38% Of Premier League Players Are English


How many Premier League players are English as we enter season 2012-2013? Today on the blog Barrie answers the question and breaks down the numbers.


The squads released by each of the 20 Premier League teams ahead of their opening fixtures on the opening weekend (and additions following recent transfers) contains just 38% of English players. On top of that, only 75 of the 220 players who started the opening fixtures were English.

The Most and The Least

Norwich City were the only side to name 8 English players in their starting XI for their opening fixture. The Canaries went down 5-0 at Fulham. Southampton and Stoke City (6 apiece) were the only other sides to field more than half of their starting lineups with English players.

At the other end of the scale, neither Fulham or Wigan Athletic named a single English player in their starting lineups for their opening games. However, both sides brought one on from the bench in the second half. For Fulham, Steve Sidwell scored a late penalty, whilst Wigan's Ben Watson was unable to alter Wigan's 2-0 deficit at Chelsea.

Wigan Athletic fielded just 3 Englishmen throughout their entire Premier League season in 2011/12 (after Victor Moses switched nationality to Nigerian); one of the 3 English players being Callum McManaman who made 2 substitute appearances totalling 18 minutes.

This season, Roberto Martinez's side have given just 6 English players shirt numbers, of which none started their opening game 2-0 loss to Chelsea. Mike Pollitt, David Jones and Ben Watson were all named on the substitute bench, in which the latter made an appearance during the second half.


Why Are So Few Premier League Players English?

A large general consensus to explain the lack of English players plying their trade in the top flight of their own national football league, the best league in the world by UEFA coefficients, is the high transfer valuations of English players. Only last week did Wolves sell Matt Jarvis from the second tier to newly-promoted West Ham United for deal reportedly worth £10.75 million. The 26-year old winger has 3 years of Premier League experience and just 1 cap for his country (a late substitute appearance in a friendly versus Ghana in 2011).

Liverpool paid £35 million for Andy Carroll 18 months ago, as well as £20 million for Stewart Downing and reportedly £16 million for Jordan Henderson last summer. The Reds' attempts to bring immediate success to the club with British talent failed as they finished in a record low 8th position for the club in Premier League history.

The concerns over the English national team due to a lack of English talent playing regular first team football in the Premier League has plenty of voices and these numbers won't make pleasant reading. I am generally not in agreement with these arguments however, given that England do qualify and progress to the knockout stages of both the World Cup and European Championship's time after time. The standard of our competitors has risen somewhat than say back in 1966 and even the mid-to-early nineties when we looked capable of lifting the international trophies. And let's not forget, when the majority of players in England's top flight were English during the mid-80s and early-90s, England failed to progress from a group stage of a European Championship inbetween the tournaments of 1968 and 1996, and didn't even qualify for the 1994 World Cup.

How Many Premier League Managers Are English?

Not only are the majority of the players on the field foreign, so to are the managers of the 20 Premier League sides. Only 4 sides have an English manager in charge; 3 of which all came up from the Championship last season. Newcastle United's Alan Pardew is the only English manager brought forward for last season. Tottenham Hotspur replaced Harry Redknapp with Portuguese manager Andre Villas-Boas over the summer, West Brom lost Roy Hodgson to the England national team and subsequently replaced him with Scot, Steve Clarke, whilst Terry Connor and Wolves were relegated.

How Many Nations Are Represented in the Premier League?

Today, a total of 74 different nationalities are represented in the Premier League. The most-watched football league worldwide. The 217 English players are followed by 35 Irish, 27 French and 23 Scottish and Spanish. Chelsea's new signing Cesar Azpilicueta is the latest player to be added to the list.

During the first ever weekend of Premier League matches following its inauguration in 1992, just 13 non-British or Irish players played the opening round of fixtures. These were:

Eric Cantona (France)

Craig Forrest (Canada)

Gunnar Halle (Norway)

John Jensen (Denmark)

Andrei Kanchelskis (Russia)

Anders Limpar (Sweden)

Roland Nilsson (Sweden)

Ronny Rosenthal (Israel)

Peter Schmeichel (Denmark)

Hans Segers (Netherlands)

Jan Stejskal (Czechoslovakia)

Michel Vonk (Netherlands)

Robert Warzycha (Poland).

The Premier League has come a long way since it began 20 years ago and the quality of players is arguably the best it has ever been. It's richer than it has ever been. Its global audience is bigger than it has ever been. World Cup winners Fernando Torres, Juan Mata, David Silva and Pepe Reina are all signed to English clubs. The Champions League trophy is in the country's capital city, with Chelsea. And as our media dub it time and time again, I agree, it is the best league in the world...

*Statistics produced independently with data of first team players coming from each individual club's official website.



Follow Barrie on Twitter: @BarriesView

And read more of his work at BarriesView.com

Premier League blogger, statistician and fan.