“We must cut number of foreign players to find more English talent”–Greg Dyke FA Chairman

Over the last few years there have been a number of arguments regarding international players coming into English football. Managers, coaches, fans and the Football Association all have different opinions on this topic which has caused much controversy. The English Football Association wants to increase the number of English players in the premier league but how are they going to do this?

The FA have come up with a new proposal which will focus on several areas;

  • English clubs will have to increase the number of home grown players in the clubs first team from 8 to 12.
  • Clubs will have to reduce the number of non home grown players from 17 to 13 players.
  • For a player to be qualified as home grown they will have to be registered with the club from the age of 15 (this is down from the age of 18 years old).

Over 5 years, out of 12 clubs there has been a decrease in the number of home grown players from 11.4% to 9.4%.  In the champions league in 2014, there were only 23 english players who competed. When compared to other countries this is significantly lower where there were 78 players from Spain and 55 players from germany.

Could this be a problem for English Football?

Some of the best players in the world are international football players.  In the PFA’s Premier League team of the year, 7 out of the 11 players were international players. Are these players more motivated than English players?  Do these players have more passion and desire to play in the premier league?

In a study conducted by Weedon & Elliot (2010) they looked at the effect that international players had on a elite football academies. They found, by integrating international players into the premier league this can enhance development potential of all players.  Coaches believed that international players had a stronger work ethic due to their backgrounds.  One of the most interesting parts of the study related to players attitudes. Do international players have a a more professional attitude due to their need to have to become a football player?

What factors influence these processes?

Money is a large problem among football. From a young age elite players are paid large sums of money to become the best players in the world. In the premier league the average wage is £31,000.  Players can be motivated for a number of reasons, but surely being paid this huge amount of money can shift a players motivation from intrinsic to extrinsic? We want players to play football for passion, desire and love of the game. Are young english players being paid too much?

What can we learn from international players?

In 2014 Arsenal Football Club signed Alexis Sanchez. Alexis Sanchez should be an example to every single young player whether they are a football player, swimmer or athlete. Sanchez is a player who shows desire and passion on the football pitch. Sanchez is a player who fights and wants to win. Whether Sanchez is with or without the football he is working tirelessly to be the best.  We want to develop young english players with this passion and desire. We want to develop english players who are not only strong from a technical and tactical perspective but also from a psychological perspective. We want to develop players with a growth mindset. We want players to love learning, learn from failures and see effort and hard work as the path to mastery.

We want to know what you think. Do you think international players help to improve the quality of english players football from a psychological perspective? Are international players more motivated than English players? Leave your comments in the section below.

ReferencesShow all

Elliott, R., & Weedon, G. (2010). Foreign players in the English Premier Academy League:‘Feet-drain’or ‘feet-exchange’?. International review for the sociology of sport.