Ever since 1966, England fans have been waiting for the next team to win the trophy, but that has not happened. In recent years, however, the premiership has been known for having the best league in the world, but are not producing good, homegrown talent unlike Spain and Netherlands.
Many frustrated journalists and fans have blamed the bigger clubs for going abroad and not trusting the national pool that they have at their disposal. I am probably the first person who is going to side with the big clubs in this debate because I am going to blame the managers of the smaller clubs.
A football player will only be as good as the people that they play with or against. This is the reason why established stars like Steven Gerrard, Paul Scholes, Frank Lampard, David Beckham, Ashley Cole, and Rio Ferdinand are recognised as national treasures in terms of football.
From a young age, all of these players have been playing at the highest level possible which made them better players in the process. It is a simple formula and it seems that Spain is the only country to figure this out.
Spain won the World Cup in the summer and the whole of their team, bar Capdevilla and Llorente, played for Real Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla, or Valencia.
If we take a look at the England squad, however, there were only three players from Manchester United, four from Chelsea (including Joe Cole), three from Liverpool, and none from Arsenal. These four sides for many years have been considered the best that the English Premier League has had to offer yet they were not represented well in the England team.
The reason for this is because these clubs prefer to shop abroad and I do not blame them one bit. The smaller clubs are ruining the England team’s future and I will explain why.
I will use Arsenal as the first example. Arsene Wenger is known to favour producing young talent instead of buying big name players and it is no secret that Wenger would also buy players on the cusp of fulfilling their potentials.
Before last season started, Arsenal was in desperate need for a centre back and had a look at Bolton’s Gary Cahill. This is a player who has the potential to be a good centre back if he had the chance to play with/against better players on a regular basis and he would have gotten this opportunity playing for Arsenal.
Bolton then proceeded to inform Arsenal that Cahill would cost him £20 million. Wenger is not an idiot and he knows that potential is not always fulfilled. He would have been a fool to agree to these terms and a fool Wenger is not.
Wenger decided to wait a season and spend around £8 million on a foreign centre back called Thomas Vermaelen, which has proven to be better value for money. Cahill is currently at the same level he was at a year ago.
How is Cahill expected to follow in the footsteps of John Terry and Rio Ferdinand when they retire if he is not playing at the highest level?
Another example of this is Gareth Barry and Liverpool. Although Liverpool have somewhat fallen from grace this year, at the time that they were after Barry, they were on the verge of capturing the Premiership title away from Manchester United.
Barry would have definitely been exposed to Champions League football making him a much better player in the process.
Again Barry was overpriced and his move to Liverpool didn’t materialise. Liverpool recently signed Raul Meireles from Porto for around £11 million and I feel that there isn’t too much difference between him and Barry in terms of ability, yet apparently there is roughly £9 million between them in terms of value.
Another story similar to this, which I find amusing, is Connor Wickham of Ipswich. For those who don’t know about Wickham, he is a young 17-year-old striker who led England Under-17s to victory in the Under-17 European Championships where England beat Spain, 2-1, in the final.
Some, perhaps even most, of these young Spanish starlets will be following in the footsteps of the current stars such as David Villa, Xavi, Iniesta, and Fernando Torres. For the likes of Wickham, he might not have it so easy to get into a big premiership side.
The reason for this is because Ipswich had priced the then-16-year-old at around £10 million. No manager in their right mind would spend this kind of money on a youngster unless you have tons of money like Manchester City.
Now compare Wickham to somebody like Carlos Vela or Federico Macheda. Arsenal and Manchester United didn’t break the bank for these two youngsters, but they both look like stars for the future and are playing for two of the biggest clubs in the Premier League.
Should this trend continue to happen then the England team in a few years time will be as good as Scotland (no offence).
I hope that this article will stop people from being so quick to target the managers of these big clubs for buying foreign talent instead of homegrown players. But the truth of the matter is that these managers will not be taken for a ride by anybody and if they feel that they can get better value for money elsewhere then they will do so.
One last example of this is Vidic and Ferdinand. These two are almost as good as each other, but one cost United £7 million and the other cost £30 million. Which one do you think cost £30 million?