I sat up to watch the English match on Saturday, and it struck me (again) just how the EPL has probably terminally gutted any home nations (plus the Republic) team from developing enough home grown talent to compete for a place in the World Cup finals.
Even amongst English people there’s recognition that their own team is just one of many others in the competent but not great category: a function of the greater competition for first team places in their domestic league.
This has a further depressing effect on the chances of Irish, Scots or Welsh players getting time and experience at the top of the domestic game. But, watching England the other night, I think there may be something else at play too.
For me the outstanding outfield players were Welbeck, Sterling and Sturridge. All of them black and children or grandchildren of immigrants.
As this Global Post piece usefully demonstrates sporting excellence across Europe is being carried disproportionately by the sons and daughters of immigrants. In Germany’s case, the loss of immigrant children would be catastrophic:
Germany retain Schalke defender Benedikt Howedes, whose parents were born in Germany though the family has roots in Norway. But they lose superstar Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil, whose father was born in Turkey; Real Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira, whose father was born in Tunisia; and Lazio striker Miroslav Klose, who was born in Poland.
They’ll also take the field without Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng, who has roots in Ghana; Sampdori defender Shkodran Mustafi, whose parents are Albanians born in Macedonia; and Lukas Podolski, who was born in Poland.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty