Guardian writer David Conn hits the the nail precisely on the head on the roots of England’s struggles being the Premier League and the pressure to win and subsequent glut of foreign talent.
That practice has gone now, and the gap between Football and Premier Leagues widened to a chasm. The answer to the argument about the 1970s and 1980s is that the Premier League was formed in 1992 explicitly to repair the defects, of coaching and fixture congestion, identified then to have weakened the national team. Instead, as Richards said correctly, the Premier League clubs refused to reduce the top division in size to 18, and now do not dare put faith in youngsters they themselves have coached since the age of eight. Instead, they sign mostly overseas players as fully-formed stars. Michael Essien played 116 league matches for the French clubs Bastia and then Lyon, before Roman Abramovich slapped £24.4m down to buy him for Chelsea. Given that the manager, Avram Grant, was sacked for finishing second in the league and not winning a Champions League final penalty shoot-out, it is hardly surprising that he did not feel inclined to give a single graduate from Chelsea’s academy a first-team start last season.
To bring this back to US for the moment, this as one of the few real benefits of the MLS salary cap. It does force clubs to play young players, because they can’t afford to fill the roster with experienced pros.