Introducing the future of English Football – The Championship – Pt. 2

By Emily Clark. Just before Christmas, I looked at why the Championship is arguably the best league in English football. Identifying how the undeniably intense competition in the second-tier gives incredible drama week-in, week-out, part one of this argument looked at how ‘players get their heads down and get the job done, allowing the competition to sort itself out with no fuss, ultimately showing British sport at it’s best’. This week, I’ll justify how the Championship is the future of the England’s international success…


I could go to a league match and have only five English players to look at out of 22. That never happens in other countries and it’s worse now because of the imports.

Sixty years ago in the early 1950s, that was how England’s first manager, Sir Walter Winterbottom, spoke of the English leagues with the influx of Irish, Scottish and Welsh players labelled as his ‘problem’. Now, as England fans enquire as to whether a Belgian/Kosovan/Albanian Manchester United starlet is legible for Roy Hodgson’s team, concerns of how much home-grown talent is present in the top English league is snowballing.

The Premier League, as the richest club competition in world football, is a global product with 61 different nationalities represented on the pitch. The benefits of such globalization are infinite and have even helped cultivate English society on a wide-range of pressing issues. However, on average only 32.6% of total minutes in the top flight is played by English players, a 4% reduction since 2007. Whereas in La Liga, debatably the English football’s top-flight rival, Spanish players attain twice as much playing time – perhaps a factor in their International dominance. When it comes to the Championship, British players accumulate 70% of minutes played with 53% of those being English.

In 2005, Arsenal became the first club to play a game in the Premier League without a legible Englishman, something that is ludicrous in the Championship. Charlton Athletic frequently use 11 English players in their match day squad, with Barnsley and Millwall consistently displaying ten home-grown players each. With Joe Hart currently struggling to gain public support and many fans bemoaning that there are few English goalkeepers regularly starting, look to the Championship where there are often up to 14 on show each weekend.

If you are truly keen on seeing the talent that England has to offer, it is the Championship that is proving fruitful and where your attention should fall. Having looked at the relentless competition of the Championship and now the impact the second-tier could have on England’s international chances, next week we will look at the fresh up-and-coming players that the Championship is producing.

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1 Comment on Introducing the future of English Football – The Championship – Pt. 2

  1. Miguel Headley // January 7, 2014 at 2:44 pm // Reply

    Dear Ms Clarke,

    I haven’t read part one of your article nor am I British, but you are spot on. As an international fan, I not only watch the different leagues, but I tend to do lots of research into different aspects of the game.

    After Euro 2000 when Germany were humiliated with an early exit the German FA (not sure what its called off hand) implemented a system where 1) Every club in the top two tiers of German football were required to have a youth academy in order to be eligible to participate in German football and, 2) 51% of the players in the top two tiers of German football must be German.

    In part two of your article you highlighted Spain and I would also like to add that Germany is another good example. When last has their been a major competition and the Germans were not among the last four teams? I think maybe since that Euro 2000 early exit.

    I believe one of the reasons for England’s lack of success on the international stage is due to the international star studded player presence in the BPL, and that most Englishmen in the past have been over shadowed. Now this season, Southampton and Everton are giving the young English talent a chance to shine and those teams are doing well at present.

    Finally I want to mention once again I agree with your point in that the future of English football lies in the Championship.

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