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FA Don't Need to Restrict Foreign Players to Improve the England National Team

05/04/2015 20:43 BST | Updated 05/06/2015 10:59 BST

FA Chairman Greg Dyke admitted fears that English football will shortly have little to do with English people and so outlined plans for a tough new system of quotas that clubs may soon have to abide by.

Clubs are set to see a reduction in the amount of non-home-grown players allowed from 17 to just 13 and all 25-man squads would have to contain at least two players that have been registered to that particular club for three years before their 18th birthday.

Similar types of rules regarding minimum numbers of home-grown players and maximum numbers of foreign players have already been in existence for a few years already, but the latest proposals are set to get much stricter in a bid to find more Harry Kanes.

At a time when apathy towards the national team was at an all-time high, Kane single handedly got the whole country excited about England again.

Based on the 21-year-old Tottenham striker's performances this season, it is easy to understand why the FA are desperate for more like him. Just a few days after the proposals were revealed, Kane scored within 79 seconds of making his senior international debut - as if to perfectly drive home the point.

But who is set to benefit from the stricter rules? What of the possible negative results? And is there another way?

According to the FA, there is a lack of first-team opportunities for home grown 18-21-year-olds and a lack of regulation in the transfer market to aid a balance helpful towards British players. Therefore in theory, by restricting the number of foreign players that are allowed in any one side, young home-grown players will have greater opportunities and will develop better.

There are countless examples of young players over the years, of which Kane is the latest and most spectacular, who have been given the trust of a manager at a young age and run with it. Going back to the early 1990s, that is exactly what happened to the likes David Beckham, Paul Scholes and Robbie Fowler.

Perhaps the fine line between success and failure in today's Premier League means that managers aren't prepared to take risks with talented youngsters. But the FA hope that having more English players in more prominent club roles will eradicate the issue of not having the enough quality to fill a national squad that can legitimately compete at international tournaments.

However, although it may well slightly improve the national team in the long run, simply forcing managers to field teams of home-grown players cannot have enough of an effect and will surely do more damage than good to club football.

With no English sides reaching the quarter-finals of the Champions League in two of the last three seasons, there is already talk of a brewing crisis and filling clubs with players that aren't good enough will only make things worse in that immediate respect.

Arsene Wenger, who has often been accused of favouring foreign imports over home-grown talent, recently commented that tighter restrictions would essentially amount to "protecting the mediocre," when the ultimate goal should be to develop the best players, regardless of whether they're initially bought in from elsewhere.

The Frenchman likes to nurture his own players from a young age, but individuals bought in their late teens and early twenties don't qualify as home-grown.

On top of complaints about a lack of first-team opportunities, the FA have also identified a lack of quality coaching in England and a lack of quality facilities at grass root level as two other main issues that need attention.

There are around 35,000 licensed coaches working in Germany, 30,000 in Italy and 25,000 in Spain. England trails way behind with just 6,000. As a result, it is rather unsurprising that by the time youth players reach their late teens the majority aren't good enough to make it at Premier League clubs - probably because most haven't been coached properly from an early age.

That part of the plan plainly deserves full focus and attention and solving it would actually render restrictions on foreign players unnecessary. The reality is that if home-grown players were good enough to compete at the very highest level, then clubs wouldn't need to go searching for quality foreigners to the same extent they do now.

It would also help the fortunes of the national team, because there will always be a pool of technically able players that can match their German, Italian or Spanish counterparts.

Unfortunately, the FA seem to feel they need to be seen doing something more visible on top of just training more youth coaches. But we really can have the best at club and international level without the need for drastic measures. It just might take a while to see the results.

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