Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Wednesday May 28 2008
Wigan Athletic have the fourth highest percentage of English players starting in their team each week in the Premier League.
With the FA looking at anything and everything to analyse our failure at qualifying for Euro 2008 the BBC have conducted research that shows the number of players eligible to represent England turning out for Premier League clubs is at an all time low.
The research shows that only 170 of the 498 players who started matches in the top flight in 2007-08 were English, that is just 34.1% of the total.
When made aware of the statistics England boss Fabio Capello said:
'The number is important because that's what I can choose from'
'But more important is quality, the level of the player. At the moment the total is 34% but the quality level is high.
'For the future, I hope next season is not 34% but 40%. It will be better for me and England football.'
West Ham United and Aston Villa were the only clubs in the Premier League who averaged more than 6 English players in their starting line-ups last season, Latics had 4.92% placing them in 4th place.
The full table reads:
1. West Ham - 6.61
2. Aston Villa - 6.42
3. Middlesbrough - 5.26
4. Wigan Athletic - 4.92
5. Everton - 4.89
6. Derby County - 4.86
7. Newcastle - 4.76
8. Spurs - 4.37
9. Manchester United - 4.26
10. Bolton - 4.24
11. Sunderland - 4.11
12. Portsmouth - 3.76
13. Birmingham - 3.74
14. Reading 3.68
15. Chelsea - 3.63
16. Manchester City - 3.42
17. Blackburn Rovers - 2.68
18. Fulham - 2.42
19. Liverpool - 2.34
20. Arsenal - 0.34
No surprises who are at the bottom of the pile but it is a surprise to see Blackburn so far down the table.
The Premier Leagues response
The Premier League don`t reckon large number of players in the top division has any bearing on how well our national team do and they said in a statement:
'Merely looking at numbers of England players in the Premier League is a blunt and misleading measure as to how well the national team should be doing'
Sepp Blatter the FIFA president would like a 'quota` of home players playing for clubs but under present European work rules and laws this would just not be allowed.
Whether it is right or wrong to have these quotas and whether or not this affects our national team and how they perform is open to debate
Personally I feel that going into games thinking they are already won had a lot to do with us not qualifying for this summers tournament and a core group of Primadonnas at the heart of the England team that let us down badly when they should have stood up for the fight, probably because they were led by the biggest Primadonna of all in the Umbrella Man, Steve McClaren
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Date:Wednesday May 28 2008
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