9+9: A Rule that could rescue the National Team?


After another disappointing World Cup for England, people are at it again with the blame game. Who’s to blame? Teams who buy all the foreign players? Those who play the odd English player in their starting 11? The overhyping of young players coming through? Well, here’s our view!

Being a Newcastle fan, a team in the mid-section of the Premier League, I think it’s a mix of the above. For teams like Newcastle, they simply cannot afford British players! Recently they enquired for a young English midfielder believed to be Will Hughes of Derby, a Championship and England Under 21 star. The quote was £14m – and for a player completely unproven in the top level of English football a price too high for the risk factor there.

Now look at players they have purchased in the past – Moussa Sissoko (£2m), Yohan Cabaye (£4.5m), Hatem Ben Arfa (£5m), Mathieu Debuchy (£5.5m) and even recently Siem De Jong (£7.5m) – all a fraction of the price quoted for Will Hughes and all full international players – Sissoko, Cabaye and Debuchy all staring for France during the World Cup. It’s a no-brainer for the teams outside of European football – bargain players who are full of quality. Lets take a look at the squad who went to Brazil, and the cost of them:

  • Luke Shaw – £27m
  • Phil Jones – £18m
  • Chris Smalling – £10m
  • Jordan Henderson – £20m
  • Adam Lallana – £25m
  • Wayne Rooney – £27m (10 years ago…to be fair)
  • James Milner – £24m
  • Daniel Sturridge – £10m

Now take a look at prices of players who didn’t even go to the World Cup:

  • Andy Carroll – £35m + £17m
  • Stewart Downing – £20m + £10m
  • Marvin Sordell – £6m
  • Jack Rodwell – £12m
  • Jermain Defoe – God knows, but a lot!
  • Ashley Young – £15m
  • Joleon Lescott – £24m

There is evidence that if you get them young enough and work with them, they will cost peanuts – Joe Hart cost Man City a few hundred thousand. Gerrard, Wilshere etc are youth players. Baines didn’t cost Everton too much, nor did Phil Jagielka. The problem is a lot of young talent is released when they don’t set the world alight straight away, and then rebuild careers in the lower leagues, and often ending up out of the game completely. Teams in this country are all too quick to chuck out English kids for a foreign lad they have scouted and picked up for a measly fee, who will no doubt end up released as well.

Newcastle again are a prime example – when Dennis Wise came in he brought a host of foreign talent like Baheng, Soderburg, Zamblera, Adjei, Vuckic and more who were stars of the future. All have failed and have either been released, or in Vuckic’ case are about to be sold off, having made no impact whatsoever. Look back at years gone by – the likes of Shearer released, who cost them £15m a few years later.

It’s a well known fact that rmost English players are overhyped and massively overpriced. In any other country, they would be picked up by the top teams for a couple of million, and loaned out, possibly with all sorts of clauses like Sell On Percentages (for when those dopey English clubs offer them 10 times the market value).

Smaller clubs also are a little to blame – when they do produce quality they expect to be paid well – and that has carried on with every team thinking “If Carroll/Jones etc is worth £XXX million, our player is worth at least £XX million” as proven with the likes of Hughes. Only the top clubs can afford it, and pay it – Man Utd have paid hundreds of millions for top English talent in the past – Ferdinand, Rooney, Carrick, Jones, Smalling, to name a few. The precedent has been set, and now 80% of the Premier League cannot afford them.

Even a player like Micah Richards, who has barely played in a couple of years, is valued at over £8m, with wages of £60,000 a week being mooted for moves to either Newcastle, Liverpool or Arsenal. And rightly so, the likes of those teams are looking abroad for better value, as with the Financial Fair Play rules deem a club cannot make a huge loss and qualify for Europe. For the price of 1 ‘Talented’ English player, you could get 3 or 4 international class foreign players. I remember when Carroll went to Liverpool for £35m – in his place Newcastle brought about 6 or 7 players and paid for their contracts!

The blame lies in many places, in fact everyone is to blame. To start with very few produce any decent players, and waste far too much money on foreign players which could go towards the education of their own. Clubs are also to blame, asking ridiculous fee’s for their precious youngsters. Players are also a little to blame, the attitude of some of them once they have ‘made it big’ is atrocious. They simply follow the money from then on, with success being 2nd on their agenda.

They have got themselves into this trouble, the FA have stood by and let it happen, as have the Premier League. the 6+5 Rule did not catch on for all sorts of legal reasons, but I have a simpler idea – 9+9! 9 English players must be in the match day squad, with 9 foreign players. it will allow plenty of foreign players to get a game, as well as giving 9 English players the chance to get a game. On average around 60 English players get regular game time each weekend in the Premier League – that’s 3 per team on average. This rule would mean 180 would have the chance of playing, and is not restricting the amount of non-British players in the line-up, allowing 9, which is plenty!

The way things were seen at this World Cup, England qualifying was an achievement. 25 years ago anything less than a Quarter Final was seen as failure. The FA and Premier League are too busy trying not to offend anyone, and keep everyone happy. Yet they are ignoring the main thing – making England a competitive team again, not helping other nations who see the Premier League as a finishing school for their youth players!

This suggested Rule would increase the number of English players in matchday teams, and increase the quality, giving more a chance to prove themselves. It would give the national team more players to select from too. Clubs would carefully consider who they buy, and think more about using home-grown players. In short, it would totally benefit the league and national side, and possibly bring down the harsh prices of England players, since there will be more around. Youth teams would use less foreign players…It would just be so much better!

Well, that’s my thoughts, what are yours?