On Saturday we saw a rather lacklustre performance from the England team in an important Euro 2012 qualifier against Switzerland. Yes, admittedly we do still have some individual good players in the Premier League – but with many of them coming towards the end of their career, do with have a new breed of players that will do us proud?
I would like to think so – but they certainly must be given the opportunity to flourish. Exceptionally talented players like Jack Wilshere are also likely to make the breakthrough due to the quality they possess. But the top English Premier League players need to get the opportunity to play for the best teams. Some of our most talented players like Ashley Young, Gary Cahill and Phil Jones may need to move on in the summer to perform on a bigger stage with the best players.
We have seen foreign ownership and foreign management come in to the Premier League and build squads almost exclusively based on foreign players. That strategy is understandable for teams on a budget because in general better value is quoted for foreign players. However, does the Premier League big six (Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool) really have any excuse not to buy English? On top of the hugely lucrative TV deals they also enjoy significant commercial and match-day income. We already know about the fact that some Arsenal fans are getting turned off by the huge season ticket prices.
Yes, I understand that a lot is at stake for getting signings wrong and we would not want English players to be signed purely for the sake of signing English players. The process should be the same as any other signing – but we need to have the best English players playing for the biggest English clubs and playing in the Champions League.