With Walcott Axed, Zero Arsenal Players in English Team

Sports News - May 30, 2010

Perhaps this is a frivolous post, but with Theo Walcott shockingly omitted from Fabio Capello’s World Cup squad, the England national team are left with ZERO players from Arsenal traveling to South Africa.

Sure, Arsenal FC will be well-represented in this year’s tournament: William Gallas (France), Robin van Persie (Holland), Niklas Bendtner (Denmark), Cesc Fabregas (Spain) to name a few. But I find it not only disheartening that none of the English squad are Gunners, but an indictment on Arsene Wenger’s questionable personnel decisions.

Let me point out that I am American, and perhaps it is not my place to speculate on the feelings of the average English football fan, but on those Champions League nights where the Gunners take to the pitch and there is zero English representation, it just doesn’t sit right with me. It is just as Internazionale’s European title with zero Italian representation seemed ridiculous (although Internazionale’s name and identity stem from seceding from AC Milan and being one of football’s first clubs to target international players, but I digress).

Admittedly, we live in a different football world than even just 15 years ago. It is a global transfer market, a business based not on national identity but on money and winning trophies. So I am under no delusion that Wenger’s seeming refusal to play English players is tantamount to blasphemy. The game, and Premier League in particular, is littered with international players playing on foreign clubs. Chelsea have just four English regulars, Man United four or five, and Liverpool just three.

But I believe in ‘home-grown’ quotas and domestic player requirements, because without imposing such rules, domestic leagues will lose any semblance of identity. It is borderline absurd that one could conceivably watch an Arsenal – Inter European Cup tie and see zero English players and zero Italian players. A club in a UEFA competition should be representing a certain country, not just the league in which that club plays. Call me old-fashioned or naive, or both, but I want to see English players playing for their English clubs on European nights.

Arsenal 2009-10

Certainly making the big leagues more cosmopolitan has incredible positives, like making the game and clubs more ‘accessible’ to different nationalities across the globe, helping Americans to Ghanaians identify with a team because one of their own plays for that club. This helps grow the game worldwide.

But limits have to be established. Domestic fans need players to identify with, and like it or not, an English fan will identify with a Frank Lampard or a Steven Gerrard more than an Emmanuel Adebayor or a Tomas Rosicky.

The reason I single out Arsenal is because I feel it is inexcusable for a club of Arsenal’s enormous stature to field no English players, and to send zero to the World Cup. It is disheartening and discouraging.

Arsenal are a proud club, a good club that handles their business in a good manner. But Wenger should be called out on his reluctance to field English players, because he manages in the English Premier League and should understand that English players must be involved in his vision for the club. When he came to North London, the likes of David Seaman, Tony Adams, Nigel Winterburn, Lee Dixon, David Platt, Ian Wright and Ray Parlour were in the side that won the Premier League in 1998.

That English spine has been steadily chipped away to near nonexistence. Besides, it is not as if Arsenal have been successful in recent years. Perhaps a rethink is due.

Jack Wilshere Arsenal 2009/10

Hopefully the likes of Jack Wilshere, Kieran Gibbs and Theo Walcott can actually get a fair shake from their French manager in the near future, because an Arsenal team with no English representation and an England national team with no Arsenal representation is good for no one.

How do Arsenal fans feel about having no players in the England team? Is it a non-issue, or does it rub you the wrong way?

Leave your comments below.

62 Comments

  1. Bishopville Red June 1, 2010
    • bob October 13, 2010
  2. Patrick Dresslar June 1, 2010
  3. Jordan Acker June 1, 2010
  4. Rhys June 1, 2010
  5. PTangYangKipperBang June 1, 2010
  6. Lamby June 1, 2010
    • Bishopville Red June 1, 2010
    • rags June 18, 2010
  7. hetbook June 1, 2010
  8. McBride June 1, 2010
  9. Patrick Dresslar June 1, 2010
    • McBride June 1, 2010
  10. brn442 June 1, 2010
    • nick June 2, 2010
  11. moe June 1, 2010
    • Patrick June 2, 2010
      • Mike June 2, 2010
  12. Corey Bingham June 1, 2010
    • Chris Long June 2, 2010
      • Scott Alexander June 2, 2010
  13. Corey Bingham June 1, 2010
  14. Patrick Dresslar June 1, 2010
    • Paul Bestall June 2, 2010
  15. Quinn June 1, 2010
  16. Leo June 1, 2010
  17. Patrick Dresslar June 1, 2010
    • cheese June 2, 2010
      • Patrick Dresslar June 2, 2010
        • JL February 14, 2011
          • nathan July 17, 2012
  18. Megunner June 1, 2010
  19. Jake Islas June 1, 2010
  20. ash June 1, 2010
    • JL February 14, 2011
  21. Dave June 1, 2010
  22. Goon June 2, 2010
  23. Sue June 2, 2010
  24. Ortho Stice June 2, 2010
    • JL February 14, 2011
  25. Cord4Gooner June 2, 2010
  26. me June 2, 2010
  27. erik the viking June 2, 2010
    • rags June 18, 2010
  28. jm June 2, 2010
  29. tonyspeed June 2, 2010
  30. Scott Alexander June 2, 2010
    • Rhys June 2, 2010
  31. Stephen Feehily June 2, 2010
  32. Hoodoo June 2, 2010
    • JL February 14, 2011
  33. dawit June 2, 2010
  34. Eious June 2, 2010
    • Scott Alexander June 2, 2010
    • JL February 14, 2011
  35. shwan June 3, 2010
    • Feehily June 3, 2010
  36. ish June 3, 2010
  37. chris June 4, 2010
  38. alex June 5, 2010
  39. Ray July 27, 2010
  40. Felipe December 27, 2010

Leave a Reply