In Brief

Premier League: PFA calls for player quotas to boost young English talent

Number of homegrown players starting for top-six clubs reaches a record low

As England prepare to kick-off their Euro 2020 qualification on Friday night against the Czech Republic it is revealed that the number of English players starting matches for the Premier League’s top six has reached a record low.

The Times reports that only “nine of the 66 starting players [13.6%] for the top six in matches on 26 and 27 February were qualified to play for England”.

The figure increased to 25.5% in the Premier League as a whole, but the top six will be of particular concern to Gareth Southgate as these clubs represent England in the Champions League, seen by the England manager as a crucial bridge between domestic football and international football.

Quotas needed

Reacting to the figures, Gordon Taylor, the chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA), said: “The FA needs to develop homegrown talent. If we start looking at the make-up of squads it should be a quota in the actual match-day squads as they have in the EFL.

“The real crunch is how many are actually playing rather than just named in the overall 25-man squad. We have seen quite a steep decline and it is a matter of halting that decline.”

When the Premier League began in 1992, 71.8% of players were qualified to play for England, but the percentage has been on the wane ever since, despite sporadic demands for the implementation of a plan to arrest the decline.

Brexit stalemate

With Britain due to leave the European Union, the Football Association (FA) and the Premier League have reached what the Times calls “a stalemate over rules for overseas players after Brexit”.

The FA wishes to increase the minimum number of homegrown players in 25-man squads from eight to 12, but the Premier League is opposed to such a quota and wants rules put in place so that any overseas player signed by a top club receives a work permit.

Exporting talent

One consequence of the proliferation of foreign players in the top six is the increasing number of young English players who have taken their talents abroad.

For example, 18-year-old winger Jadon Sancho, who is part of the England squad for Friday night, left Manchester City for Borussia Dortmund.

Also playing in the German Bundesliga are the Arsenal pair Reiss Nelson and Emile Smith Rowe, who are on loan at Hoffenheim and Leipzig respectively.

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