The Premier League stat that concerns Arsenal's Wenger

Kieran Gibbs

Arsene Wenger finds the State of the Game report disconcerting.

It is no modern phenomenon that the Premier League has long been filled predominantly by foreign talent, rather than home-grown products, however, the latest findings in BBC Sport's State of the Game report, reveal that English footballers 'accounted for less than a third of the minutes played in the Premier League'.

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Not only is this troubling for the future health of the England national team as it reduces the pot of potential elite-level prospects for the manager to choose from, but it is also even further out of line between the ratio between foreign players and domestic products in other top leagues, particularly Spain's La Liga, which currently is home to the World Cup and European Championship holders and Germany's Bundesliga, a division that contained both finalists in last season's Champions League final.

The news troubles Arsene Wenger, who admitted that the figures are a 'concern'.

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However, rather than focus on the declining quantity of quality Englishmen competing in it's own league, Wenger believes it provides the opportunity for the FA, for coaches up and down the country at all levels of the sport, to hone in on their own techniques so that young talent can be suitably nurtured from a young age and developed into realising the world class potential in the nation.

Wenger, who has Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott, Carl Jenkinson and Kieran Gibbs in his roster said: 'There are only two ways you can see it - you have the opportunity to have the best players in the world in England, so let's see what they have and let's produce players who have the same qualities.

'Or you say, let's protect our players, keep the good players out and let's just play the English players. I believe that we live in a global world. The real question for English football is whether it can produce the players with the needed quality.'

The key points of the study showed that, of all the minutes played in the Premier League, 32% were played by Englishmen, 8% by French and 6% by Spain. Scottish talent came in at 3%, as did Welsh. The Championship, England's second tier, meanwhile, had 63% of all total minutes played by players legible for national team.

image: © Ronnie Macdonal

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