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Thu Apr 17 14:54:38 SAST 2014

England's talent pool drying up, says Hodgson

Sapa-AFP | 11 September, 2012 13:550 Comments
England v Italy - International Friendly
Jake Livermore of England in action during the international friendly between England and Italy at Stade de Suisse, Wankdorf on August 15, 2012 in Bern, Switzerland
Image by: Michael Regan / Getty Images

England manager Roy Hodgson admits the pool of talent available to the national team is drying up fast.

Hodgson has had to scratch around for players over the last week as injuries and illness ravaged his squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine.

With John Terry, Ashley Cole, Theo Walcott, Wayne Rooney, Andy Carroll and Adam Johnson all sidelined, Hodgson ideally needed quality replacements with experience at the highest level.

But he was forced to turn to three raw rookies due to the lack of English players currently plying their trade in the Premier League.

Tottenham midfielder Jake Livermore, Southampton midfielder Adam Lallana and Liverpool’s 17-year-old winger Raheem Sterling have only one international cap between them and little experience of European football.

Of the 18 Premier League teams in action on the weekend preceding the international break, only 66 of 209 players who started were qualified to represent England.

That means Hodgson is picking from just 32% of available players, a figure far lower than most other leading European nations, and the England coach Hodgson believes the trend will get worse.

“We can’t deny that,” he said. “Would I prefer to have a reverse of that statistic, with 66% of players being English? Of course I would.

“But that’s not going to happen. The Premier League is fantastic. But it embraces all the top European players.

“One of the other facts we can’t deny is the top clubs know where the best talent is, and often go out and buy it.

“That top talent, at a young age, finds it difficult to break into the team because of the established European talent in front of them.” 

As a former Premier League manager with West Bromwich Albion, Liverpool ad Fulham, Hodgson understands the thought process that goes into buying a player does not involve worrying about whether he is English or not.

“Every club manager has only one duty: to his club,” he said.

“We, as England, can’t start asking clubs to consider us when they’re making decisions about their players.

“We just have to hope that the English talent that’s being produced — and it will be because we have good academy systems - are still to be considered by their club managers and are good enough.” 

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