English Premier League: Home Groan!!

David JacobsCorrespondent IAugust 11, 2010

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31:  Theo Walcott of Arsenal in action during the Emirates Cup match between Arsenal and AC Milan at Emirates Stadium on July 31, 2010 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images


The World Cup exploits of England this year have been rather dismal. The only teams who have had as much of a dismal campaign as us were France and the 2006 champions - Italy. Both of the aforementioned teams were knocked out at the group stages whilst England got some payback for '66 via a 4-1 humbling against Germany.

Following the tournament in South Africa, questions were then raised about how well the top-flight clubs were getting their English youth talent exposed to their fans and more importantly, Fabio Capello himself. The 2010 World Cup squad was full to the brim with old warhorses like Ferdinand (pre-injury), Gerrard, Lampard and Heskey. All four of those players are over 30 and may have played their last World Cup. A rather embarrassing curtain call on their international careers I would imagine.

The Premier League took action and altered the regulations concerning squad selection. One of them states that at least eight 'home-grown' players must be present in a 25-man squad unless of course injuries ravage the team.

Sadly, this rule does not help one bit. Here's why.

It doesn't help to nurture English talent!

Richard Scudamore's big idea was to ultimately bring new English talent to the surface, yet the rule implies that any young foreign player can be imported and placed in an academy for three years during their teens, thereby maintaining the trend of buying cheap foreign imports rather than looking closer to home. This ridiculous loophole still allows teams like Arsenal and Chelsea to tap up young French-African players or in Arsenal's case pass off players like Almuniaand Fabregas as 'home-grown'. What's the damn difference!!??

Well done Scudamore; you have successfully wasted time, money and resources on making a rule which doesn't actually achieve anything different, you plum!

The new rule is really only a [lenient] cap on how many experienced [foreign] players can be transferred to a single squad rather than a minimum number of young home-grown English players, the latter being a more effective idea.

As long as EPL clubs keep tapping up/signing players from abroad, English players who may have equal or even greater talent won't get a look-in which is detrimental to any plan to win the World Cup any time soon.

All Scudamore has done is lit the touchpaper for a panic-buying of young players ('stockpiling') to ensure that clubs stay within the new rules for the required three years of teenage players' development.

This liberal approach to allowing foreign players into EPL teams is how room for young English players to flourish was reduced in the first place!! Nothing has really changed!
It's like when you have a problem with a single burnt-out fuse in one of your plugs at home. The simple act of looking at the actual problem (the broken fuse) is replaced by some aimless, knee-jerk reaction (e.g. ripping out the cabling). The latter doesn't solve the problem and may make it worse.

Here's what the REAL problem with English talent-nurturing is:

The real problem is the pricing of English players compared to foreign players.

English players are allegedly much more expensive to buy. Some would say they are overpriced. Considering England's recent efforts at a World Cup campaign, those people are correct to say so. The stupid thing is, all players in actual fact are worth NOTHING! The only place where the monetary value comes in is if the player has a contract with a club. The transfer fee is the cost of breaking that contract (release fee). What if there were no money-induced contracts? Then clubs would have entire squads of English players without problems.

Alternatively, clubs should simply push THEIR OWN youth players through to the senior team quicker than they currently are.

I don't want to make the issue sound like a politically-driven, xenophobic rant; and I'm not against foreign players in teams, but the large influx of foreign players into the Premier League since its inception has greatly reduced managers' trust in younger, English talent to carry their teams through.

Scudamore-the big cheese at one of the most well-known football competition boards-fails to see this and instead makes an ineffective rule which basically leaves everything as it was.

The rule Scudamore made should've stated the following instead:
- All teams must have at least six home-grown players AND must be ENGLISH. Simple as.

If not that, then -
- All teams must have at least six home-grown, ENGLISH players with at least FOUR who have been in the club's own youth academy for the ENTIRETY of their youth career.

I hate it how the Premier League have pussyfooted around the English youth talent issue for fear of being labelled xenophobic. It's not xenophobic to want a greater proportion of English players in your teams in order to give England's national team a better selection of players and a better chance in international competition. If it is, then Spain, France, Brazil, Germany and Italy must be complete racists......Oh, what a world!

And before you start quoting EU employment regulations to me on the comments, the UK have only wanted to dip their feet in the tepid water of European allegiance rather than swim in it completely (following whatever suits them). We don't even have the Euro!!!

I propose the UK either join completely or back out completely in order to save English football. It's not fair on other European nations in this little cabal and it's not fair on England as a footballing European nation either!