World Cup Russia 2018


Premier League chairmen are hindering the growth of England's future stars

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Football News

Chairmen asserting their authority became a regular feature in this year’s summer transfer window, with Everton's Bill Kenwright and West Brom's Jeremy Peace emphasising this, much to the annoyance of Premier League Chelsea and Tottenham.

Whilst their intentions to keep their prised assets and build around them are understandable, one can't help but question just how damaging it is to England’s World Cup hopes to keep future stars at lesser clubs surrounded lesser players.

To set the scene, something that both the Germany and Spain side to have won the last two World Cups have in common is widespread participation in continental football. Take the Spanish side who won the 2010 World Cup final - out of the 14 players used, 13 of them were playing in the Champions League and one in the Europa League.


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Similarly, the German side who claimed the 2014 World Cup had 12 of the 14 playing in the Champions League and one in the Europa League. The only member of the squad not in European action was Christoph Kramer, on loan at Borussia Mochengladbach from Bayer Leverkusen.

Had Sami Khedira not been injured just minutes before kick-off it would have meant all 28 players used in the last two World Cup final winning teams had played in either of Europe’s two continental competitions in the season leading up to the showcase.

In contrast, the England side that lost to Uruguay last summer boasted just four players who had played in Europe in the 2013/14 season. This was largely due to Liverpool's failure to secure European football through their league position but having a strong domestic campaign which saw five players included.

Regardless of this, the difference between England and the eventual champions in terms of top level experience is vast, with 10 less starting players having regularly competed against the game's top talents.

So is the outcry against the Raheem Sterling’s and the Saido Berahino’s warranted? As after all, there isn’t a single England fan that doesn’t want the Three Lions to lift the World Cup in three year's time.

The experience that John Stones, for instance, would have got from playing alongside arguably the greatest English centre-back of the last decade in John Terry, or even Gary Cahill for that matter, is priceless.

But as things stand the only time he will face Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi or any players of high calibre is in perhaps eight Premier League fixtures a season. Then, when it comes down to the crunch for England, a lack of experience will prove dividends against international sides boasting world-class players with the knowhow of how to win tournaments.

Whilst it was in poor taste to tweet his thoughts about Jeremy Pearce, Berahino’s sentiment is understandable because the importance of competing up the table cannot be played down when looking at England selection and future development.

A move to Spurs would have seen him play alongside fellow youngster Harry Kane, a rare commodity in the days of importing players. It used to be a core of England players at Manchester United but this is not so evident now and another key ingredient of winning teams is lost.

Having a core of players from Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, and Real Madrid and Barcelona, helped Germany and Spain respectively and if we are to follow this pattern, opportunities to pair our youngsters should be championed, especially at a team like Spurs where a core is beginning to grow.

Secondly, a move to Spurs brings Europa League competition, the highest level that Berahino would have played at and a chance to earn more respect; a chance to prove to Roy Hodgson that he can perform not only in a relegation dog fight, but also against Borussia Dortmund in Europe’s second tier competition.

It’s perhaps time, therefore, to evaluate what it is that fans want, and what is best for the growth of our youngsters. On one hand, there is England succeeding on the world stage, which requires our very best talent to be pushed towards the top six and European competition from day one.

Alternatively, there is the opportunity to have a more competitive Premier League where our wealth of talent is shared to make the quality of proceedings a much higher standard but rely on the best foreign talent to forge out Premier League titles, like it largely has done at Chelsea and Manchester City over the last few seasons.

In an ideal world the choice wouldn’t need to be made but in reality they are the only two options. World Cups work to winning formulas and it may be a case of lowering expectations of World Cup wins in order to maintain the Premier League's image as the most competitive in the world, or disallow chairmen of hindering blossoming careers with egotistical games and unrealistic images of their sides.

It becomes a very tough debate but one that must be settled to avoid the national and domestic futures of English football colliding to the detriment of all parties.

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