Lack of Englishmen in foreign leagues to blame for England's poor tournament displays

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Considering England's penchant for global exportation, it's quite ironic how the country's footballers are so unwilling to ply their trade abroad.

It's fairly damning that there is currently a grand total of two English-born professionals playing in La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga combined.

The duo are hardly household names either. Precociously talented but troublesome Ravel Morrison has managed three appearances for Lazio this season while Nathaniel Chalobah is at high-flying Napoli on a season-long loan from Chelsea.


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Goalscoring midfielder Tom Ince - son of Manchester United legend Paul - reportedly turned down a move to Italian giants Inter Milan in 2014 in favour of a switch to Hull City - a decision which left many people scratching their heads.

The fact that the average salary in the Premier League is far higher than any other league in the world certainly doesn’t incentivise a player to consider a career abroad.

Premier League players earned on average 60% more than their Bundesliga counterparts in 2014. The median salary was £43,717-per-week, which equates to £2.3 million per year.

Footballers in the UK have a relatively sheltered upbringing, meaning that uprooting themselves from their families and experiencing an alternate culture is often considered a last resort.

It's fair to question whether there are many English players actually desired by European teams. Ashley Cole's move to Roma proved an expensive failure in wage terms while Micah Richards' attempt to revive his career at Fiorentina flopped.

Certain pundits can be quick to blame the number of foreign players in the Premier League as the cause of the national team's failings, yet it seems the boot is on the other foot.

It can’t be coincidental that the Three Lions' best ever World Cup performance outside of England came at Italia '90, during a period when a higher percentage of the nation's most coveted talent played overseas.

A national team comprised of players competing in different leagues across the globe is unquestionably going to have a greater tactical flexibility and comprehension of different approaches.

At Euro 2016 this summer, England manager Roy Hodgson will once again be expected to perform miracles with a squad which realistically has minimal chance of progressing beyond the quarter-finals.

At least he won’t need to board a plane to scout any of his squad choices, as every potential player of his 23-man squad plays in England.

So, should the FA encourage players to experience playing in La Liga or Serie A? Absolutely, but how could they even if they wanted to?

Greg Dyke’s plans to increase the number of homegrown players in each Premier League team’s squad from eight to 12 seems to be barking up the wrong tree.

Somehow, England needs its footballers to fly the gold-plated Premier League nest and come back as footballing wise owls.

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Wayne Rooney
Steven Gerrard
Manchester United
UEFA Champions League
England Football
David Beckham

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