English players should follow in footsteps of Ashley Cole

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Since England's dismal showing in Brazil there has been a lot of talk about the excessive amount of foreign players in the Premier League, preventing British talent from reaching its full potential.

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I have agreed with this stance for a long time, being particularly irked by the swathes of average foreigners who could easily be replaced by equally talented English players - whether the English players would be as cheap or willing to move to this club is another matter altogether, but that's an argument for a different day.

However, following former Chelsea and England full-back Ashley Cole's switch to Italian side Roma, and subsequent plea for more English players to shed their inhibitions and join him in moving abroad, have made me take a different view - perhaps it is not that there are too many foreign players in the Premier League, but rather too few English players plying their trade in foreign leagues.

British players must be braver

It seems a simple solution. Rather than players sit on the bench and wait for a move elsewhere on these shores while pundits lambast the managers for failing to pick them, British players should be looking to take opportunities to play in a different league, most likely gaining more game time and at an equal or higher level than if they stayed in England.

Of course English players are notoriously overpriced and usually have excessive wage demands, but for those who are acting as a burden to their club and are in desperate need to rebuild their career (Micah Richards and Jack Rodwell are two that spring immediately to mind) would hugely benefit from a foreign experience and should be more willing to make the move.

Overseas moves can benefit youngsters

Additionally, younger players seeking loan moves would probably gain more useful experience playing in a top division abroad than in the Championship. Chelsea have utilised this recently with through their links with Dutch side Vitesse Arnheim. It will be intriguing to see how the likes of Christian Atsu cope on their return to Chelsea, and whether the likes of Josh McEachran and Nathaniel Chalobah, who have failed to break into the side after loan spells in the Championship, may follow in his footsteps.

Further to the increased game time - if players are moving here, it leave gaps to be filled and should mean more likely first-team football - it should be beneficial to gain a new cultural experience, learning about and adapting to different styles of play, hopefully creating more versatile, adaptable footballers.

Looking to the future

Twenty-two of England's 23-man World Cup squad came from the Premier League, and most looked completely hapless when trying to cope with the very different styles of the Costa Ricans and Uruguayans.

In summary, rather than English players ruing their bad luck that they were unfortunate enough to be born in England, where nobody ever gets an opportunity, it's time for British players to prove those who claim they are greedy wrong by dropping their wage demands and heading abroad to get some game time; hopefully, in the process, they will prove the pundits right and show that England are, in fact, capable of producing some reasonably good footballers.

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Ashley Cole
Serie A
Premier League
England Football

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