International players proving costly for English game

St Albans & Harpenden Review: Rickie Lambert is one of the few England players to have progressed through the lower leagues: Action Images Rickie Lambert is one of the few England players to have progressed through the lower leagues: Action Images

We are at a time when we have more and more foreign players coming into the English Leagues and over 60 per cent of the players in the Premier League are from overseas.

We have the richest league in the world paying incredible wages attracting some of the best players in the world, but has this come to the detriment to Roy Hodgson and the England team?

I believe it has and unless there are some changes made to our rules then we will be waiting a very long time before we get to an international tournament final.

I believe our whole game is now driven by the Premier League and all the power is lying with them and due to the money being paid across the world to watch our Premier League matches they certainly have the financial back up.

These changes cannot be made overnight and it will need to be phased in over a three year period due to contracts and maybe even EU Laws would not allow it. But here are some of my suggestions.

1. No club will be able to recruit players from outside the UK until after their 19th birthday.

2. All clubs must have a minimum of four players in their 18-man squad produced through their youth policy.

3. All clubs should also have another five players, minimum, from England in their 18-man squad.

This would then take the minimum pool of players to pick from for the England manager to 50 per cent immediately. I would even look to increase this yearly until we get it up to 60 to 70 per cent. Is this why Spain, Germany and Italy have had a resurgence in the fortunes of their national teams?

I do not disagree with the new Premier Leagues Elite Player Performance Plan in practice and development.

But I do disagree with some of its principles where set fees are set to take players from lesser clubs to bigger clubs according to the amount of years the young player has been at that selling club.

I do not believe it is right that a small club loses its right to negotiate a fee for its young players.

There are many players in the England set up now that have come from clubs outside the Premier League. They learnt their trade at Football League clubs and I don’t believe they need to leave these clubs at a young age to become a top player.

Look at the current England set up and players like Joe Hart (Shrewsbury), Phil Jagielka and Kyle Walker (Sheffield United), Rickie Lambert (Blackpool) and Leighton Baines (Wigan), to name but a few who all came from clubs that were outside the Premier League.

What we need to look at is the solution to help Roy Hodgson have a bigger pool of players from which to choose, and youngsters being given the opportunity to play.

I am a Pro License Coach who is so passionate about the game but would be reluctant to let one of my young sons go to one of the big academies in today’s world.

In my experience all children develop at different ages. As someone who was a very late developer as a young boy I had to handle many rejections, including coming out of the professional game at 18 due to being released by Watford.

I then went to played for my local team St Albans City for 18 months and not making my league debut until a month before my 20th birthday.

I was still a boy and was still to develop into a man but what I have come to appreciate in recent years is the importance of a good coach/guide/mentor for these young lads to help them become what they strive to be. I was lucky that I had that at St Albans City.

For me personally, I am a values and respect person. Young footballers today at the big Premier League clubs receive far too much money. These young men have not even kicked a ball in their respective first teams.

In my experience they lose their focus and desire. I would like to know the percentage of these boys who go to Premier League Academies only to drop out of the professional game within five years.


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