Trevor Brooking, English football’s director of development, believes that England’s long-term chances of success are being undermined by the growing number of foreign players in the Premier League.
Brooking, who played 47 times for England during his playing career, told the BBC’s Inside Sport programme that there was now a lack of depth of talent in key positions in English soccer.
“(The national team) has to be under threat – the numbers show that,” said Brooking. “I don’t think you can underestimate it. It’s a major concern. In 10 years’ time you don’t want us just being pleased to qualify for tournaments.”
Research by the BBC showed that while 76 percent of the starting lineups that played on the first weekend of the first Premier League season in 1992-93 were English, that figure had dropped to 37 percent on the first weekend of the current season.
Only 10 percent (23 players) of the starting XIs in 1992 were from outside Britain, while this season that number had increased to 56 percent (123).
Brooking said that the foreign players are restricting opportunities for domestic players and this was having a detrimental effect on England’s chances of challenging at major tournaments.
“Last year about 40 per cent of starting XIs in the Premier League were English,” he said.
“With all the buying that has gone on over the summer that will probably fall to under a third. Will there be first-team opportunities for some of our youngsters between 17 and 21?
“If you look at Italy when they won the last World Cup, I think they had over 70 per cent of their league made up of domestic players. Spain, France, Holland, they’re all up there too. Germany aren’t much better than us but we’re the lowest.
“The more that goes down, and the pool of choice reduces, we must come under pressure. In 10 years’ time you don’t want us just being pleased to qualify for tournaments.”