With more and more being made of the Premier League’s foreign players limiting chances for its home grown talent I ask, when is enough, enough?
The national team appears to be suffering more than ever, with manager Roy Hodgson claiming the pool of players he has to choose from is so low that he is forced to call up players that can’t even get into the first team of their own club. While most people will point at teams lower in the league many will question the success of a national team full of players that can’t compete against their foreign counterparts filling the squads of the Premier League’s top 7 teams.
Some people are eager to point out that talent should be rewarded regardless of nationality while clubs will claim that the pressure on them for success leaves little room for nationalism. But if we don’t give these young players a chance how will we ever know if they have what it takes to compete internationally?
Teams have academies bustling with the next batch of potential England internationals but these players are too often shipped out to lower league clubs before they’ve ever made a first team appearance. The need for instant success has even stopped many teams from fielding younger players in cup competitions. Much has been made of Arsenal’s trophy drought but this has seemingly stopped them from grooming their youth players by selecting them exclusively in the League Cup. This pressure has seemingly forced teams to start buying foreign players to add to these academies too, meaning chances are now limited even at a young age.
So where do we draw the line? Many have asked about a cap on foreign players playing in a first team but European law doesn’t allow this ‘discrimination’. But to phrase Gary Neville on the subject, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
If a cap was introduced, where would the happy medium be? How do we maintain a competitive domestic league without hindering our national team? Does anyone even care anymore? To those of you that answered no to that last question I ask you to engage your memories briefly.
Think back to the national euphoria as England beat Germany 5-1, the 0-0 draw with Italy, the David Beckham free-kick against Greece. Would you really be happy if these moments were cast only into the history books? Would you really just ignore a World Cup final that involved England? These moments, these spine tingling memories, the dreams we almost don’t dare to mention any more would be gone.
Can I interest anyone in a foreign player cap now?