No Thanks, They’re English!

by Mystical Mike

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

Are we stifling English talent?

With the Champions league about to kick back into action tonight, once again the big four (I’m getting a little tired of that phrase) will fly the flag for England.

So how many English players to you think will be taking part? Approximately 12, maybe less, so that’s more or less 1 quarter of the starting line up. So how has it come to this?

I think we’re all very aware now of the main reason we don’t have a good enough England Squad to qualify for major competitions; it is due to the quality of the English pool of players to pick from. Yes McClaren and Eriksson had their faults; it is obvious that bringing in a young goalkeeper for his first full cap in the most important game of your managerial life is very stupid and naïve. However, the likelihood is, we would only have just about made it through the group stages of this years European Championship anyway. This is due to the lack of strength in depth of the Squad. Our best goalkeeper is 37 and we have one world-class striker (Rooney in case anyone wasn’t sure).

In my view there are fundamental issues and the biggest one in my mind is the stifling of young English talent. It is much cheaper to buy 3 or 4 Carlos Kickaballs in the hope one may come through. It is also now common practice to buy experienced and talented mature footballers from abroad looking for their last club, than to invest in your youth development system, as it is again, much cheaper.

The obvious example of the youth problem is the La Gunners. How is it that David Bentley, Steve Sidwell and Jamie O’Hara had to leave the club to develop? In my opinion all three, but certainly Bentley, would be first teamers for La Gunners by now, but instead average young foreigners like Diaby, Denilson and Traore get the nod. What is the point of having a youth academy if none of the players are ever going to make it into the 1st team. The same can be said at El Liverpool, ok so they gave us Owen, Gerrard & Carrager, but that was years ago.

A useful way to see this is to look at the best example of English and British youth development – the Man Utd team of the late 90s and its effect on the England team. Schmeichel, Neville, Brown, Stam, Neville, Beckham, Keane, Scholes, Giggs, Cole, Sheringham/Yorke. There are 9 British players there and 6 were developed through the Man Utd youth system. They won everything between them, including an historic treble. There is also no denying that we were the closest to winning a Euro or a World Cup during Euro ‘96 and World Cup ’98. Coincidence?

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  • Janos

    obviously written by a Spurs fan, the way you bang on about youth and English players is a joke.

    I must just add that neither, Jenas, Lennon, O’Hara, Keane, Dawson, Bent, Huddlestone, Robinson came from your youth team.

    Question, now that Ramous is in charge and you might actually win something, would you swap that for a team full of players that came from your youth academy?

    I think not, lets face it, the Spuds will have a team full of foreign players this time next year.

  • Alan

    you won’t win anything with kids, thats what I say

  • Martin Tibbetts

    You are right Janos, none of the Spurs players listed came through their ranks. However you name 8 British or Irish players who Spurs have bought and who play regularly for their team. And they are starting to do very nicely as well.

    Now I assume that you are a Gooner, so how many British players has your team bought of late (apart from the foetus that you are now regretting paying over the odds for?). No Spurs haven’t brought too many players through but they are providing an outlet for quality British youth to play at the highest level, and that can only benefit our international sides. When the Arse and Liverpool start doing that they may be in a position to contribute constructively to this discussion.

    And by the way, paying way to much money for an English player to come and warm the bench all season does not count, that is called stifling the development of English talent (Rafa and Avram, I am looking at you…)

  • Darren

    this debate could go on for ever. Wenger doesn’t buy English for one reason and one reason only. They are way to over priced. West Brom wanted 10 million for Curtis Davis, Darren Bent went for more then Henry, Bolton are prepared to pay 7 million for Leroy Leita, Carrick went for 18 m, Hargreaves 20 m, Marlon King 6 m, Keiran Dyan went for 7 m, the list goes on. Who would you prefer in your team, Hleb 10 m, Rosicky 6 m, Fabregas 2 m, Clichy 2 m, Toure 2 m, Adebayor 7 m, Eduardo 8 m or those over priced average English players?

    He has bought English in the past but they turned out to a complete waste of money. Richard Wright, where is he now? Franny Jeffers, who can’t even get into a championship side. English players are not technically gifted like foreign players, Bentley is an exception of course. He was just unlucky as we had 2 of the best midfielders in the world in Robert Pires and Freddie Ljunberg both contributing in more ways than one.

    As for the over priced English sub, I do tend to agree with you. But if anyone can see talent at an early age then it’s Wenger, Walcott is still only 19. Give him 2 years, although a loan move would benefit his game and confidence no end

  • Andy

    I don’t think its so much about the money for Arse and Liverfool. Effectively what you’re saying, Darren, is they are buying in these players to keep themselves at the top so they can participate in the bigger comps? Well if that’s the case they’re getting more money so they can keep lining their pockets but they’re only buying foreign players to stay there. Look at Man U. They’ve clearly got a successful system as they still seem to push English talent as well as buy in foreign – Brown, Ferdinand, Hargreaves, Carrick, Rooney…nearly half the side.

    English players are overpriced maybe, but these clubs have a duty to this country if for nothing else then the fans that help line their pockets. The clubs that reside and operate in a country should be helping develop that country’s talent, end of story! Otherwise it IS nothing else but a business and may as well move to another country altogether.

  • Darren

    think you’re missing the point Andy mate, Ferdinand, Hargreaves, Carrick, Rooney are not from Utd’s academy. The only club at present that is filtering English academy players is Boro.

  • Andy

    Not at all. I was echoing Martin’s comment about clubs being an outlet for the country’s talent. I think that is a very valid point. I was suggesting that Man U have a good balance of both.

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