Ferguson agrees, and unsurprisingly, Arsene Wenger disagrees.
It is something that is very contentious, and almost everybody will likely have an opinion, although it is also likely that their opinion will be based entirely on how many foreigners they have at there club.
The theory behind it is that the England national team is failing, due to not enough English players playing in the premiership, and so English footballers are not playing at a high enough level anywhere near enough.
The problem with the theory, is that the English national side is not failing, and the U21 side is very spectacularly not failing, suggesting not only is this a load of rubbish, but it is possible that the high level of foreign players in the premiership is raising the level of English football, not lowering it.
But, if you look at the teams in the premiership, the captains of 3 of the top 4 are English, and the best players in them are also English. This holds true throughout the league, Portsmouth’s captain, Sol Campbell is English, and we also have an English goalkeeper, English defenders, English midfielders, if you look at any team, then they are mostly made of a hard core of English players, so to say that there is a lack of quality English players playing in the premier league is, quite simply, wrong.
Well, maybe you can say that more foreign players are coming in, and pushing out more and more English players, but this too is not entirely true. Since the major influx of foreign talent into the premiership, the national side has only improved. Sure back in 1966, we won the world cup, but we have come much closer to winning trophies recently than for a very long time – I am sure that had we beaten Portugal, we would have won euro ’04. Following this trend, you would expect the national side to keep improving with the foreign talent coming in. And logically, this is true. The more foreign talent that is coming in, the higher the level the league is played at, and so English players are getting more and more experience at playing at a top level.
In addition to this, we can look at our U21 side. The last European championships were one of the best ever, losing to the eventual winners in an extended penalty shoot out, the sides were so evenly matched. And the current form, qualifying for the next tournament, is played 5, won 5, scored 11, conceded 0 – hardly the statistics of a failing youth side.
So, with the England team getting better, the U21s getting better, and premier league teams getting better, who is losing out? Certainly, it is not any players from foreign countries.
Ghana do not have a league that plays at a high level, so if the number of foreigners playing in the premiership was restricted, the number of players from foreign countries playing at a high level would be restricted, and so it is likely that we would not see African countries competing successfully in the world cup again. Remove the foreign talent, and all that will happen is that more English players from the championship play in the premiership, and is that really a benefit to English football? Lowering the levels at which English players are playing? Lowering the levels at which foreign players are playing?
Watching Arsenal go out with 10 foreign players on the pitch is for me, much more exciting than watching Middlesbrough go out with 10 English players on the pitch. They play better football, they score more goals, and overall, they play a more exciting game. I would never turn on the television to watch Middlesbrough play (no offence to them) – it just isn’t interesting.
My point is that reducing the number of foreign players in the premiership will only reduce the level in which football is played, and so having the adverse effect of reducing the quality of English football. That and it would make it so boring to watch.
And whilst I am at it, there was an interesting article on the vital Chelsea site, about youth football, here.
Written by pompeycarpet.
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