Way back in 1992, when the English Premier League was formed, it was a platform for the top clubs to compete against the best in the country, whilst also taking advantage of the lucrative TV deal.
Apart from that, it was also supposed to act as a breeding ground for talented English players who would go onto represent the Three Lions.
But right now there is nothing English about the Premier League, which is why the current name “Barclays Premier League”, seems like a very apt one indeed, for a league that is brimming with bucket loads of cash but not much British talent.
Back when the Premier League started, over 73% or more than two-third of the players playing in the league were English.
But the start of the current season, marked an all-time low for the Premier League with little under 34 % (74) or one-third of the 220 players eligible to play for the national side.
In little over two decades, the number of English players has come down by about 40%, which goes a long way towards explaining the sorry state of affairs of the national team. After all, if the English players aren’t given a chance in their own country, then where else would they?
Whilst the last team to field an all English XI was Coventry back in 1992, Chelsea became the first team to field an XI bereft of any Englishmen, around the turn of the millennium. And ever since then, most clubs have looking at inexpensive foreign imports rather than given the young Englishmen a chance.
Whilst the reason for that might be the cut-throat nature of modern day results oriented football, it still doesn’t explain why the number isn’t even close to the other major European leagues like the Serie A or Ligue 1 or La Liga, which all have over 50% of their players being eligible for the respective national teams.
During the opening round of Premier League fixtures, Norwich City were the only team to have more than half their XI comprising of Englishmen, with six players. Even that is still down from last year’s nine who started the opening day defeat to Fulham. Whilst on the other end of the scale, S Taylor was the only Englishmen in the Newcastle lineup which consisted of five Frenchmen.
And an even more worrying trend has the fact none of the top eight clubs from last season's Premier League table from Manchester United down to West Brom have signed an English player for a transfer fee so far.
Whilst close to £420m has been spent on players by the Premier League clubs, only one-sixth of that or around £60m has been on English players. And as long as young Englishmen are overlooked in favour of foreigners, the national team is likely to struggle for the foreseeable future.
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