English players hit record low as Gareth Southgate begs Premier League clubs to give young players a chance

Just 54 of the 220 starters in the top flight last weekend were qualified to play for the Three Lions — a record low percentage of 24.5.

FA chief Martin Glenn is desperate to increase that figure by restricting clubs to 13 overseas players in first-team squads from the current 17.

Glenn, though, has been rebuffed by clubs, who will not even meet the FA halfway.

England boss Southgate has shown his commitment to youth by bringing Joe Gomez, 21, Jadon Sancho, 18, Ben Chilwell, 21, and Harry Winks, 22, into the senior set-up.

But he worries the situation for home-grown talent is getting worse at club level. He said: “What’s clear is that we can’t allow the trend to continue as it is. At what point do we stop?


“Last season the average was 33 per cent, then it went below 29 and this weekend it was below 25 for all teams.

“Nobody can tell me that if players are good enough, they will come through. That is not true. There are plenty of players who are good enough.

“Everybody saw the success of the national team in the summer.

“We still want a competitive Premier League that brings a focus to our country. It’s just trying to find this missing piece of development.”

Southgate said he understood why managers were reluctant to take the plunge with young players.

He added: “When the positions of so many managers are precarious, I can understand why they are loathe to risk it.

“That’s why it’s important we sit down and talk through how we bridge the gap.”

Sancho and Arsenal’s Reiss Nelson, 18, are burning up the Bundesliga in Germany, and the England boss suspects others may follow their path and move abroad.

He said: “If players had a couple of years of first-team experience, it is easier for their manager to select them.

“We have seen evidence that being brave enough to go abroad can lead to a proper opportunity. It will happen more and more.”

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