes no longer our Number 1.

    The only comment of Givens that worries me is this:

    “I’m excited about playing in two massive games and getting away, I suppose, from the club”

    do you think this is the press making a mountain out of a mole hill?? or do you think Given is unsettled afte missing 1 game??

    it will really annoy me if its true that he is unsettled because Steve Harper has sat on the sidelines for the past 13 odd years and not moaned once, and Given sits out 1 game after coming back from injury and hes all over the headlines.

    Press fear-mongery or a real issue?

  • Callum

    Sep 5, 2007 at 12:31 PM

    Comment #7

    Clubs should start taking players when they’re at the age of 8 or 9 and not rely on schools as the clubs can give the kids a much greater chance then schools 🙂

  • Lamesley Mag

    Sep 5, 2007 at 12:44 PM

    Comment #8

    Several years ago, clubs playing in Europe could only play a maximum number of foreign players. If the PL and other European nations return to this ruling, it will increase the number of English players in the league.

    Until something is done, the number of English players in PL will continue to diminish, and ultimately impacting the England team….

  • Jerry

    Sep 5, 2007 at 12:48 PM

    Comment #9

    1. How many foreign players were playing in England post 1966 and before the advent of Sky Sports in the UK?

    2. Between that time how many World Cup(s) or European Cup(s) did England win?


    I rest my case!

  • Greg P

    Sep 5, 2007 at 1:11 PM

    Comment #10

    To be fair you can easily argue that the reason for this is the improving standard of football over the past 20 years, making the EPL the best league in Europe, and therefore meaning that the sort of British players coming through are improving and not being worn out. Just think about the young talent U21 in the premiership – Walcott, Bale, Barnes, Richards, Taylor, Milner, Lennon, Noble…
    Not that bad!

  • dragoner

    Sep 5, 2007 at 1:20 PM

    Comment #11

    Greg P

    Gareth Bale is Welsh lol

  • dragoner

    Sep 5, 2007 at 1:21 PM

    Comment #12

    we are talking about England right? not Britain

  • Tom_Toon

    Sep 5, 2007 at 1:28 PM

    Comment #13

    Club before country. England are pretty poor atm. Toon and Portugal fan here 🙂

  • Stevep

    Sep 5, 2007 at 1:29 PM

    Comment #14

    Lets face it, England have been pretty much crap since 1966 – to blame an influx of foreign players since 1992 for the plight of the national team is a bit rich

  • Natsirt

    Sep 5, 2007 at 1:36 PM

    Comment #15

    What do you think – is this situation being overplayed by Brooking?

    Should we restrict the number of foreign players in the Premiership?

    Should Newcastle bring more English players into their squad?

    Brooking most likely is looking for a reason to use if the England side do poor this weekend surely the reason there is a lack of English players in the premiership could be down to a lack of English managers only 8/18 are English.Foreign managers and some English managers will always bring in foreign players as they represent better valve for money eg Darren Bent 16.5 million Santa Cruz 3.5 million this is due to agents and the clubs pushing up the price of english players.

    On the idea of restricting players I’m not sure whether we could do it like Spain does since can’t players who have been there 3-5 years take spainsh citizenship thus making them an EU player while still playing for a non Eu international side eg Ronaldinho becoming a naturalized Spanish citizen in January 2007 .
    I like the idea of 5/7 of the 18 man squad being English with at least 3 of them starting the match.
    Also how bout the academies set up exchange programmes with other countries for like 6 month to a season long loan so players get experience of playing in other countries

    Concerning Nufc I feel the team has enough English players though I hope Sam and Mike Ashley supports the academy and brings through the players as they improve but atm according to the beeb we have 10 English players in the first team which I think shows that its not all doom and gloom but young players need the chance which some managers don’t give eg Arsenal, produces tons of players though most leave and go to other clubs to get first team action.

    In general I feel the club is doing very well under new management can’t remember us going 4 games unbeaten Sam has brought wisely and built a top 6 squad.Mike Ashley we were led to believe was a recluse so to see him at games with a newcastle shirt on is great,you seen any other owners with there team’s kit on ever? Chris Mort also seems to be going about his job well working with Sam.so all in all things look good for the Toon Yippee

  • Greg P

    Sep 5, 2007 at 1:39 PM

    Comment #16

    Fair point I was talking British simply for the fact that if you are talking English then during the 80’s most of the teams were full of Irish, Welsh and Scots anyway.

  • hadrian

    Sep 5, 2007 at 2:01 PM

    Comment #17

    it all means jack &*^% when we have a coach like mclaren in charge .

  • Bill F

    Sep 5, 2007 at 2:05 PM

    Comment #18

    I think what we have to appreciate is that most of the players in modern football are mercenaries and that most of the big clubs including Newcastle actively encourage and recruit them as such. No matter how we support our clubs we only want to see the best players and if they are local bred then great. I do not recall any one saying we do not want any of the current influx because they did not come up from a coal mine or shipyard or that they come from another country. It would be nice if we could follow the example of Schalke and own our team. But we have to settle for the next best and hope the owners are as commited as we are. Regardless of all this the Toon are my team and will be till I die.

  • Tommie

    Sep 5, 2007 at 2:51 PM

    Comment #19

    There is far too much fuss placed on “world class players” we need to win a competition (England)…. We need a sound, technically astute manager who can work wonders with average players, dare I say it…. E.G Big Sam!

    Look at Greece in 2004, name ONE player from that squad who was a world beater! I bet you can’t! The had a sound management and preperation, and thats all we need…. oh… and a little bit of luck!!

    Nobody else see this?!

  • dragoner

    Sep 5, 2007 at 2:58 PM

    Comment #20

    Tommie makes a good point

  • Sinead

    Sep 5, 2007 at 3:03 PM

    Comment #21

    Rich read whats actually written and read what Given actually said he just wants to know where Sam he stands. No where has he actually said he wanted to leave. Now personnaly I think that Sam doesn’t like Given, it’s not the first time I’ve said it, he seems happy enough with Harper and it’s no secret that Sam likes a big physical presence in goal. For some reason I just don’t think that Sam likes him. I don’t know why.

    Given, if he isn’t first choice at Newcastle anymore, which he deserves to be like, it doesn’t really make any sense because with all due respect to Haper Given is better. Now Harper sat on the bench and he stuck around and fair enough, but he didn’t have many offers comming in either. But Harper is not as good as Given, he knows it, the fans know it, everyone knows that so rightly Harper sat on the bench. But now for some reason he’s picking Harper ahead of Given..which like realistically is not a good call, not when Given is the better option, rewarding loyalty should only go so far. Now personally I think there’s something else there behind it I don’t know what it is but whatever it is Given doesn’t seem happy.

  • dragoner

    Sep 5, 2007 at 3:04 PM

    Comment #22

    i know this is a little off topic, but what is it like in St James’ Park? i live in London and have never been to a home game due to distance and a few other reasons

  • Tommie

    Sep 5, 2007 at 3:08 PM

    Comment #23

    Its like heaven Dragoner!!! I live in Leicester, so don’t get to many (one a season usually) and what ever game you go to see (specailly this season it seems on TV) the atmosphere is 2nd to none, the stadium is asthetically beautiful, and the whole game is brilliant!!!!

  • ende

    Sep 5, 2007 at 3:40 PM

    Comment #24

    Sinead: It could be as simple as Sam giving Shay more than enough time to recover from his groin injury… especially in light of it being recurrent.

  • Sinead

    Sep 5, 2007 at 3:47 PM

    Comment #25

    Ya it could be that. Ye all seem to think that Sam is this crystal white guy, am I the only one who thinks there’s something not quite right about him. I don’t know. Anyway It’s just typical media overexagerating things as per usual. Trying to unsettle Given, the Newcastle fans and the camp itself.

  • Craig Allen

    Sep 5, 2007 at 5:16 PM

    Comment #26

    I’d love to watch a game at St James – anyone want to sponsor me a ticket and accomodation? 😀

    I like that idea of the academy loan spell exchange. That should work well in giving the youngsters some invaluable experience. Not sure if that will help England become stronger as a I fail to believe that there are no special players (that’s all it takes really – one or two special players – and by special I mean – having the ability to make something out of nothing) coming through the ranks.

    But, I suspect it’s a bit of a player-agent issue bloated prices etc Natshirt pointed out.

    And like Tommie alluded to, football remains a team sport and with the right team spirit, management and coach, any team should be top contenders for any cup.

    And there’s that special player(s) to round off what should be a top class team.

    Add in the academy exchange as a cherry on top, and bob’s your coach!

  • Marguerite

    Sep 5, 2007 at 5:51 PM

    Comment #27

    I fully agree with Brooking and his assessment. What happened to the centre of excellence which has never got off the ground because the FA wasted so much money on Wembley? As far as I know it is all barbed wired up and gates locked with no intention of using the land.

    We cannot expect the premiership clubs’ acadamies to be the only proving ground for future English talent, their first priority has to be to the club itself. I am glad to say big Sam has voiced his concerns on this matter too.

    It goes far deeper than that and coaching should be started at primary school and the Govt should be funding this. We are light years behind Spain, Holland, France etc (look at Cesc Fabregas). Our kids are not being coached properly and are light years behind kids from the countries just mentioned. They should be coached in ball skills and to enjoy themselves from 6/7 years old.

    We cannot use money either as an excuse, just look at the amount of young players coming out of the African nations and they have far less money.

    If we are not prepared to do this then what Brooking is saying will be proven and our future England teams will find it difficult to qualify for tournaments.

  • michael

    Sep 7, 2007 at 4:12 AM

    Comment #28

    This is utter crap from TB. There are loads of English players playing top class football in England. It’s called the Championship.

    English kids are training with the best of the world all the way through, and every season 25+ English players get a chance to prove themselves at the top level as first teamers in the 3 promoted sides.

    The cream always rises to the top, like Rooney, Gerrard and Owen who come through despite competition. So what if Curtis Davies can’t get a club in the premiership, think about how hard it is for players of lesser known countries to get that experience. David Healy has scored more international goals than Dennis Law and (the immortal) Alan Shearer , in fewer games with fewer chances i might add. Yet he has only got a premiership club this year. David Nugent on the other hand is apparently worth 10 times as much! 6 million pounds, 6 bleeding million quid! What a nonsense. English players are too greedy and not worth it. They price themselves out of Premiership moves. If they aren’t committed enough to make it then they don’t deserve it. I think the championship is as good as the Premiership was ten years ago and Trevor Brooking’s comments stink of the “God given right to win” that scousers exhibit and has held Engerland back for years.

    P.S. McClown should never have got the job. Hiddink or Scolari were the only logical choices.

  • Plymtoon

    Sep 7, 2007 at 8:41 AM

    Comment #29

    Hiddink should have got the job! We would be top of our group by now. World class manager who has the guts to drop the under-performing players that have plagued us for years! And show the world the talent we have got on our shores. And have the technical and tactical know how to use them. We have a world cup in us. Noone can deny that! We just need the best to do the best. Ronald Mcdonald in charge of us now is by no means up to the job imo!


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