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November 15, 2007



Oh, what a load of nonsense.

Foreign players crowd-out young and developing English players who require first team experience to progress to the next level.

Swamping the Premiership with Africans and Brazilians is going to atrophy young Welsh, English, and Scottish talent.

You need to achieve a sensible balance between homegrown and foreign-born players.

Luis Enrique

"They are indeed to blame - they are better than us."


Igor Belanov

Yes, it is rubbish.

The main reason for so many foreign players is the sheer amount of money washing round the Premier League, and it's highly unequal spread. Clubs amass huge squads with expensive star players and where Englishmen are frequently mere squad or fill-in players. Other clubs at the bottom, perennial relegation candidates or newly promoted sides, are extremely short-term and buy up experienced second-class foreigners as opposed to encouraging local talent. Many young Englishmen are poached by big clubs only to languish in the reserves or on the bench, such as Walcott and Wright-Phillips.

And there must be loads of Hertfordshire lads with talent who would love to play for Arsenal.

Bob B

Isn't all this more a case of "lucrative British jobs for indigenous British players," as Gordon Brown might have put it?

"The average Premiership footballer earns a basic salary of £676,000, according to a survey published today. The survey, conducted by The Independent in conjunction with players' union PFA, puts the average top flight player on £13,000 a week - but that figure rises by anything between 60 and 100% when bonuses are factored in."


Mike - come off it. If there were loads of talented young English players being kept out of Premiership teams by foreigners, the excess supply of young English players would lead to low prices, and they'd be snapped up by ambitious clubs. But this is not the case. First, any decent English player commands huge transfer fees (£16.5m for Darren Bent), suggesting English talent is scarce. Second, there are few if any lower league clubs who are doing really well and playing good football by using only promising English youngsters.


Quite right. A successful business has been built up in the private market and now the government et al want to get in a start fiddling.

The only solution is to train english kids to be as good as their foreign counterparts from a young age. oddly enough the FA scrapped the plan for its national training scheme in Burton.

This is a classic example of people targeting the sypmtoms rather than causes...


The huge outflow of talented English teenagers to Italy and Spain suggests that English clubs are short-sighted? Maybe not.

Igor Belanov

Oh, and the English national team isn't that bad. Remember, they have won their last 3 home competitive matches 3-0, and two of the teams they beat were Russia and Israel, not exactly minnows. No country has a divine right to be in every international finals, and England still have a chance.

Mark Wadsworth

Totally agreed.


Yet because English players are already priced at a premium the English team is probably one of the most expensive in the world. I assume this is largely marketing: a Beckman will have more financial value than an ugly one-legged Lithuania player, even if they are of the same footballing standard. Which has given me a thought: do the better looking players demand higher transfer payments/salary?


"Oh, and the English national team isn't that bad."

Quite right. For a medium-sized country to get to the 1/4 finals of the last three major tournaments in a sport which nigh on every country in the world now plays seriously is a damn good record.

All this quota stuff is wrong, and dangerous.


I am afraid your Sports Minister has given a lousy (but politically wonderful) idea to politicians in search of headlines in other countries. I am sure someone here will pick it up eventually.

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Mike Woodhouse

I agree with the loadsamoney proposition - when the English Premier League is the richest in the world then it's going to be a magnet for the best players. And the pressure to deliver will maintain the practice of buying rather than building.

But English players will continue to be developed, it's just that many more will start in the Football League and the best of them will be sucked into the money vortex as they prove themselves worthwhile.

I'd suggest that the second tier of English players (or those who are later developers) will need to be prepared to move abroad to get themselves into the shop window. There's no reason within Europe why they shouldn't - mobility applies in both directions, after all.

Igor Belanov

I suppose you have to recognise that Britain has an extraordinarily large amount of professional football clubs, reaching well into non-league football these days. So there's still plenty of employment for English footballers, just not always at the top level.

One of the problems is the media, again! They hype up the Premier League and the performances of its top clubs in Europe, but at the same time are overly critical of the English national team and expect wonders. A similar effect exists in cricket. If England lose a series then it's overseas and Kolpak players to blame. When England won the 2005 Ashes all these factors were totally forgotten.

Ken Houghton

We'll take your castoffs and let them train here for good money (if a rather dodgy FX exposure).

Just send us more like Landon Donovan and less like that Roberto Carlos knockoff with the idiot wife.

dave heasman

" Which has given me a thought: do the better looking players demand higher transfer payments/salary? "

Yes. And they get it. Fabregas isn't hugely beter than Scholes, in fact they're quite similar aren't they, but he's cute. More dosh to Cesc.

The other question is - why don't Premier League teams have English kids in their acadamies? That's where the problem really lives.

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