Retired Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher, 35, has claimed that it is a riskier strategy to integrate an academy product into a club's senior squad than it is to purchase cheap and foreign talent which is why the Premier League has too few quality Englishmen and an abundance of elite-level foreign talent.
'English football is not packed with foreign teenagers taking the place of local talent. If you look at the latest team sheets of the biggest clubs, at Under-18 level you uncover something astonishing… something that new FA chairman Greg Dyke will welcome,' said Carragher to the Daily Mail.
'Chelsea, FA Youth Cup finalists for the last two seasons, included some exotic names, such as Fankaty Dabo, Ola Aina, Mukhtar Ali and Jay Dasilva, in their team. They are all English. Arsenal had ten English outfield players, Manchester United started with eight, Everton also eight as did Liverpool and Tottenham. Manchester City had seven.'
When looking at the team-sheets, Carragher explained that he was pleasantly surprised at the outcome… a predominantly English, if not British, first 11 existed in virtually all of the most notable clubs in the country.
However, not all of these players are progressing into the senior side because of a: the attraction to foreign markets and b: because of a bogus home-grown rule that counts foreign footballers to be home-grown if they have been playing/living in England for over a three-year period.
'It is a big con. Any foreign teenager can become ‘homegrown’ if he is with a club from three seasons before the age of 21. Homegrown should be exactly that.'
He added: 'The one at Liverpool for whom there was real hope was Dani Pacheco, who joined as a 16-year-old from Barcelona in 2007. Dani played for Spain at every level from Under 16 to U21. He was slight, but talented, a gifted young player with good balance and two good feet.
But he left Liverpool this week after five league appearances and four loan spells to permanently join Alcorcon in the Spanish second division. He was born in Pizarra, near Malaga, but under those existing Premier League rules, he counted as a homegrown player. This is what Dyke must fix.'
FA chairman Dyke recently stated that he wants the England national team to be in such good shape within the next seven years so the Three Lions can achieve a semifinal finish at the 2020 European Championships, prior to a World Cup victory in 2022.
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