England were on the verge of failing to reach Euro 2008 and guess who is to blame? Yes you guessed it, Arsene Wenger and Arsenal Football Club. No sooner do Arsenal reach the top of the League, personel in Football cannot wait to take a pop. Steve Coppell joined in the argument, Jose Mourinho also gave us a blast from the past with his views. They argue that Wenger has ruined English Football with the introduction of foreign players to the Premier League. The simple fact is that as a country we are over ambitious and as a country we are not that great a team.
Players like Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney and John Terry play better for their clubs, why? The reason is because of the team they are playing in. Lampard is not as good a player when not alongside Essien or Makelele. Wayne Rooney is far better when he has players like Ronaldo and Tevez to link up with. John Terry performs better when he has Petr Cesc behind him rather than Robinson. The reason the Premier League is the best in the world is because of the quality players who have been brought in from abroad. They compliment well the English players and there is no coincidence the best footballing side is mainly made up of foreigners. Let me look at the England team a bit more carefully.
GK: Paul Robinson – he plays for Tottenham who are supposed to challenge the top 4.
RB: Micah Richards – He came through the Man City academy and looks a real prospect. He will demand a transfer fee in the region of 20million – that is a lot of money for any club to pay.
CB: John Terry – Again a player that came through the academy and is at one of the best clubs in Europe.
CB: Rio Ferdinand – Bought from Leeds for £30million, shows the cost to take a good player to a topf our club.
LB: Ashley Cole – Brought through Arsenal’s academy but greed got the better of him.
RM: David Beckham – A product of the Machester United – been at a top club all his career.
CM: Frank Lampard – Also at Chelsea brought through the West Ham Academy.
CM: Steven Gerrard – At Liverpool all his career, again in a top 4 team and Champions League finalists.
LM: Joe Cole – Like Lampard he came through West Ham’s academy to move to a top 4 team.
ST: Wayne Rooney – An Everton graduate who commanded another huge some from Man Utd.
ST: Michael Owen – Before his injuries he was at Liverpool and Real Madrid – two brilliant clubs
Other notable players
Shaun Wright Phillips – like Richards a product of the Man City academy but taken for a large sum by Chelsea.
Peter Crouch – at Liverpool aswell but cannot get a game.
If you look at it these players are all at top clubs right now. Most of the players are at Chelsea, Liverpool or Manchester United with others likely to move to one of the top 4 in the near future. So why can’t we step up a level when the pull on the England shirt. It is because they are not that good players. It emphasises again the fact that the foreign players make English players look better than they are. Together they lookc clueless at times. If players were good there would be a larger influx of English players abroad. Only Woodgate, Owen, McMannaman and Beckham have made the move abroad. It is simple that teams do not want our players. They would crave players like Ferdinand and Terry but will never get them as they are at clubs at the highest level already.
A key point there is the fees the top four have paid for certain players. Only Gary Neville and Paul Scholes have come through the ranks at United and that was about 15 years ago. The other English players have cost the club huge amounts: Rooney (£30m) Ferdinand (£30m) Hargreaves (£20m) and Carrick (£18m) all graduated at other clubs. Everton and West Ham have done the work with these players and Man Utd have picked up the product of this hard work. So what about Chelsea? Ill give you one fact here: Chelsea only registered 23 players on their Champions League squad list. Why? They did not have enough players who had come through the academy having arrived before their 17th birthday (3 is the required age). Only John Terry could be counted in this category. Clearly by buying players for vast sums they are helping English football. Shaun Wright Phillips was in the form of his life at Man City with Arsenal rumoured to be huge admirers. He would have got first team football under Wenger but Chelsea had the finacial muscle to get him over the Gunners. Liverpool only have Gerrard and Carragher as English players who came through. Their other english players are Crouch and Pennant, the latter an Arsenal graduate.
David Bentley, Jermaine Pennant, Matthew Upson and Steve Sidwell, what do they all have in common? They all came through the Arsenal academy. For different reasons they moved on. Most of them were not good enough to play for Arsenal but have improved many other Premiership teams. The amount of English players who Arsenal have brought through is far larger than other top clubs, they simply were forced to move on. Only Man City and West Ham have made huge leaps in getting home grown players into their squads. Even now Arsenal has a long line of English talent waiting in the wings. Kieran Gibbs (pictured above) Henri Lansbury and Mark Randall are three of the players who have made a first team appearance. Others include Gavin Hoyte, brother of first teamer Justin, Paul Rodgers, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and Rhys Murphy. These players are mainstays in the U19 team which shows the work Wenger IS doing for the future of English football.
The last point I will make on the homegrown issue will highlight two Arsenal graduates. David Bentley and Jermaine Pennant were moved on due to their disciplinary problems. There is no doubt that when young foreigners come over to England they are here to work hard and imrpove. The draw of London nightlife is far greater for those in the academy than players like Cesc Fabregas. Their old friends are all out partying and many cannot resist. The trouble that is caused from this is too much and the club really has no choice but to sell. The attitude of young English players is one of impatience, laziness and petulance. David Bentley for example could have made it at Arsenal but he demanded for first team football before he was ready.
Other news regarding Arsenal Football Club: Luka Modric is a reported target but with the quoted price £30million, I am not too sure. With Chelsea around they will surely drive up the price and Wenger is not one to be forced into a rash signing. He is a good player granted but is he worth that sort of money. He is similar to Hleb and Rosicky in playing style but I feel we need an out and out winger to compliment the squad.
Another target is supposedly a young striker from africa called Tresor Mputu. If it is true he has more potential the Eto’o at this age then for the small fee he would command, it is wort h a punt. This brings me onto the issue of strikers. With Van Persie returning I hope him and Adebayor can re kindle the form they were in together. However what worries me is that I dont think Hleb is a centre forward and is far better on the left or right of midfield. Eduardo has taken time to settle while showing glimpses of brilliance. Nicklas Bendtner has shown potential but is not yet ready to lead the line. Should the Croation not settle by January I would seriously consider getting another one in. Should Van Persie and/or Adebayor get injured I feel we might struggle for goals come the latter stages of the season. Opinion is split over this issue though.
I pray we get no more injuries this week in the upcoming internationals with England winning 4-3 (Eduardo hat-trick). Van Persie should be back to face Wigan and I hope this is still the case come the end of the week.