Southgate urges action as England-qualified players hit record low

Jadon Sancho started for Dortmund last weekend 

Jadon Sancho started for Dortmund last weekend 

GARETH SOUTHGATE has said “we can’t allow the trend to continue” after the number of England-qualified players starting in the Premier League hit an all-time low last weekend.

Just 54 of the 220 Premier League starters on matchday 14 were England-qualified (24.5%), with Chelsea and Newcastle contributing zero. This was lower than the previous week’s total of 55, which had itself been a record low.

None of England’s 2017 World Cup winning Under-17 side started in any of the games; although, tellingly, player-of-the-tournament Jadon Sancho did start for Borussia Dortmund in their 2-0 win over Freiburg in the Bundesliga.

“Nobody can tell me that if players are good enough, they will come through,” England manager Southgate said. “That is not true. There are plenty of players who are good enough.

“The quality of our Academy system is very high, as good as anything in the world. Around the country lots of people in youth development are keen to get together and find a solution to that 17 to 21 age bracket and how we get those players playing.

“Although we are in a position where we can lead some of those discussions, it is not a case that the clubs are not on the same page. They are very much looking at how to bridge that gap.

Lowest number of England-qualified starters:

  • 2018/19 (30 Nov-1 Dec): 54
  • 2018/19: (24-26 Nov): 56
  • 2015/16 (26-28 Sep): 58
  • 2015/16 (3-4 Oct): 58
  • 2015/16: (7-8 Nov): 58
  • 2015/16: (5-7 Dec): 58

“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.

"Many of those things are in the right place now, this is the missing piece that everybody is keen to resolve. All of the big clubs, whenever I visit them, are wrestling with this.

“If a lot of those players had a couple of years of first-team experience, it is a lot easier for their manager to select them. But that is a conundrum we have to solve.”

“I think we have seen evidence that being brave enough to go abroad can lead to a proper opportunity. It’s good for their development, for their maturity, so that’s something that people have noted and it will happen more and more.”

The Football Association plans to impose a limit of 13 overseas players in the 25-man Premier League squads after Brexit - a plan which is vehemently opposed by the Premier League. At present, each 25-man squad has to have a quota of eight home-grown players.

“In terms of the quotas, we are in discussions,” Southgate said.

"What’s clear is that we can’t allow the trend to continue as it is because at what point do we stop?

"Everybody saw the impact of the national team in the summer and I think it is a prerogative that, while we still want a competitive Premier League that brings a lot of focus into our country, it’s trying to find this missing piece.

“I think when you are a senior manager, you need evidence to convince you that they are ready to take the next step. When the positions of so many managers is precarious and there isn’t long-term stability.

"I can understand why they are loath to risk. That’s why it’s important that we talk through how we bridge that gap.”

ENGLAND-QUALIFIED STARTERS (MATCHDAY 14, 2018/19):

  • Bournemouth: 7
  • Burnley: 6
  • Leicester: 5
  • Manchester United: 4
  • Southampton: 3
  • Everton: 3
  • Cardiff: 3
  • Tottenham: 3
  • Crystal Palace: 3
  • Fulham: 3
  • West Ham: 3
  • Watford: 2
  • Brighton: 2
  • Huddersfield: 2
  • Liverpool: 2
  • Manchester City: 1
  • Wolves: 1
  • Arsenal: 1
  • Chelsea: 0
  • Newcastle: 0
  • Bournemouth: Tyrone Mings, Steve Cook, Simon Francis, Lewis Cook, Charlie Daniels, Callum Wilson, Andrew Surman.
  • Burnley: Joe Hart, Matthew Lowton, Jack Cork, Charlie Taylor, Ben Mee, Aaron Lennon. 
  • Leicester: Marc Albrighton, Jamie Vardy, James Maddison, Demarai Gray, Ben Chilwell.
  • Manchester United: Phil Jones, Marcus Rashford, Luke Shaw, Ashley Young.
  • Southampton: Nathan Redmond, Jack Stephens, Alex McCarthy.
  • Everton: Theo Walcott, Michael Keane, Jordan Pickford.
  • Cardiff: Sean Morrison, Josh Murphy, Joe Ralls.
  • Tottenham: Harry Kane, Eric Dier, Deli Alli.
  • Crystal Palace: James Tomkins, Andros Townsend, Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
  • Fulham: Ryan Sessegnon, Calum Chambers, Alfie Mawson.
  • West Ham: Declan Rice, Mark Noble, Aaron Cresswell.
  • Watford: Will Hughes, Ben Foster. 
  • Brighton: Solly March, Lewis Dunk.
  • Huddersfield: Jonathan Hogg, Alex Pritchard.
  • Liverpool: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez. 
  • Manchester City: Raheem Sterling.
  • Wolves: Conor Coady.
  • Arsenal: Rob Holding.

Stats courtesy of Gracenote/ the Press Association.

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