European Football

A scarce commodity – English players at the top

dressing-room

IF YOU needed any proof, it has been delivered by CIES Football Observatory in its latest weekly report. English players simply don’t get a look in.

In its study of the top leagues and the number of domestically-born players appearing for the top division clubs, English clubs fare badly with an overall percentage of 35.7%.

The CIES tables are based on the number of minutes that national players have appeared for their club expressed as an overall percentage of appearances. In England, Watford are bottom of the table, with an astonishingly low 9%. Following Watford are Chelsea with 16%, Manchester City 17% and Arsenal on 23%. Only four clubs are above 50% – Everton (52%), Crystal Palace (53%), Burnley (62%) and Bournemouth (81%).

In Europe’s top five leagues, the story differs. France, despite the enormous wealth and drawing power of Paris St. Germain, only three clubs are below 50% – Nantes, Monaco and PSG. The Ligue 1 champions, at 35%, are still higher than over half of the English Premier. France, overall, comes in at 67.35%, the highest across the five leagues.

In Spain, 11 of the 20 La Liga clubs have a score of more than 50%, but Osasuna, at 97%, are the highest across the big five. Spain’s overall percentage of national players is 58.35%. Italy, meanwhile, has an overall percentage of 41.65%, with Sassuolo the most reliant on Italian talent at 86%. Germany just creeps over 50% with its total for the Bundesliga, with Freiburg the most “German” at 84%.

Europe’s most “national”-based clubs

  Club League % of nationals Pos. in 2015-16
1 Osasuna La Liga 97 N/A
2 Nancy Ligue 1 92 N/A
3 Atletico Bilbao La Liga 91 5
4 Dijon Ligue 1 90 N/A
5 Bastia Ligue 1 89 10
6 Sassuolo Serie A 86 6
7 Caen Ligue 1 85 7
8 Freiburg Bundesliga 84 N/A
9 Gijon La Liga 83 17
10 Bournemouth EPL 81 16

 

League champions 2015-16 and current use of national talent

Club League % of nationals Pos. in domestic league *
Leicester City EPL 45 6
Bayern Munich Bundesliga 34 15
Juventus Serie A 32 13
Barcelona La Liga 41 15
Paris St. Germain Ligue 1 35 20

 

*In terms of percentage of nationals

The least-reliant on local talent

  Club League Position in

2015-16

% of nationals Position in KPMG European Elite EV
1 Udinese Serie A 17 1 N/A
2 Watford EPL 13 9 N/A
3 Fiorentina Serie A 5 14 32
4 Chelsea EPL 10 16 7
5 Augsburg Bundesliga 12 17 N/A
6 Manchester City EPL 4 17 6
7 Napoli Serie A 2 20 18
8 Roma Serie A 3 21 19
9 Inter Serie A 4 23 17
10 Arsenal EPL 2 23 5

It would be easy to assume that the clubs with more money are able to cast their nets beyond their own market to secure foreign talent and therefore, they are more likely to have multi-national squads. It is certainly true when you consider that the top 10 clubs according to KPMG’s European Elite paper record the following percentages: Real Madrid (41%), Manchester United (26%), Barcelona (41%), Bayern Munich (34%), Arsenal (23%), Manchester City (17%), Chelsea (16%), Liverpool (37%), Juventus (32%), Paris St. Germain (35%).

All of these figures are supported by the CIES list of expatriate players currently plying their trade in foreign leagues. Of the 500-plus Premier League players, 61.8% are expatriates. This is around double the total for France (30.5%) and way ahead of Italy (56.2%), Germany (46.8%) and Spain (40%).

The trend has been rising for some years and today, across Europe, the percentage of expatriate players stands at 38.7% with only 19.2% of current squad players reared through clubs’ own systems. Again, in England, despite clubs’ extensive youth schemes, very few players graduate through the ranks.

What do these figures tell us? Firstly, it confirms the problem England has, that domestic football has been bastardised to such an extent that the top teams are merely collections of hired guns lured by financial reward. The problem isn’t only England’s, but surely with statistics like these, the FA has to take notice?

www.gameofthepeople.com

2 replies »

  1. But restricting who a club can hire only results in lower quality sport, which in turn means that you’re not playing against the best of the best. Having a “foreigner cap” or any such system will not make English Footballers better (this applies to all industries btw). If English Footballers are not making the first team, then they clearly are just not good enough.

    • You’re probably right, they are not good enough, but is that because they are not nurtured as management is all about short-termism? I think that’s the root of the problem, the clubs are not looking ahead enough and the nature of the game doesn’t allow it. The Premier has the money to buy from anywhere, so managers (who are only short-term) and club administration opt for quick answers – therefore young players are not given the time to develop. A cap on foreigners might not make players better, but it might mean players are given time to develop by playing. Thanks for your message.

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