A debate which has ravaged English football since the creation of the Premier League in 1992: are there enough English players plying their trade in this country?
The view of every TV pundit seems to be that there are not, and quotas need to be imposed on the number of non-English players in a squad.
I will admit that not enough of the young talent gets a chance on the big stage when they often deserve to, however personally I see a different approach in terms of combatting it.
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Learn it overseas
I think that the best way for our young players to develop is to allow them to travel abroad and learn the game from a different perspective. We often complain that there aren’t enough English players in the premier league, but 22 of the 23 players that England took to the World Cup were playing for top flight clubs and the only exception (Fraser Foster – Celtic) moved to Southampton that summer.
Only Russia took players entirely from their own country, and champions Germany had seven players from foreign clubs. Giving players a chance to learn the game from a different angle could benefit our national side in years to come.
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Sending them abroad: cruel or genius?
Of course there will be problems if a youngster has to try and adapt to life in a new country, there is every chance he will be homesick, have trouble with a language and may not like the new food.
I have to say if you plan to buy a youngster who does not speak the tongue it would be prudent to help them get a house, lessons in the language etc. This is something AC Milan have done for years which has meant foreign players settled there with relative ease.
At the same time, learning to play football abroad is in many ways a privilege lots of British footballers simply do not get, and should be grasped at by anyone who has the chance.
The Ryan Gauld tale
A Scottish youngster hailed as the new Messi, the former Dundee United starlet moved to Sporting Club at the age of just 18 to try and advance his career further in the Portuguese capital.
He has since come on leaps and bounds, featuring twice for the first team and scoring as many goals. He is now on the fringes of the Scottish national team and could become one of the country’s greatest ever players if he continues to progress at the speed he is now.
This goes to show how much players can benefit from playing abroad, and they’re often better off learning to play abroad in order to advance their own game by learning from other cultures.
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