After weeks of speculation, Manchester City have signed Fabian Delph.
After his fine form, which has seen him break into Roy Hodgson’s plans, it’s not hard to see why Manuel Pellegrini is eyeing up the midfielder.
But there is also one other reason. You see, Delph is part of what is becoming a rare species. He’s English and can play at the Top 4 level.
Despite the introduction of the rule where teams must have a certain number of “home-grown” players, clubs are still struggling to produce good players from their youth team.
Currently, Premier League sides have to name just 8 “home-grown” players who have been part of the youth setup since they were 18. The idea was that, with pressure to register a certain number of young players, youth setups would gradually improve and naturally English players would benefit.
Last season however just 35 per cent of Premier League players were English whilst 60 per cent of players in the Bundesliga were German and in La Liga 59 per cent are Spanish.
FA Chairman Greg Dyke is now looking to revise the quota rule. Part of his new plans to restrict non-EU players, the number of “home-grown” players will increase from 8 to 12 with at least two having been “club trained” by 2016. Players like Cesc Fabregas and Gael Clichy will also no longer be counted as “home-grown”.
However, teams like Man City use clever ways of getting round the current rules and will probably continue to do the same.
Reserve keeper Richard Wright is named as a “home-grown” player but in his three years at the Etihad is yet to make a first team appearance. Wright is there purely to keep the FA quiet so Man City can appear to be contributing to the national side.
That’s the state the quota has become, simple box ticking.
That’s why Man City fought so hard to get Raheem Sterling. He’s “home-grown” and a prime example of how English players are now more expensive due to the quota.
English players aren’t getting the benefit and worse still they’re getting harder to buy.
But how can the “home-grown” quota directly help the national team and give future England manager’s good young players with top flight experience?
The answer is simple. Players named in the quota have to be English and they have to play. No more 3rd choice keepers who don’t even make the bench, your “home-grown” players must be English and must feature in your side.
This would be the only way of stopping clubs from naming useless reserves as squad members. All Premier League clubs would have to look at their youth team and mould talented players to compete at their level.
The next Rooney or Sterling might be hard to come by but the second choice left back shouldn’t be too much trouble. In a few years, as the number of quality English players increases, the England manager will have quality players with real experience to choose from.
The target from Greg Dyke is to win the World Cup 2022. The FA has to seriously tighten their laws to ensure the future English talent is coming through the Premier League. Otherwise players like Delph will become extinct.
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