Why English Players Won't Look to Manchester City Despite Pellegrini's Comments

Karl Matchett@@karlmatchettFeatured ColumnistApril 16, 2014

James Milner does not enjoy equal squad status with the likes of Dzeko and Silva
James Milner does not enjoy equal squad status with the likes of Dzeko and SilvaMichael Regan/Getty Images

Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini made comments after his team's Sunday defeat to Premier League leaders Liverpool about the victorious side's greater English contingent not having a huge bearing on the outcome of the game.

As per BBC Sport, Pellegrini acknowledged the importance of having homegrown players in the side, but indicated that it was "not easy" to buy English players and that the priority was quality, not nationality.

The Chilean manager is perfectly right, of course, yet homegrown rules and a general wish to see the top English players playing in the bigger competitions and for big trophies inevitably means City—and others—will be linked with those who perform well.

Unfortunately, it doesn't always transpire that those individuals get the chance to star on a regular basis for City (and similar clubs) when they move there. That's something that could easily put off English stars from moving to the Etihad Stadium in the future.


Current City Stars?

Joe Hart aside, there is no other Englishman for City who can claim to be a regular starter, let alone a vital part, of their best XI.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 05:  Goalkeeper Joe Hart of Manchester City applauds during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Southampton at Etihad Stadium on April 5, 2014 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty I
Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

James Milner plays a regular part in matchday squads but is utilised as a versatile option off the bench rather than as a starter. This term 17 of his 25 league appearances have been as sub, and he totals barely more than 1,000 minutes of league action.

The only other English players in the entire first-team squad are Richard Wright, the reserve and third-choice stopper; Micah Richards, who has played twice this season in the league; midfielder Jack Rodwell, who has made four appearances; and centre-back Joleon Lescott, who has played 10 times.

Simply put, those players aren't anywhere near challenging their positional rivals for a regular spot.

City also have Gareth Barry and Scott Sinclair on their books; both are out on loan for the season, having been deemed surplus to requirements.


History of Squad Members

Sinclair's fate is a familiar one.

Sinclair's usual City role: on the bench
Sinclair's usual City role: on the benchAlex Livesey/Getty Images

An impressive, exciting talent at a lower-to-mid-table Premier League club, having a few months of impact and generating interest from a big club...only to never either be worth the chance or be capable of grasping it.

Adam Johnson was largely the same, though certainly played far more games. Wayne Bridge didn't have much more of an opportunity. Shaun Wright-Phillips was a bit-part player by the time he came back.

Elsewhere, Scott Parker, Wright-Phillips again, Ross Turnbull, Steve Sidwell and Daniel Sturridge can all attest to the situation being similar at Chelsea.

Where the big money is and where the biggest expectations lie, it's easier to leave the not-quite-tested-at-the-top English talent to one side, while the expensive foreign additions take their regular spot on the field.

Looking at the trophy haul of each club over the past few years, would many disagree that this is the right approach for the clubs, if not the players?


Next Generation

Luke Shaw is the biggest, most obvious next-big-thing transfer target, but he's far from the only one.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 07:  Luke Shaw of Southampton and Sergio Aguero of Manchester City in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and Manchester City at St Mary's Stadium on December 7, 2013 in Southampton, England.
Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Everton's Ross Barkley, Shaw's Southampton team-mate Adam Lallana, Cardiff City's Steven Caulker and even Spurs' Andros Townsend are all other possible summer targets for various big clubs and maybe even for Manchester City in some cases.

But will they be looking at these players with a view to them taking the place of David Silva, Gael Clichy, Samir Nasri and Vincent Kompany?

It seems unlikely.

City will look to buy English where they can, but they'll want those players for squad roles, at least for now. And as a succession of frustrated and interrupted careers can show, that largely does no good for the players themselves. For that reason above others, the best up-and-coming players in the country are likely to move elsewhere, if at all, this coming transfer window and beyond.