Monday, 9 September 2013

Do AFCB owe it to the national team to field more English players?

I was reading a piece in the Mail on Sunday this weekend on what Rio Ferdinand was saying about the English game and the lack of home-grown players in the Premier League being a disgrace. He sites the pressures on chairmen for the influx of foreign players and calls for some kind of stipulation for a minimum number of English players in teams and squads.

EU laws make this a tricky area when dealing with freedom of movement and equal opportunities in the job market. But do clubs like AFCB in the Championship owe anything to the national team in way of recruiting more English players and developing them in their academies? It is a difficult question to answer as an AFCB fan. I want my team to do well and if that means going abroad to buy the best players and to develop them, so that the Cherries can compete in the Championship, then I don't see that we are doing anything different from other clubs wanting success. 

I also want England to do better than it has in recent times at international level, but you wonder if the English players are pricing themselves out of contracts at Championship level. If they are not getting a chance in the Premiership they should be holding their own in the Championship, but the signs are that more foreign players are being seen even at Championship level.

Looking at AFCB I counted about nine non-English players in the squad, although most of the foreign players still have home nation nationality. Recent key signings though have included Tokelo Rantie, Mohamed Coulibaly and Jordan Holmes perhaps the club is being forced to look further afield than it has in the past for players that will make a difference. However, the improvement being shown in players like Sam Matthews, Joe Partington, Jayden Stockley, Josh Wakefield and Josh Carmichael shows that the club is looking to get more English home-grown players in the team. 

 Sam Matthews (standing behind Purches) is trying to
 make the transition from the Development squad to the first team.
Can Jordan Chiedozie build his career at AFCB and
be one who progresses to the first team?
Still, if the owners brought over a few Russian players as good as Roman Pavlyuchenko I don't think many AFCB supporters will mind that much. 

If you look at near-neighbours Southampton FC you will see that they have managed to develop such English players as Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain and, even by giving Ricky Lambert a platform in the Premiership, they have helped England's national team. It would be great in the future if AFCB was able to say something like that.      

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