Football

Champions League features a worrying lack of English stars

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Despite the involvement of four Premier League clubs in the last 16 of the Champions league, only a few English players have turned out for their respective clubs.

Manchester City's clash with Bayern Munich saw only one English player start the match. That man was England goalkeeper Joe Hart in front of a stadium in Manchester full of 40,000 England fans.

Barcelona, in stark contrast, started with seven Spaniards - all of whom are arguably world-class in their position, with another five on the bench. Add David Silva, Alvaro Negredo and Jesus Navas into the equation and around half of the pitch consisted of Spanish internationals. 

Even the presence of Argentinians dwarfed that of Englishmen, with Barcelona's Lionel Messi facing compatriots Pablo Zabaleta and Martin Demichelis (until the latter decided to incur the wrath of City fans everywhere by getting himself sent off). 

Demichelis' dismissal prompted the arrival of English defender Joleon Lescott. Once a star centre-back for club and country, he is very much on the fringe of things and expected to leave the club in the summer.

Meanwhile, Spain's top club embrace their domestic players, with six Spaniards out on display for Atletico Madrid against AC Milan - seven if you include the adopted Diego Costa.

But this is an argument of quality as well as quantity. The German core of Bayern Munich's team won them their match against Arsenal last night.

Manuel Neuer stopped a penalty, Toni Kroos and Thomas Muller got the goals and Philipp Lahm popped up with two assists. Had he been fit, Bastien Schwienstieger would no doubt have played a part.

Kieran Gibbs, meanwhile, got injured early on, while Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were largely ineffective throughout.

The lack of a sufficient talent pool, coupled with the gross inflation in price of English players, means few are willing to purchase them, both home and abroad.

Of course, we should feel privileged that some of the world's best players have graced our league each week, regardless of their origin.

Fewer and fewer Englishmen are present at the upper echelons of the Premier League, particularly within the Champions League clubs.

The Football Association have worked hard to improve the number and standard of domestic players making their way through the ranks. But these two Champions League fixtures are a damning indictment to the work still to be undertaken by this country's governing body.

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Topics:
Premier League
UEFA Champions League
Football

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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