The English Premier League and Its Effect on the English National Team

K ShakranSenior Analyst IApril 12, 2008

England fans have now had a couple of months to let the fact that their national team will not be attending Euro 2008 sink in. Unfortunately, English football fans will spend June of 2008 sitting in front of their television sets.

Many English football supporters make the mistake of thinking the good health of the English Premier League in some way proves the good health of English football in general. In any case, England has the world's richest football league, and the richest club in the world in Arsenal.

However, the strength of the English Premier League is probably the main source of the downfall in English football.

The reasons for this become patent when one takes a look at the makeup of the teams that won the various European trophies in the golden World Cup winning era. All of these teams featured a majority of English players, with some players coming in from Ireland and Scotland.

Manchester United's European Cup winning team of 1968, for example, had eight Englishmen, two Irishmen and a Scotsman.

The team structures of England's biggest clubs today tells a different story. Once again using Manchester United as an example, only four Englishmen in the side that lifted the Champions League Trophy in 1999. The remainder of the players come from other places around the world.

Given this, it becomes difficult to ignore the reason why England won the 1966 FIFA World Cup was because English clubs at the time actually allowed Englishmen to play at the top level.

Today it seems as if English football has literally been invaded by foreign players, not to mention coaches and owners. Far fewer English players are not exposed to the highest levels of club football as before.

What this means is that the main core of players toughened by European club competition has shrunk, leaving a doomed England national coach with only a small core of talented players to choose from.

With foreign owners taking over an increasing number of England's biggest clubs, it is difficult to see how the problem will be fixed. In fact the domination of English football by foreign players, management and owners indicates an important point.

The reason why the English football team may never again win a trophy of any importance is that much of English club football, is no longer English at all.