Another season in the Premier League has passed. Another season of consistently high tempo matches and heart breaking results – gone are the days where managers can rest their top players in so called ‘easy’ fixtures. The only football league in which this is the case – making the Barclays Premier League without doubt the best in the world.
Now we have the summer, and in many ways the time when club’s are at their busiest – having only a short break before entering the transfer market in hope of stealing the latest sensation. More money is spent on transfers in the Premier League than in any other league in the world. This summer appears to be no different, with over £150 million being spent already and almost a month left before the start of the new campaign.
However, it is once again clear that clubs are splashing out on young stars from abroad but there is limited sign of promotion for players from within our own academy set ups. What is worse is that it is evident young players are not being given experience with first team football, many of our teenage prospects being loaned out to lower league clubs in attempt to keep them happy. With the title of being the home of world football, and a grass roots and youth development set up that many countries can only wish for – why is it that in their late teens home grown players are being replaced with foreign talents from countries with massively less access to quality facilities and coaching.
This summer there has been little talk about next season’s potential for local players like Raheem Sterling (16, Liverpool), Ravel Morrison (18, Manchester United) or Josh Macrechan (18, Chelsea). Instead clubs have no hesitation in splashing out on overseas prospects, the latest being the signing of 16 year old Ivory Coast youth international Souleymane Coulibaly – who is heading for Tottenham in a deal worth around £2 million.
A club will invest a small fortune every year in order to run it’s youth schemes. It is by no means a cheap way of creating first team talent, particularly when clubs are not using their systems effectively. Arsenal is a complete example of how you cannot simply rely on youth. With no silverware in over six seasons, the years where they successfully combined the experience of Adams and Keown with the youth of Viera and Henry are increasingly distant. However, in Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere there is also an example of how an English academy can produce a player of the highest calibre – one who is without doubt fit for the world stage.
I am not suggesting that managers are ignoring English talent for the thrill of being involved in the summer transfer mayhem – I’d imagine they’d prefer the extra time off. But the fact is that not enough home grown players are coming through the ranks, and this has to change for any hope of future national success. But is it possible to have the best league in the world as well as a top rated national team? One thing for sure is that because of the amount of money and resources that are invested in England’s development of youth footballers, it is not acceptable to suggest we can only produce one player of Jack Wilshere’s quality every five years, because if this is the case, then questions surely have to be asked.