Players' union ready to fight for at least three 'home-grown' players in European teams' starting XIs

English youngsters are struggling to come through

Good luck to the Professional Footballers' Association, who ventured into territory where plenty of others have gone before by calling on Uefa to stipulate that European teams should have at least three "home-grown" players in their starting XIs.

Evidence is everywhere that the PFA's concerns about the prospects for young British players are justified. The BBC revealed that English under-21s made up 2.28 per cent of the total minutes played in the 2012-13 season, with Manchester City, Chelsea, Swansea, Stoke and Wigan failing to field an English player under 21 all season.

The new figures fall behind Italy (2.38 per cent), Spain (3.40 per cent), Germany (6.22 per cent) and France (7.32 per cent). Some of Europe's other big five leagues have also seen a fall in the use of young players over the past eight years.

But European Union laws prevented previous attempts to introduce quota systems and in a recent interview Uefa's president, Michel Platini, was adamant that European legislation remained an impediment to change.

The PFA hopes a Europe-wide plan for the inclusion of three players educated by the club for three seasons between the ages of 16 and 21 – and regardless of nationality –would avoid a potential legal minefield. But the Premier League argues that an average of between three and four English players start matches currently, which does not include players from other UK and Irish nations who might be considered "home-grown". It also points to its own rule that is in place, meaning each top-flight squad of 25 players must not include more than 17 "non-home-grown" players.

There can be no doubting the wisdom of David Pleat, currently an Under-21 Premier League technical match observer, who says: "Some of the financial prizes for rising one place in the Premier League are so high now that clubs will jeopardise their youth in order to get those financial rewards."

Take Chelsea's midfielder Josh McEachran, who three years ago looked as if he would become the first English player since John Terry in 1998 to graduate from the club's academy and become a first-team regular. He has made just five appearances for Chelsea, spending the last season and a half on loan at Swansea and Middlesbrough.

It has been argued that the current regime has encouraged clubs to recruit even younger players from overseas so that they ultimately qualify as home-grown. But the Premier League argues that 96 per cent of eight to 18-year-olds registered at Premier League academies are British and 90 per cent of 16 to 18-year-olds at the academies are British.

The quota system is highly unlikely to change. The struggle for British boys is a by-product of our global league. The level of coaching – and seriousness about the profession – must improve to allow the British to compete. Work is under way to ensure that. The problem is that it will take a decade to translate into a better England team.

News
Sir David Attenborough
people
Life and Style
Young girl and bowl of cereal
food + drink
News
Comic miserablist Larry David in 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'
peopleDirector of new documentary Misery Loves Comedy reveals how he got them to open up
Arts and Entertainment
Henry VIII played by Damien Lewis
tvReview: Scheming queens-in-waiting, tangled lines of succession and men of lowly birth rising to power – sound familiar?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
football
Arts and Entertainment
'The Archers' has an audience of about five million
radioA growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Ready to open the Baftas, rockers Kasabian are also ‘great film fans’
musicExclusive: Rockers promise an explosive opening to the evening
Life and Style
David Bowie by Duffy
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
Hell, yeah: members of the 369th Infantry arrive back in New York
booksWorld War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel
News
advertisingVideo: The company that brought you the 'Bud' 'Weis' 'Er' frogs and 'Wasssssup' ads, has something up its sleeve for Sunday's big match
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
i100
Environment
Dame Vivienne Westwood speaking at a fracking protest outside Parliament on Monday (AP)
environment
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness