The Premier League recorded a record low number of English starters this past weekend, leading Gareth Southgate to launch another plea for English clubs to take responsibility in supporting the new gen of homegrown ballers.
Just 54 players who were eligible to play for England started the most recent round of Premier League fixtures, falling below 25% of the total number players for the first time – and four members of the England team to beat Croatia in the Nations League last month didn’t make their club’s starting XI.
The lack of young English players getting game time has long been a concern for England manager Southgate, and he spoke on the issue again in light of the latest figures:
“It was a 33% average last season, then it went below 29% and this weekend it was below 25% for all of the teams. Nobody can tell me that, if players are good enough, they will come through. That is not true. There are plenty of players who are good enough.
“For parents and boys entering academies, the very nature of it is that you expect there to be opportunity at the end. I go back to previous tournaments when we have reviewed everything that has gone on in English football. So many of those things are in the right place now, so this is just the missing piece. But that is a conundrum we have to solve.”
Jadon Sancho is a cheat code. pic.twitter.com/ZUc7yverV7
— VERSUS (@vsrsus) December 1, 2018
The news gives further backing to the likes of Jadon Sancho and Reiss Nelson, who left Manchester City and Arsenal respectively in search of more game time in the Bundesliga. Both players have torn it up in Germany, while many of their contemporaries have been left to warm the benches back in England.
Between the England senior side and the glittering youth teams who are world champions at both U20 and U17 level, this is promising to be a bright new age for English football – as long as the young ballers are given game time to develop.