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 Brooking – English 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 Â£333M in 2006 to Â£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 â€“ 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?â€
“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?