The squad rule was the Premier League’s answer to mounting claims that they were damaging England’s chances of success with mass foreign imports. The rule states that eight of the 25 man squad must be home-grown which means they were trained in England or Wales for three years before they were 21. In addition players under 21 do not have to be registered.
On first impressions this should help England; it means there will also be a quota of English players in any chosen squad. But this might not always be the case, as players like Cesc Fabregas count as home-grown as they were signed for Arsenal at a young age. In addition young foreign stars like Mario Balotelli do not have to be registered.
The system also gives no real incentive for these home-grown players to be given a spot in the first-team and the general consensus is that if English players are good enough, they will get their chance.
But this system does mean that fringe English players in the squad should get a chance to impress if injuries strike and hopefully one of them can go on to make the most of their opportunity and in years to come this good give the England manager a greater choice of Premier League players.
But it is in the long term where this is targeting success. The plan is that clubs will attempt to bring through more home-grown players in the future rather than buying players as they look to fill their quota.
However the system is flawed because clubs can continue to import foreign youngsters in to their academy as they will pass the home grown test. In addition it doesn’t really guarantee any English players will even make it in to their clubs first-team side.
Maybe this is where the rule should develop. A quota of eight English/Welsh players but with a minimum of two of these been used in the first-team for each match. This would encourage teams to bring through their own English youngsters.
But in the mean-time the FA and the Premier League must be praised for their effort even if it won’t have the total benefits suggested it can’t do any harm in the development of English youngsters which in turn can’t damage the England side.