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Will The 25 Man Squad Rule Help England??

Aug. 12, 2010 - 06310106 date 11 08 2010 Copyright imago BPI Steven Gerrard Celebrates His Goal with Adam Johnson of England 1 1 PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUKxFRAxNEDxESPxSWExPOLxCHNxJPN Football men National team international match London Action shot Vdig 2010 horizontal Highlight premiumd Football.

Will the new rule help England have success?


So all of the squads are in and Premier League clubs have managed to cope with the new rules on their squads. On the face of things after much debate it seems as if most sides have dealt with the rule with relative ease. But only time will tell if the rule will have its desired impact and give England a greater quota of players to chose from.

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.

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  1. Mike Green

    September 2, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    The 25 man squad rule should have nothing to do with the England team but rather making the Premier League fairer.

    What you are suggesting would help the England national side is the homegrown rule.

    These are two seperate things which the Premier League/ FA has tried to put together but in doing so making a mockery of the whole thing.

    The idea of every team having 25 players is that it makes it fairer. Clubs like Blackpool, West Brom etc can’t afford huge squads like Arsenal, Chelsea and Man United so if each team had 25 players the Premier League would become a little fairer.

    The under 21 rule though makes the 25 man rule obsolete. Arsenal, Chelsea and Man United have 50 plus under 21’s to choose from whereas Blackpool hav around 20. So what is the point of naming a 25 man squad when teams still have huge squads? A 25 man squad should have meant teams only had 25 players to choose from until January but these rules clearly do not. The new rules are worthless.

    If the Premier League and the FA are serious about youth development then put a limit on the number of foreign under 18’s at each club. Therefore each Premier League academy would have to produce a certain number of English players every couple of years.

  2. TheSoccerSage

    September 2, 2010 at 10:35 am

    I have a question for you guys. If England is awarded the 2018 World Cup, do ya’ll believe it would appreciably affect the youth numbers and quality within the country? Would national passion reverberate to such an extent that youth players and clubs alike may develop an unhinged desire to promote “England”? Being from North America, I’m familiar with Chivas’ “only Mexicans” policy… Is it unfeasible to think that a smaller English club could drum up some passion by creating an “Englishman only” policy? Or maybe even Newcastle having a “Geordie only” policy? (Though that wouldn’t provide ample talent to survive EPL)

    • Gerard H

      September 2, 2010 at 11:19 am

      Players need to promote themselves as well, why sit on the bench when they could go get more action and improve in Belgium/Holland/Switzerland/Germany?

      England may need to host a tournament to have the time to build a team that can win and be united, that is maybe the only way you can cast off the likes of Terry-Gerrard-Lampard permamently. Brazil have culled their stars like Lucio-Cesar-Gilberto as they build for 2014.

      It’s the same way Germany was able to build a team we see today since 2004, the likes of Lahm, Mertesacker-Podolski arrived at 2006 World Cup with nearly 25 caps, by Euro 2008 it was 50 caps, 2010 70 caps, 2012 100 caps etc. How will the likes of Wilshere/Gibbs/Milner(don’t rate him) get to such numbers quickly without being tested out? They won’t, and hence against big teams, they will be found out.

      • Paul

        September 2, 2010 at 12:10 pm

        Completely agree here. English players seem to think that England is best for them. Several of the best countries in the world don’t have top flight leagues so their players value first team playing time over the clubs name. Argentines, Brazilians and Dutch players don’t try to secure a move to their dream club if it means sitting the bench. Even Spanish, German and Italian players seem more willing to move around the globe for the best opportunities while I can’t seem to think of one Englishman playing outside of Great Britain other than David Beckham.

        • Aaron

          September 2, 2010 at 2:12 pm

          This rule is probably hurting the England National Team rather than helping it. Most traditionally powerful national teams have players that play in multiple leagues. All English players play in England.

    • The Gaffer

      September 2, 2010 at 2:01 pm

      Good questions, but I don’t think any top club would go “English only” because there isn’t enough decent talent and English players are usually a lot more expensive to buy than foreign players.

      The Gaffer

      • Scott Alexander

        September 2, 2010 at 4:12 pm

        And this rule makes English players even more expensive

      • Gerard H

        September 2, 2010 at 5:08 pm

        However there is no excuse for London clubs, access to a population of over 8 million, so at the very least 500k youngsters to coach. Again, look at Germany, at Bayern, there are 6 players from Munich from their academy in the starting lineup (lahm, badstuber, contento, schweinsteiger, kroos, muller), where is the equivalent at Chelsea or Arsenal or Spurs? The coaching just isn’t good enough.

        • Paul

          September 2, 2010 at 10:41 pm

          I think that the issue is that you need to get past City to make the top 4 and Chelsea to make the title, and neither of those teams are going to field youngsters. Therefore there is a feeling of not wanting to take a risk on young players because the Champions League spots are so valuable any game where you try an unknown could be 2-3 points dropped. In Germany there is more parity and Munich is competitive even with a younger squad.

  3. icebreaker

    September 2, 2010 at 4:32 am

    I think that the big problem in England has been the unwillingness to cooperate between the FA and the Premier League. In Germany the clubs really came aboard with the youth program when the television deal collapsed in 2002. Suddenly the clubs had no money for transfers anymore- one coach said that it was like an 18 month transfer embargo- and most of the good foreign players had to be sold, so the clubs had to use their academy players.

    This new rule at least shows that the FA and the EPL are willing to try and chance the infrastructure, so its a positive sign. Also, English youth players are actually doing very well in the tournaments, its the step- up when they’re between 19- 23 years old that currently seems to be missing a bit, and which needs a change of mentality among some of the clubs coaches.

  4. Scott Alexander

    September 1, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    “it can’t do any harm in the development of English youngsters which in turn can’t damage the England side.”

    I don’t think so. In the long run, the new rules encourage rich clubs to stockpile youth players from across the globe and without revision will actually will cut the opportunities for English/Welsh youth to develop in the academies that are actually now starting to develop top talent and get away from so much of the notoriously bad instruction for English youth. On the other hand, the rule might be good for the long term financial interests of the clubs by developing less expensive high end talents but that benefit should probably be mitigated by bidding wars over the next Robinho or the next Essien. Far more helpful would be budget instructions to focus on youth development, an encouragement of clubs to loan out their English prospects to clubs across Europe where they would get competitive matches, diversified instruction, and the personal benefits of living abroad.

  5. Gerard H

    September 1, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    As a German, I must say that this 25 man rule will not help too much. What for me is important, the clubs should not be forced, but be compelled internally by themselves to form their own players. It doesn’t help that you have corporate structures that run your clubs, but clubs should see the benefits of forming their own players.

    In Germany, we spend €80m between 18 clubs on developing our youths, and every match day in the Bundesliga, we have players coming through, not just as substitutes, but as key protagonists in their teams. Names like Herrmann last week scored twice vs Leverkusen, he is 19 and has nearly 20 Bundesliga games, how many get that chance in England?

    In England, there is no benefit of bringing through youths, you buy from other clubs to save on the transfer fee. In Germany, bringing our youths through saves money but also makes the players more attached to the team.

    Probably more importantly, the mentality of the game in England and coaching is just wrong. In Germany, we produce players that are coached in how to win matches through technique, in England, you teach them not to lose first through physique. Look at coaches like Allardyce, Coyle, O’Neil, etc, coaches who preach physique high tempo and route 1 football, in Germany, we have young innovative coaches with new brave ideas and never play for draws, they play to win even the big games.

    Hence why the players outside Bayern are of high quality and ability, outside Arsenal-Utd-Chelsea-Liverpool, the players have the wrong mentality and ability.

    • Rob McCluskey

      September 1, 2010 at 8:55 pm

      It’s hard to argue against the set up of the bundesliga, it really is a role model for how leagues should be set out, finances, mentallity and production of youth.

      clubs should be encouraged more to produce more, it’s true that there is a real mentality against bringing in unknown English talent.

      Clubs in England have spent lavish amounts and worked up huge debt to bring in players from all four corners of the Earth, it means youngsters aren’t given a chance and there is a lack of depth in the squad. It also propells the players at the top like Gerrard, Terry and Lampard etc to have an ego when they play for their country as they feel untouchable and are given God like statuses despite not actually achieving anything for their country.

      I would like to see a rule that would alter match day squads, so that a certain amount of English players must be in the 18 on the day.

      Also, players can’t be unregistered can they, so does this mean that emergancy loans are no longer given? Look at Man City last season when they got Fulop in, the next line who is in the youth side should get that shot.

      • Patrico

        September 2, 2010 at 10:31 am

        In order to alter the match day squads as you suggest, England would need to drop out of the European Union, as Paul explained above. Seems unlikely.

        And I’m not sure the rule you suggest would have any benefit to the national team. Guys like Walcott, Wright-Phillips and Adam Johnson might have benefited from a bit more playing time last season, but they were always in the 18-man squads. You can add Ben Foster to that list. Anybody who needs regulatory assistance to make the 18-man squad is not really national team-caliber. At the end of the day, you can’t regulate playing time, and you can’t regulate based on English nationality in the EU, so I don’t think anything can be done on a regulatory front that would actually help the England national team.

        Luckily for England, this whole business is an over-reaction. Premier League teams had a poor season in Champions League last year, after being 3/4 of the semi-finalists the year before, and then the England team looked mediocre in the World Cup. Is that such a huge surprise? Right now, England just happens to have many good players but few _great_ players. And in World Cup 2010, their great players were not in great form. Bad timing.

        The clubs are still bringing up talent, and more focus on youth development would be smarter — even for the top 3 and Manchester City — but why does that need to be legislated?

        The gaps here are not big, and the fitness of one or two players can make all the difference. Take one player off of Spain, Germany or Uruguay in 2010 (Villa, Schweinsteiger, Forlan) and they wouldn’t have made it out of the group stage. I will not be surprised if England wins in 2012 if Joe Hart, Rooney and Milner are in top form that summer.

        • Gerard H

          September 2, 2010 at 11:13 am

          Patricio, I think you make a mistake saying take 1 player off the big teams and they will not make the group stage.

          Did you count how many players Germany lost to injury/politics before the World Cup and still had a deep enough pool of talent? Enke, Adler, Westermann, Rolfes, Ballack, Frings, Kuranyi, Traesch being the biggest names. Even if Schweinsteiger wasn’t there, I’m sure Germany would have found someone to plug the gap like Hummels/Gentner/Hitzlesperger and they would have continued on. Imagine if England lost Rooney/Gerrard, we saw how bad their defence was missing Ferdinand.

          Again, big call to even presume England can challenge in Euro 2012, even with Rooney-Hart-Milner(really??). They haven’t challenged or threatened to do anything for a very long time, and you need to factor in, come Euro 2012, Germany could have 4 players under 30 with over 100 caps, and many under 25 with close to 50caps. Same will apply to Spain, both teams have settled units that have performed, England don’t.

          As for clubs choosing youths, again, with corporates running the clubs, what incentives is there for them to do that? Why should Man City owners have a feeling of seeing a local guy emerge and then help the national team? They don’t fully embrace those emotions. In Germany, many of the sporting directors and coaches are local, played for those clubs, and understand to bring through youngsters, if not from their own academy, then German bred (Bremen for instance that nabbed Ozil-Marin-Klose etc). You don’t see Wenger raiding English youth teams to get their players and then play them, Wilshere will take 2-3 years to be a fixture in this team, in 2-3 years, a German kid the same age at a similar club will have played 70% of the teams matches from the start (Contento-Badstuber at Bayern).

          • Patrico

            September 2, 2010 at 12:06 pm

            Sorry, I didn’t mean to impugn the German team! ! Another way to look at one player making a huge difference – if Mueller had played against Spain, which he should have been allowed to, that would have been a very different match.

            But don’t forget how close Germany and Spain came from being knocked out of their groups….. I watched Germany-Ghana with several German friends, and they were very nervous before the match, after the loss to Serbia. One guy is a huge Werder Bremen supporter, and he insisted you could not trust Ozil or Marin. Another guy said, “If Badstuber plays, they might as well get on the plane now.” And they all thought it was a disaster that Khedira was playing.

            So England do not have a monopoly on pessimism.

            On clubs choosing youths, I would not rely on local emotions, but on the clubs’ desire to win and to manage costs, along with creating excitement among the fanbase. You mention Wenger. Most of Arsenal’s best players have come up naturally, not bought with huge transfer fees. That’s how they do business. They certainly don’t seem to prefer English players, but other clubs might do well by following Arsenal’s blueprint except focusing specifically on English talent.

            I don’t see how any EU-compliant regulation would change any of that.

  6. TheSoccerSage

    September 1, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    I don’t think the rule is strong enough to have any measurable effect on the England senior squad. With that said, I think the quality of the Premier League — with much praise to foreign talents — provides the ideal environment to create world class players. I think some of the blame must be placed on the extraordinary pressures lumped upon the Three Lions by the media and general public. Some of the more prominent Englishmen in the Premier League happen to be disproportionately famous due to their nationality. Much of that has to do with the local populous being familiar with players from a young age.

    • Sir Guy

      September 1, 2010 at 9:03 pm

      Great comment. Right to the heart of what I was trying to get at in my article the other day. Older, “famous” Englishmen keep getting capped because….well, they’ve been capped before and they are who they are on their clubs. Unfortunately, that does not mean they will necessarily mold together into the best team for England.

      It will take an extraordinary coach with vision and, most of all, guts to break England out of the straight jacket they have worked themselves into.

      As for the rule, I give you Arsenal’s “Home-grown”:

      Bendtner, Nicklas
      Clichy, Gael
      Denilson, Pereka Neves
      Djourou-Gbadjere, Johan Danon
      Fabregas Soler, Francesc
      Mannone, Vito
      Song Bilong, Alexandre Dimitri

      Clubs will easily find ways to fudge around it and I don’t see it having any appreciable effect in terms of English players getting more opportunities. Finally, as Paul said above, EU laws make it impossible to become any more restrictive in setting quotas for English players.

      Others have said it, but it bears repeating. If they’re good enough they’ll play. Would you really want it any other way?

  7. Paul

    September 1, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    The reason for the weaker “home grown” language instead of requiring English citizenship is because England is part of the EU. This means that England has to obey the EU has right to work laws that specifically says “Every citizen of the Union has the freedom to seek employment, to work, to exercise the right of establishment and to provide services in any Member State.” Therefore, rules forbidding players with EU passports because of their nationality are strictly forbidden. This is why, for example, Spain has the five non-EU players rules (which doesn’t violate EU rules). The England 25 man rule is very close to violating this principal. I would like to see one of the more international clubs challenge the rule on a ‘Right to Work’ basis. I forget where, but I believe one of the European leagues has had a citizenship based squad rule overturned by the European courts.

    • Paul

      September 1, 2010 at 7:50 pm

      I actually did some research, and the nationality restrictions were struck down by the European Court of Justice as part of the Bosman ruling.

      • Chris

        September 2, 2010 at 10:39 am

        No players will be able to challenge this because all the clubs agreed to the 25 man squads. It’s up to the teams who they select for these squads and players can’t force their way into them using legislation.

        But what maybe damaging for the clubs is that players not selected may argue that the club is in breach of contract and that the remainder of the contract be paid out and released.

        This is already the case of Nigerian international Danny Shittu at Bolton. He had 12 months left on his contract and the club has decided to pay him the remainder of his contract and release him. ( )

  8. Rob McCluskey

    September 1, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    It’s alright to say it from an outsiders view, but in the eyes of English people they want to see more English players playing in the league.

    Even then, this rule is pretty weak in achieving this compared to other countries, only 8 out of 25 and even then they don’t have to be English. The FA should make tougher measures to make it so that English players are more of a requirement. There should be rules to say more English players need to be in the 25 man squad.

  9. James Beckett

    September 1, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    The problem is as much as people don’t want to admit the Premier League have a responsibilty to help the FA and the England team. The rule isn’t going to see a poorer standard of player coming in from abroad if anything it will mean teams look to bring in only the best outside the league.

    Ask any fan what they would rather see, an average player from abroard or a local lad giving his all for the team. The rule can only help the league imo.

    • Phenoum

      September 1, 2010 at 5:54 pm

      “A local lad giving his all for the team” hasn’t helped the England team yet has it? In fact – England’s had plenty of quality players through the years. The problem is that they suck at playing together, and walk into a tourney thinking they should win games because they’re “good” and get “paid” so much. Once the England players get their heads out of their arses you’ll see a change. And in fact – it seems that season is already nearing. Old farts are seen as such, and new young talents that have blossomed (without any forced spots in their clubs i might add) are emerging.

  10. Phenoum

    September 1, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    This rule is a load of crap.

    Hey FA – you’re damaging your league’s place as the premier (pun intended) league in the world. You attract millions of $ in revenue from TV deals, and are now trying to “force” amazing clubs and managers into bringing through crap brit players? IF they’re good enough they’ll play. If they suck, well then you wont want them for England will you?

    And one final thought – This rule is a load of crap.

  11. vermaelen5

    September 1, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    So, the English national team sucks, and that makes it OK for the league to do this to its teams?

    • Gaz Hunt

      September 2, 2010 at 2:01 pm

      Yup – it’s an English league and is managed by the English Football Association.

      A lot of other countries already have rules like this in place and if they don’t it is because it is not an issue in the respective country.

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