August 4, 2010

The Premier League’s Chief Executive, Richard Scudamore, is prepared to accept “some of the responsibility” for England’s near disastrous display at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. WHY??

There has been huge debate about the negative impact of foreign players playing in the Premier League but does this really add up? How many foreign players from the Premier League played at the World Cup achieving far more than the England team players… were they impaired?

Possibly with the exception of a suitable goalkeeper, England took a team to South Africa that was lauded as world beaters. There were merits claiming this was the best chance England had had to win since 1966. So where did it actually go wrong?

The Premier League is reputedly the greatest league in the World and there are few who could deny it. Leagues across Europe host fantastic clubs but few countries have the depth of quality into the lower reaches of their main league. Consequently, the Premier League attracts top quality players from around the World not just to the top four or six clubs but to the top fifteen or sixteen.

English players are playing against world-class opposition every week, many of whom achieved great success at the South Africa World Cup. Foreign players from Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool appeared throughout the competition and achieved results playing with a passion and commitment to their country.

English players reputedly have a passion for pulling on their three lions shirt but they lack the passion to play together. There is an expectation within England’s football team that they are entitled to wear the shirt and should be guaranteed a place on the team coach but this doesn’t translate into the same commitment of playing as part of an England team. For a long period a similar scenario existed in the England Cricket Team to the detriment of a successful team. These players tend to have huge sponsorship deals and often egos to match.

Fabio Capello dropped David Beckham on his arrival as England team manager and it appeared a new era was arriving but slowly he slipped back into the tradition of playing the most ‘popular’ english players and everyone could predict the team. There are many English players who have been successful at U21, U18 and U17 who could offer an energy and enthusiasm to a lacklustre England team. Following the 2010 World Cup, Capello has stated that he will develop a youthful team and he has plenty of players to choose from.

The belief is that the younger players do not get enough first-team football as a result of the foreign contingent but there were experienced England players in the World Cup squad who had missed large chunks of the season through injury or not being picked. The experience of the England set-up could help develop the younger players and aid them in their first-team selection and if they’re not playing regular ‘top-level’ football they will be fresh, eager and fit to play. These players tend to be overlooked on the basis of experience but that shouldn’t detract from their talent and it shouldn’t be ignored that they are also training and practising alongside the same world-class players.

There is a huge demand for success from the national football team in England and this shouldn’t be blamed on the foreign contingent that fans up and down the country pay to see each week.

Last updated: August 4, 2010 at 12:53 pm