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Too Many Foreigners Can Be A Good Thing

Digsy can’t go back to watching kick and rush top flight football.

Sepp Blatter, FIFA and FIFPro want to bomb English football and the Premiership back to the dark ages with a proposal to limit foreign players in all domestic leagues. The idea is for a strict six plus five, meaning six domestic and five foreigners in every starting eleven.

I’m sure this proposal will have it’s supporters (probably the same people who opposed Sven being England manager on the because he was foreign, when the real problem was that he was rubbish). And no doubt it’s good news for up and coming English stars like Aston Villa’s Isaiah Osbourne. He’ll get more first team chances. But also good news for second rate English players like former Middlesbrough clogger Danny Mills which is bad news for the viewing public.

Remember the excitement of the mid-90s Premiership? Zola at Chelsea, Bergkamp at Arsenal, Cantona at Manchester United. Good times. The sudden influx of quality made the game exciting again and it’s grown into the Premiership we know and love today, with Thierry Henry and other world class talent making England their home.

But if we go back to Englishman making up more than half of all starting elevens, the standard of Premiership play will immediately drop like a stone. There just aren’t (currently) enough English players with the requisite technical ability to maintain the current standard. It’s no coincidence that Arsenal (arguably?) play the most attractive football in England with only Theo Walcott and Justin Hoyte in any danger of making the first eleven. Does anyone really think that there are 11 English players with the technical ability and flair to play the way Arsenal do?

So my advice to Sepp Blatter, FIFA and FIFPro is to think a bit smaller and maybe just mandate for three domestic players. At least that way the Premiership will still be worth watching.