Salary would bring international equality

As we roll around to another International tournament, huge expectancy will once again be placed on the England national team to produce the goods. The question to be asked is why would we place hope in a squad not much changed from the disastrous 2010 world cup in South Africa ?

Despite Fabio Capello preaching that he would give youth a chance after the world cup campaign, the words dissolved like a toilet block in the Wembley urinals once Capello knew he had secured the position for another couple of years. The stale smell of the old guard came wafting back through the corridors, with all the baggage of failed tournaments and false dawn’s  in tow.

And the reason Capello couldn’t carry out what he promised ? Quite simply because the handful of youthful british talent coming through just isn’t good enough for the international stage. The English game in the lower echelons is dying on it’s feet and the british player is becoming an endangered species in the Premier League. The Premier League bosses are more concerned with commerce than the very foundations the game in our country was built on –  entertainment for the masses through home grown players being given the opportunity to play for the teams they supported as kids growing up – add to that the opportunity for them to go on and perform at the highest level for their country.

The foreign owners, coaches and players don’t care about the fabric of the English game, they care about success, money and their own personal reputation. They don’t mind that the british player will one day cease to exist in the big league due to lack of opportunity. Their goal is to bring in the best talent from anywhere in the world, usually at the expense of equally talented british players who aren’t given enough time or confidence to go to the next level.

How do you solve this problem ? For me it’s a two pronged answer, firstly the FA are currently trying to introduce 9v9 football at junior level, the main aim of 9v9 is to breed a new improved technical british player from the grassroots of the game, this is the European model with Spain and Holland major advocates of this type of football. The hope is that over the next ten years, the new british “technical” player will come through the ranks and compete equally with the best players from overseas thus changing the English game forever.

That however, will only provide part of the solution to the problem. For the International game to flourish in this country, the game will have to be taken back to basics. That will include making it less attractive to the foreign investor by imposing a salary cap on player pay, this would instantly see the quality foreign mercenaries leave on a first class flight for their next bowl of milk and honey.

Yes we know it won’t happen overnight just as it didn’t happen overnight that three quarters of players in the Premier League are foreign imports as I write, but it’s the only way the young british talent will be allowed to gain the necessary confidence, mental strength and experience to play in the best league in the world.

How can we English be so foolish as to expect the national team to do well in each tournament that arrives when actually all we have done is reduce the talent pool to pick from over the last 20 years ?  That in itself breeds complacency among the old guard who are practically guaranteed the call of International duty on past reputation, whether they are on form or not. 

The FA have stated their intentions, it’s now time the Premier League followed suit – for the good of the game we created.

John Collins

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