Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger didn’t mince words when asked recently about the new squad rules in the Premier League that require teams to carry a minimum of eight “home-grown” English players on the 25-man rosters.
The rule was unanimously agreed to by the boards of all 20 Premiership clubs last year.
“Instead of asking ‘we have the best league in the world, how can we make it greater?’ they wonder ‘how can we make it smaller?'” said Wenger. “The rules are a disaster for this country. Ridiculous. They are all artificial and have nothing to do with top-level sport.”
He makes a pretty hard point to argue against. Speaking as an American with little interest in the success of the Three Lions (outside of the Everton players of course), I don’t understand why the League would put a rule in place that could limit the amount of talent in the league. Basically, the Premiership needs to find its purpose. Does it want to showcase the best soccer in the world or does it want to develop Englishmen for the national team. It is likely possible to do a bit of both, but capping the amount of international talent a team not only limits available talent but gives a negative perception.
I mean it’s one thing if lower level leagues (internationally speaking) like the MLS limit international talent because it’s clear that one of the primary goals of the league is player development. But a league at the absolute apex of the sport? Just seems like bad form.
That said, I really don’t think it will be a major problem going forward, and Wenger’s comments are certainly filled with a bit of hyperbole. However, the idea behind them is true. His job is to win cups domestically and internationally, that’s what he gets paid for, not to develop the next English national team players.