It’s a common debate – “Which league is the best in the world?”.
More often than not, the resounding consensus from football fans, players, managers and pundits is “The English Premier League”. Able to attract some of the best global talent, the Premier League is the home of some of the worlds best players and teams. Attractive football and heaps of entertainment, it would seem the Premier League is the best in the world.
Or is it?
If we look at the World Cup, there is a vast array of talent that has been plucked from a host of different nations and leagues. The Premier League has a good representation at the World Cup, but are the players doing it justice?
Some of the talent that we describe as “World Class” in England, haven’t reached the level that players from other leagues are setting. The likes of Gerrard, Rooney, Aguero, Hazard, Eto’o, Torres, Silva and Toure are declared as some of the best players in England; yet, they have struggled to take that label it into the World Cup.
Then, we look at leagues like Italy, Germany, Spain and France who are producing players who can perform: Pirlo, Vidal, Neymar, Meuller, Rodriguez, Messi, Benzema, Shaqiri, Perisic and more.
The vast majority of these players have been home-grown by their countries and clubs and have been given a philosophy to adhere to as they develop their football. England’s lust for entertainment and self-gratification is overshadowing spending time to develop our home grown players. Immersed in money, the Premier League will buy the players that impress and sell the one’s that fail to succeed quickly.
The demise of English football lies here, not enough is going into the youth but more world class players from over-sea’s are coming in to grab that first team place.
It benefits other countries who are producing a vast amount of players who Premier League sides then sign to play in what is a pot of unbelievable talent. As the next channel of players come through, the Premier League will soon be ready to splash the cash on the talent seen at the World Cup.
Funny how we rarely see any English players playing in Italy, Spain, Germany and France – are we good enough? Thankfully, there is a hope for England. Some clubs are trying to push through English talent; Southampton, Liverpool and Everton are good examples of clubs who have put faith in youngsters and are happy to avoid spending lots of money elsewhere. The “quick fix” option doesn’t always work, maybe clubs should look at the example Southampton have set and see that “nurture and time” can result in developing a crop of great players. Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana and Jay Rodriguez are all on the radar of the “top four” clubs in England. Maybe we don’t have to look elsewhere…
For fans and neutrals alike, the Premier League is brilliant to watch. But if we look at the current state of our national side, I do worry.
By Oliver Baines | June 27th, 2014