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National problems – England

Every two years we watch our national side crash out of a major tournament, as our high, unreachable expectations grow bigger and bigger.

As the likes of Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard push and surpass 30, we will need to start bringing in our young players in at one point. But have they even been fully prepared to go out and represent our country, not just internationally but domestically? Nope. The Premier League has the lowest percentage of U21 players out of all the top leagues. Most of our youngsters that will soon be gracing the senior international level barely even have Premier League experience! While we watch teams like Man City and Chelsea splashing the cash on expensive (sometimes overpriced) foreign players, the next generation of England’s players barely make the pitch!

We’re about to field these U21 players into the first team soon. It’s not international experience they need, they get that from playing for our U21s! Let’s take England’s U21 right back, Adam Smith. Since 2008, he’s played for Tottenham once. He may be entering the senior team a couple years from now, but he hasn’t got any Premier League domestic experience. Or Wilfried Zaha. Yes, he’s made over 100 appearances for Crystal Palace, doesn’t mean he’s now ready for the World Cup! We, England, are very lucky to have one of the top leagues in the world, yet our youngsters are experiencing barely anything of it! To get them ready for the England squad, we need them to have decent international experience, which we’ve got. But we also need them seen in the Premier League, playing against top players, so they can gain experience for when they step on to the world stage, rather than them having no clue.

Aston Villa had a shaky season fielding their youngsters last season. But those players now have some very valuable experience with them. They’ve played with a struggling side, they’re used to the Premier League, they’ve learnt some valuable lessons from their mistakes. When it gets to next season, they’ll have a boost of confidence in the league as opposed to the youngsters at top clubs like United, City and Chelsea who have barely even seen past the dugouts.

It’s evident some things need change. The “homegrown rule” was a disaster, but with the new Elite Performance Plan, and with arguably the best stadium and best training facility on the planet, there’s no room for complaining.

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