Since its launch in 1992, the Premier League has undeniably become a global phenomenon. As the status and prestige of English top-flight football has continued to escalate at a scarcely believable rate, the number of homegrown players plying their trade in world football's most lucrative league has alarmingly dropped.
According to The Guardian, during this weekend's opening fixtures, just 74 English players featured in the squads of the 20 Premier League teams. Such a figure represents a concerning decline compared to the 177 homegrown players who featured on the first day of the 1992/93 campaign.
As the influence of the league has grown across the world, clubs have increasingly prioritised the quick-fix of importing foreign footballers over the development of their own local players or the purchasing of often overpriced domestic talent . As a direct result of this, the talent pool available to England managers has gradually decreased and the national team currently find themselves at somewhat of a crossroads.
As one 'golden generation' reaches the end of the road, Roy Hodgson appears to be massively struggling to find adequate replacements to ensure that the Three Lions are able to continue to pose a credible and legitimate threat on the international stage.
In a lengthy interview with the same newspaper last week, England coach and hugely respected pundit Gary Neville advocated his desire to see the Premier League introduce a quota system in which managers are obligated to include a fixed number of homegrown players within their matchday squads.
Such a rule would effectively limit the number of foreign players permitted to showcase their talent in the Premier League and, as such, could be labelled by some as a dangerously xenophobic and archaic precedent that has no place within the modern world - let alone modern football.
Ignoring those concerns for one moment, ultimately, if a quota system were to be successfully introduced, it would initially have to see all parties reach a shared acceptance that in order to for it to work in the long-term, the quality of the Premier League may suffer in the shorter-term as a result.
This is largely due to the glaring inefficiencies that have been identified throughout the youth coaching system in this country. A quota of this ilk could realistically result in the inclusion of a number of young players who are ill-equipped and underprepared for the rigours of Premier League football, which in turn would obviously have a detrimental impact on the level of football on display. Surely it is very unlikely that the profit-hungry bigwigs in charge of the top-flight would allow such a thing to happen?
While the idea of a strict quota system may prove ultimately too radical and problematic to successfully implement, it is nevertheless abundantly clear that something needs to be done quickly to effectively safeguard the future integrity of the England national team. The current trend must be firmly halted. And fast.
Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: http://gms.to/130seMa
DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeFootball Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeFootball.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeFootball.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.