Roy Hodgson has urged his England stars to find first-team football overseas if they cannot be guaranteed playing time in the Premier League.
England flopped at this summer’s World Cup finals, essentially finishing 31st out of the 32 teams involved, securing just one point and two goals in the process. Despite the poor showing, the FA chose to stick with Hodgson, who is now beginning his preparations for Euro 2016.
While it is great to have English talent present in the Premier League, it isn’t great to have English talent present in the Premier League if they’re merely warming the bench.
The Premier League is unquestionably a big league, so of course it is going to bring in the best players – and as a fan, it is impossible to complain about it – who wouldn’t want to watch Fabregas linking up with Eden Hazard to play in Andre Schurrle? Or Sergio Aguero coming on late and jogging through the Newcastle defence?
But of course, being a league with 20 teams capable of bringing in the best players from around the globe, it does hinder the chances of young, English players.
There is always a lot of talk about English players moving abroad to gain the experience of a foreign league, and sure that occasionally produces brilliant players (Owen Hargreaves prior to his messed up legs). But seeing as more than 50 percent of the players within the Premier League are now from abroad, it’s less about the ‘foreign experience’ and more about actually playing.
Hodgson didn’t say English players should move abroad because we need English players in different leagues, he said that they should be open to moving abroad if they can’t find first-team football in the Premier League.
So why aren’t they playing?
The Premier League brought in a home grown player quota at the start of the 2010/11 season, and to be honest, I think that adds to the problem. The big clubs will buy young English talent in order to ‘fill a quota’ with no real desire to play them. Because they need them to comply with regulations, the club will pay them double what they would receive elsewhere, and the player will take it, because they’re massive clubs and because, well.. Money.
But this only results in a step backwards. Think Jack Rodwell – Everton, Manchester City, Sunderland… It seems like it’s in the wrong order.
So, English players, particularly the young ones, need to listen to Roy and start thinking long-term, rather than jumping when one of the top clubs click their fingers, as it doesn’t end well.
They need to start proving themselves on smaller stages, to develop and show what they’re actually capable of, and if they need to go abroad in order to find that smaller stage, so be it.