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Paying the Price for English Players - For Passport As Much As Promise.

Wednesday 29th June 2011
The extortionate premium slapped on English players has been thrown to the forefront of the sporting media as two of the country's most promising youngsters, sharing only one England cap between them command a combined fee of up to £40million.

Those in question are Jordan Henderson and Phil Jones who, as you will know have signed for Liverpool and their bitter rivals Manchester United respectively. Although it's obvious that they have not been signed on the basis of their current ability, the inflated fees of English players has come under scrutiny - but is it justified?

As FIFA implement a new quota where by eight players from a 25 man squad have to have been developed under said country's national association, the big club's scurry - sparking bidding wars for home grown players who possess the most potential.

The influx of foreigners in the Premier League over the past decade is sure to have affected youth players pushing through and so with less young British talent around, transfer fees have obviously rocketed. Although there is no incentive for lesser clubs to spend money on British talent when they can acquire cheaper foreign options, it may entice clubs into giving the home grown youth a chance at the top level on a more frequent basis.

Even if Liverpool's current transfer policy under Dalglish in particular is commendable, it is widely debated as to whether it is practical, despite FIFA‘s new ruling. A record transfer fee of £35 million for a striker who had only played half a season in the premier league could be seen as unreasonable to say the very least. Whether Liverpool will get their moneys worth - only time will tell.

With the likes of Ashley Young, Stewart Downing and Gary Cahill all likely to move clubs in the close season, their eventual fees are sure to be compelling. Both Young and Cahill have only one year left on their contracts, yet both are sure to be sold for around £15million - with United already in talks with the Villa winger.

A poll in The Guardian asking readers whether British talent is overpriced, illustrated clearly that the public are undivided in their opinion - with 92.2% answering yes.

Yes, FIFA's new rule has driven prices to the extreme and will continue to force clubs into paying big money to meet their quota. The truth is, the English player himself will command a certain fee, but it's his passport that most clubs are paying for. There is no doubt the likes of Andy Carroll, Jordan Henderson and Phil Jones have a bright future in the premier league, but the extravagant price tags put on players who are so far unproven at European and International level is exorbitant.

As for the English national team, many have blamed the arrival of foreign players in England for the lack of confidence shown in youth, arguing that it is to the detriment of the national side. But with so many young English players sought after by big clubs playing at the highest level, surely only England can benefit.  Then again, if any managers were watching England under 21's versus Spain on Monday, you couldn't pass blame if they were inclined to continue signing players from abroad for better value. The likes of Javi Martinez and Juan Mata controlled the midfield, even with Liverpool's new £20 million signing present for England.

As a fan, I'm happy enough to watch my team spend big on home grown talent as long as it pays off in the long run. Whether the likes of Henderson, Carroll and Jones are the future of English football or just more over-hyped youngsters remains to be seen. In my Opinion, only one question remains. If an unproven central midfielder such as Henderson costs £20million in 2011, how much will Jack Wilshere be worth in 3 years time?

Craig Hannan

Follow me on Twitter @Craiglfc7

Or visit my blog - http://craig-hannan.blogspot.com/
Craig Hannan

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