Roy Hodgson fears for future of top English talent

England manager bemoans tendency of clubs like Tottenham to buy seasoned foreigners because the young English players cannot gain experience

In the most famous meeting between Arsenal and Tottenham, when Bertie Mee's team beat Bill Nicholson's at White Hart Lane to complete the first part of their 1971 Double, the "foreign" element involved in the match comprised a handful of Scots, the Northern Ireland goalkeeper Pat Jennings and Joe Kinnear, an Irish international brought up in Watford. Both managers, needless to say, were of solid British stock.

For this afternoon's 171st encounter, there might be up to eight Englishmen on the pitch at any one time which, as our table shows, is higher than in many recent meetings. Yet similar research into any derby in the Premier League would reveal a clear trend: not only is the number of local lads diminishing but so is the number of Englishmen taking part.

Of more than 100 new signings made by Premier League clubs so far this summer, less than a quarter have been qualified for England. Sunderland and Newcastle, Liverpool and Everton, the two Manchester clubs, Chelsea and Fulham, as well as Arsenal and Spurs, have all bought foreign in a trend of deep concern to the England manager Roy Hodgson.

Spurs' transfer dealings have illustrated a dramatic shift away from the policy of recruiting young English players that David Pleat was particularly keen to introduce in his time as director of football.

It seemed to be briefly back in favour when Harry Redknapp signed the Sheffield United players Kyle Walker and Kyle Naughton, as well as personal favourites Jermain Defoe and Peter Crouch.

But this summer's dealings have been stark: gone, either permanently or on loan, are Steven Caulker, Scott Parker, Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore, four England internationals who made 70 League appearances between them last season (which would have been far more but for Parker's long injury). In their place have come half a dozen foreigners, at vast expense made possible by Gareth Bale's imminent sale.

Andre Villas-Boas defended the strategy before today's game with a familiar argument about prices. "If there was a player in England with the same level, which there are, then it's perfect," he said. "The problem is the valuation practices in England are impossible to be met for the domestic market. Last year we saw a lot of examples that showed it that way. We did business abroad but we could have done it over here. The most important thing for us is to strengthen our side.

"You could make a study on British players involved in domestic record transfers. I can recall [Steven] Fletcher last year from Wolves to Sunderland; from a team that was relegated to a Premier League team. That was for about £10 million. I also remember [Matt] Jarvis, another one, for £12m. These are very, very big amounts."

So, some might argue, are the sums spent on Erik Lamela, Roberto Soldado, Paulinho and the rest. It is not Villas-Boas's job to help the England team, of course. The net effect, however, is of English players at clubs like Tottenham being forced out by foreign imports, almost always to places where they will not be experiencing any European football.

Alternatively, as with promising young talent like Tom Carroll and Harry Kane, they stay but are then restricted to cup games and an occasional substitute's appearance.

Both did well in the dead Europa League tie against Dinamo Tblisi on Thursday night but may yet leave on loan before the transfer window closes tomorrow night.

Hodgson said: "Their path is blocked by extremely talented players. I've worked at Fulham and West Bromwich Albion, and Tom Carroll would probably have played in both of those sides. But he doesn't play for Tottenham. Is that their fault? No, not really. Maybe he's not quite as good as Dembélé, Sandro or Paulinho."

Hodgson praised Spurs, Everton and Liverpool for giving opportunities to youngsters like Andros Townsend, Ross Barkley and Raheem Sterling respectively, but the competition to those players has risen in this transfer window: the three clubs have signed more than 15 foreign players between them.

Because of the top clubs' desire to have two accomplished players for every position, it can even be other English players who hold them back. Hodgson cited Ryan Bertrand being kept out of the Chelsea team by Ashley Cole. He could have mentioned Martin Kelly at Liverpool and might have asked how many games Townsend will be given once Aaron Lennon is fit.

"I'm not criticising the judgement of the coaches," he said. "These players are too good to let go but they are finding it hard to get games. As a nation, we must hope that their lack of games will not destroy their careers, because it could happen.

''Chelsea, like me, think that Bertrand is a very good player and want to keep him. But it's tough for his international career because I can't really pick him [for England] when he's not really featuring in a game unless it's the Capital One Cup and it's basically Chelsea reserves."

Meanwhile, it will be a small irony if Arsenal, heavily criticised for not spending more money, beat a new Tottenham side still not used to playing together.

Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur is on Sky Sports 1 today, kick-off 4pm

News
people And here is why...
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
Voices
voicesBy the man who has
Sport
Arsene Wenger tried to sign Eden Hazard
footballAfter 18 years with Arsenal, here are 18 things he has still never done as the Gunners' manager
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson star in The Twilight Saga but will not be starring in the new Facebook mini-movies
tvKristen Stewart and Stephenie Meyer will choose female directrs
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
books(and not a Buzzfeed article in sight)
News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
Arts and Entertainment
Twerking girls: Miley Cyrus's video for 'Wrecking Ball'
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran performs at his Amazon Front Row event on Tuesday 30 September
musicHe spotted PM at private gig
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
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

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?