The Ever Diminishing Pool of English Talent

The task facing Roy Hodgson as England manager seems to be a tough one. Only 2 of the 41 summer signings made by the top 7 clubs from last season are eligible to play for England, those players are Gareth Barry, now of Everton and Tiago Illori, the London-born Portuguese under 21 international who made the move from Sporting Lisbon to Liverpool. It’s clear to see that the pool of talent in this country is dwindling and it doesn’t bode well for England considering that the likes of Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole will all need replacing soon after the World Cup next year. The percentage of English players in the Premier League has fallen from 48% to 32% in the last 15 years which just goes to show what a difficult task Roy Hodgson has ahead of him.

A reason for this is that managers in the Premier League are under such high pressure these days that they need instant success and they don’t necessarily have the time to develop young home-grown players as the average job expectancy for Premier League managers is only 10 months. Instead, with the increase of foreign owners, brings in foreign managers who will then buy foreign players who they are familiar with, rather than bringing in English players. For English football to be successful, a change in the rules could be crucial and a quota system which requires a certain number of English players in a match day squad could lead to more English players becoming more accomplished and in turn, help improve our national team. A similar system was employed in Italy after they realised that the money coming in to the country was harming their young players and a quota system is still in place now to ensure that as many Italian players are playing in the top league as possible.

In the transfer window just gone, maybe only Nathan Redmond and Jonjo Shelvey have moved to other Premier League clubs and seen regular first team football. We do have good young English players in the shape of Luke Shaw, Kieran Gibbs, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jack Wilshere, Ravel Morrison, Ross Barkely etc. but it isn’t enough and some of these players are struggling to find a regular place in their club sides due to the quality their sides now posses. The signing of Mesut Ozil for Arsenal isn’t likely to help Jack Wilshere nail down a regular place and the same applies to Chamberlain when he returns from injury, which will worry Roy Hodgson and make his team selections even tougher, which I’ve mentioned before.

Having just a few good young players playing in the Premier League isn’t enough, we need a squad full of very good players which the likes of Spain do and only when that happens we can go and challenge with those countries in the major tournament. Despite England looking in pole position to qualify for the World Cup finals in Brazil next year the pool of English players is diminishing at a rapid rate and the next few years could be worrying for English football unless the rules in the Premier League change regarding the amount of foreign players allowed in match day squads.

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