Paul Scholes calls for foreign player limit after England’s early World Cup exit


England were unceremoniously bounced from the 2014 World Cup earlier this week, and afterwards it has led to a lot of soul-searching and head scratching in the English camp. Was the early exit about injuries, a generation getting too old or playing in one of the two toughest groups at this World Cup? Those are a few of the questions and excuses floating around.

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However, former Manchester United and England midfielder Paul Scholes has his own theory—mediocre foreign players are to blame. Scholes believes the premium price placed on English players in the English Premier League.

“We’re going backwards from 1990 and the era of Paul Gascoigne and that conveyor belt of talent,” Scholes said via “Simply, the Premier League is riddled with average foreign players. This is having a detrimental effect on the opportunities for young English talent and our international results.”

While the first instinct may be to dismiss such a claim as jingoistic, Scholes may actually have a point. The article points out that just 32 percent of starters from the 2012-13 season were eligible to play for England.

That number should be alarming, and the English FA is hoping a new setup purposed by the organization will cure what ails the Three Lions. FA chairman Greg Dyke has purposed a “Division 3” which would be made up of 10 teams from the current conference national division and 10 ‘B’ teams from EPL clubs.

Scholes doesn’t think that is the right plan, instead he is calling for a limit on the number of foreign players on EPL teams.

“Yes, we should limit the amount of foreign players allowed in each Premier League squad. Clubs will then only sign the best, and English talent gets priority for development.” 

The former English national team member points specifically to the proposed transfer of young English international Luke Shaw specifically. According to most reports, Shaw is set to transfer from Southampton to Manchester United for £34 million. 

“The proposed £34m transfer for Luke Shaw to United is another example of something which has a bad long-term impact. Clubs are priced out of this market which is why they go abroad for cheap options. For a left-back to be worth £34m shows how silly the game has gone.”

Scholes’ comments may seem like sour grapes, but it’s hard to deny that two straight World Cup group stage exits indicates something needs to change in the English setup.