May 10, 2014, 8:40 PM EDT
Football Association chairman Greg Dyke made headlines in England Saturday night after calling the prospect of a Manchester City title “pretty depressing,” commentary related to the executive’s desire make radical chances to his country’s league system. Noting England “[hasn't] got the best development program in the world by any means,” Dyke pointed to Chelsea and City as examples of his country’s inability to produce talent that can compete at the top of the Premier League.
Dyke conceded Liverpool, two points back to league-leading City, has brought through a number of English players, but pointing to the paucity of domestic talent on the league’s two other title contenders fed into his larger point: England’s system needs to be overhauled.
“It’s been a great league this year,” Dyke said. “I think the Premiership has been brilliant. But I think there are probably two [regular] England players playing at City [Joe Hart and James Milner], and two or three at Chelsea [John Terry, Gary Cahill and Frank Lampard], although there won’t be that many next year – that’s pretty depressing.”
For some, the state reflects clubs’ (perhaps over-) eagerness to look beyond England for talent. Others align themselves closer to Dyke, who later went on to note clubs’ incentives to develop talent may not be aligned with The FA’s:
“What do they [owners] care about? A lot of them, because they’re spending a lot of money on academy programs, are saying: ‘But hang on, what am I getting back for this?'” he said. “When Chelsea have not had a player out of their academy and into their first team consistently since John Terry you wonder, well, hang on, this is probably the most expensive academy in Britain.”
That so many in that academy are from overseas is what Dyke finds depressing. It’s also why The FA’s chairman wants to push through his reforms. If England is going to compete — not just on the international team level but also have players compete for playing time at the highest club levels — the country needs to reconsider how its developing its talent:
I always love England because it’s so opposed to any change … “And yet you have to say: ‘Well, hang on, guys. We might have the best league in the world but we haven’t got the best development program in the world by any means.'”
The Guardian has more from Dyke, who seems on the cusp of giving his plan the hard sell. With Richard Scudamore and most of the Premier League said to be against it, Dyke has two months before the league’s summer meetings to draw support.
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