Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Zola talks sense over the dangers of too many foreign players..

Gianfranco Zola one of the Premier League's all time top foreign imports has spoken out about the dangers of having too many overseas stars playing in our top domestic division. The little Italian star is still revered by Chelsea fans and his skills were always appreciated by rivals up and down the land, so when he speaks out about the problems which beset England people should sit up and listen.

It is the diminutive Italian's view that just perhaps we have too many foreign players playing in England and that a better alternative is to restrict the numbers as was the case back in the late 1980s and early 1990s. To underscore the point, as if it were needed, Italy's World Cup winning squad was drawn from its domestic divisions. Yet the top divisions in England and Scotland have been flooded foreign players. No one can argue about the likes of Zola and Cantona but for every one of them there's been 10 also-rans which can and I'm sure has on occasion blocked the progress of young British talent.

There might be an argument which suggests that just perhaps we haven't got enough quality coming through from our collective youth teams any more, but to abandom them at the expense of overseas stars would be to make a long term strategic mistake which will only worsen our national team. That is the big danger.

Zola isn't the first to talk about English players and why our national team fails so miserably, fellow compatriate, former Chelsea team-mate and all round good egg, Luca Vialli, has also given his twopenneth on the differences between Italian and English players. Vialli says that in Italy it is all about winning, at any cost, nothing else matters. Italian players have this strong winning mental attitude, it is one of the reasons that has helped Italy to win the World Cup four times.

One final slightly contradictory note to Zola's views, Inter Milan have just won Serie A by 23 points aided by no less than eight Argentina players. And Milan won the Champions League with largely an Italian team, but they currently have five Brazilians in their squad including Ronaldo, Kaka and Dida plus another seven imports.

Things might be changing on the Italian scene regarding home grown players but winning the top trophies is still a recurring theme. England and English clubs need to do better, despite having three clubs in the semi-finals of the Champions League, I for one remain concerned about the numbers of overseas stars at our top clubs and even at United, a club which has one of the best records for producing home grown talent, we aren't seeing the same numbers coming through. As ever quality is the key, United and all of the leading clubs must do more to ensure we keep on producing top young talent.

Zola talking sense


  1. Hi James,

    This post and the topic in general of how many foreign players should be in the domestic league is essentially the argument about globalization. Is the point of the Premiership and football in England to develop players for the national team, or is the point for each team (United and every other) to put the best available team on the pitch to win matches?

  2. The point of Man United and any another half decent team is to win trophies, but at clubs like United we have a tradition of playing exciting football and in doing so by producing our own local/British players.

    Football clubs might say they want to further the development of the game in places like say Africa, in truth they are only interested in recruiting the best young players from such countries.

    FIFA needs to do more on several levels.


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