Do Aston Villa and Southampton offer hope for England with their domestic-based squads.

Of the big five domestic leagues in Europe, the Premier League has seen the lowest number of minutes played by players based in that nation.

207,413 minutes of action have been played by English players in the Premier League, with French, Spanish and Irish players the closest competitors.

The lack of English players in the top flight has often been used as an excuse for the Three Lions’ failings on the international stage and, judging by this statistic, the excuse holds some weight.

Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United are big users of foreign players, and thankfully, in recent years, Liverpool have looked towards England for their recruitment policy.

Of all the big clubs, they should be praised most highly, but it is actually some of the other teams in the Premier League that could be unheralded saviours of English football.

The likes of Aston Villa, Southampton, West Ham United and Crystal Palace provide the majority of English players to the Premier League, and it is the former two who should be looked at for the future of the England team.

West Ham and Palace have a number of older players in their ranks, but Villa and Southampton have a solid core of young English players who are securing consistent first-team football. The Saints have been doing so in style this season, and although Villa have been struggling, there is enough ability in their team to secure survival and build for next season.

England coaches will rarely look beyond the big clubs when making decisions concerning who to call up. But, while the Premier League flounders and the top clubs import from abroad, the teams who could help the Three Lions will go unheralded and unnoticed.

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