25 July 2013: Lord Faulkner of Worcester:
....... The noble Lord, Lord Bates, and other noble Lords are right to draw attention to the immense success, in economic terms, of the English Premier League. I want to draw the House’s attention to a slightly separate aspect and make the point that this success has not been without controversy or consequences for the governance of the game and for the England national team.
Two weeks ago, the Guardian published the results of an investigation into the number of English players performing at the highest level. Their findings, which relate to last season, show that only 189 English players featured in the Premier League and that as few as 88 of them appeared in more than half the matches. The top four Premier League clubs used only 29 English players between them. That is in contrast to top European leagues abroad. In Spain’s La Liga, for example, there were 332 Spanish national players, making 6,391 appearances in the season.
The absence of English footballers playing at the highest level is having a serious effect on the ability of the England national team manager to put together a credible side to compete in international competitions; a point which perhaps the noble Lord, Lord Wei, was referring to obliquely when he talked about the need for success at national level. The problem is particularly acute with young players. The England under-21 and under-20 national teams finished without a single win in their respective European Championship and World Cup finals this summer......
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