The pool of English players in the Premier League has dropped by 16% since the 1998/99 season, according to Sky Sports.
This decrease backs up the claim of current England manager Roy Hodgson that he is having to pick from an ever dwindling pool of talent.
Although Premier League clubs spent a record breaking £624million on player transfers, only 10% of that investment was on English players.
There is no doubt a fear amongst English pundits and fans that the number of English players at top clubs will continue to decline and cripple the progress of the England national team.
In the past, when there was more top English talent, there were great players that never got the chance to make an impact on the international stage. For example – Matt Le Tissier and Steve Bruce. The fact that Stewart Downing has more caps than “Le Tiss” is just insane.
Former England manager Glenn Hoddle believes that a quota system is the way forward:
“The England manager’s job is a hard job as it is and it’s going to get harder and harder unless we readdress it with a rule change.
“You’ll get challenged from courts in Europe but for our English team to be successful we have to do something.”
In comparison to other major leagues, England’s top clubs are not doing enough to give English players a platform to build from for the national team.
For example, looking a few top clubs from the Premier League, Arsenal have four English players in their squad, while Manchester City have five and their city rivals United lead the way with eight. But when you look at the top clubs in the Bundesliga, it is a different story. The current European champions Bayern Munich have a total of 13 German players, while the much admired Borussia Dortmund have 12 and early high-flyers Bayer Leverkusen have the same number.
The Bundesliga is an impressive example to follow. There is very little debt at any of their clubs. The majority of German players want to stay in the Bundesliga. And out of the 18 clubs that are competing this year, 13 have German coaches. Whereas, the Premier League currently has four English managers out of twenty teams.
In Spain, although the clubs are not as financially sound, there is still a big focus on promoting home grown players and giving young Spanish managers the chance to flourish. Out of the twenty clubs, there are fourteen that have Spanish managers.
Three of La Liga’s top teams contain plenty of Spanish talent. Carlo Ancelotti’s movements in the transfer window were very interesting, outside the signing of Real’s latest ‘Galatico’ (Bale), Madrid bought young and Spanish. Los Blancos now boast 12 Spanish players. Rivals Barcelona are well known for promoting players from their La Masia academy and their ‘B’ team. The Catalans now have a staggering 15 Spanish players and Champions League qualifiers Real Sociedad have 14 in their squad.
The contrast is unbelievable and it shows once again England, as a footballing nation are miles behind Spain and Germany. It is going to take a lot longer than the four year tenure of new FA Chairman Greg Dyke to turn things around.