The Premier League is arguably the greatest league in the world but rather than homegrown players making an impact, it's foreign imports lighting up the league. Since the formation of the Premier League in 1992, we have seen the National team go from mediocre to really average. Teams that have had great success Nationally have seen their National players thrive in their respective leagues. Should the FA be doing more to address the situation of boosting home grown talent?
On Boxing Day 1999, Chelsea manager Gianluca Vialli fielded the first non-British starting 11 against Southampton. This wasn't the first time something like this had happened as 6 years later, Arsene Wenger's Arsenal was without a single Englishman in their match day squad when they beat Crystal Palace 5-1 in 2005. Manchester United started the Manchester Derby in 2009 with no English players in the starting 11 with Rooney & Scholes coming on as second half substitutes in the second half in Manchester United's 2-0 win over City rivals Manchester City.
As the years went on, more and more English players were being pushed out of big teams making way for foreign imports and those English players were often loaned out or dropped down divisions. Chelsea are the main culprits for loaning young players out with a reported 31 players out on loan this season. Since Roman Abramovich arrived in 2003, Chelsea have fielded the most foreign imports in Europe’s top 5 divisions. Despite winning 5 consecutive youth championships, only 32.5% of Chelsea youth players have gone on to make it into the first team.
Most recently, a product of the youth system Reuben Loftus-Cheek has been given the opportunity to make his mark and force his way into the Chelsea team since making an impact for England since his Man of the Match debut v Germany in 2017 and further performances in this years World Cup with limited game time. He also made a mark while playing on loan at Crystal Palace last season with consistent performances. But if they have high expectations of him, why would they sign players such as Barkley or Kovacic who play in a similar position? Rather than keeping the bench warm, he should be loaned out for game time. U-17 World Cup winner Callum Hudson-Odoi another Chelsea product, had fans raving in pre-season after his game v Arsenal. Surely he should be in the frame for a start?
Ademola Lookman, a player with great potential at 20 years old. Loaned out to RB Leipzig last season scoring 5 goals, 3 assists in 11 games for them. But Everton are reluctant to sell the striker by slapping a £28m price tag on him despite having signed Richarlison for £40m who is alongside Walcott & Tosun who play similar positions. Another example that a young product is being over shadowed and not allowed game time, it seems.
Sepp Blatter once suggested that the Premier League should introduce the 6+5 rule only for the Premier League to refuse to adapt this rule. The Premier League however do state that out of 25 players in a squad 8 of which should be home grown. But we still don't see many homegrown players playing for the top clubs which makes it hard for selection of the National team.
Gareth Southgate, as we seen in this years World Cup with the young England squad reaching the Semi-Finals, has faith in the youth system of the Country which has seen them achieve great success with the England youth teams winning World Cups and European Cups. Surely, to boost the National game and raise standard for the England National Team would be for the FA to adapt a system where each club has to field at least 5 or 6 home grown players. This would boost players chances of playing regular football rather than being pushed out of clubs and not being given any sort of opportunity.