Alan Shearer and Michel Platini support homegrown plan

Thursday 26 Mar 2015
Michel Platini and Alan Shearer
Alan Shearer and Michel Platini have added their support to the FA Chairman’s plan to boost the number of homegrown players in the top flight in this country.

Greg Dyke this week set out his proposals to boost opportunities for young English players, which included a tightening of work permit regulations for non-EU players, and changes to the rules on what proportion of Premier League clubs' squads must be homegrown.

England legend Shearer, who made his debut for Southampton as a 17-year-old, says Dyke is “absolutely right” to address the steady decline in playing opportunities for youngsters in this country.

A young Alan Shearer in action for Southampton

A Young Alan Shearer in action for Southampton

Shearer said: "The problem is the manager of England has a much smaller pool of players with top-flight experience to choose from than his counterparts in countries like Spain, Germany, Italy and France. 

“And one reason why is that our young homegrown talent is not being given the opportunity to play regularly in the Premiership and the Champions League because managers too often prefer to buy foreign players. 

“The FA is absolutely right to propose these changes if we are to ever have a chance of winning the World Cup again. 

“We share the same perspective. We will work hand-in-hand to defend an idea that we think is the right one”

Michel Platini UEFA president

“We simply have to give the best young English players the chance to show what they can do on the biggest stage – Harry Kane is proof that we have the talent."

UEFA president Platini believes the proposals should be taken further: “We’re not only talking about England, we’re talking all of Europe. 

“Mr Dyke’s struggle is something we share and we agree with him. 

"With the new leader of the European Commission it is important we establish close relations to see how we can protect homegrown young players. 

“We share the same perspective. We will work hand-in-hand to defend an idea that we think is the right one.”

Earlier this week some of the most important voices in English football offered their support to the reforms recommended by Dyke.

Gary Lineker took to Twitter on Tuesday: “Hugely encouraged and applaud @FA initiatives. Encouraging our young English talent in opportunity, facilities and coaching. #homegrown”

Writing in Tuesday’s Sun, Rio Ferdinand said: “It is necessary to put rules in place to force clubs to pick developing players – or at least make it harder to ignore them. 

“For me it is not just the imports who should be given time, it is the youngsters. [A managers’] job is about results and they feel they cannot afford to take any risks.

"But the owners need to afford the managers time to blood youth.

“Surely there is no better sight than a homegrown talent like Harry Kane at Spurs, or James Ward-Prowse at Southampton. 

“Increasing the quota of homegrown players at every club is a hugely important move.”

Rio Ferdinand

Rio Ferdinand in action for England

Former England defender Phil Neville said in an interview with the BBC: “Pumping millions into academies is superficial unless your manager buys into the vision of producing young players for your club.

“I see plenty who have a vision until the age academy football finishes. Then there is a massive black hole young players drop into and just get lost.

“People ask if the Class of '92 will ever be reproduced. I think it will if the rules change and we stop importing average players from abroad and start giving our players a chance.”

Measures set out by the FA Chairman

• A tightening of existing work permit regulations for non-EU players, to ensure only the most talented non-EU players meet new criteria. These changes were approved by the Home Office on Friday 20 March and will come into force on 1 May 2015.

• A proposed change in the definition of Home Grown Player to any player, irrespective of their nationality, who has been registered with any club affiliated to The FA or Football Association of Wales for a period of three years prior to the player’s 18th birthday (currently the definition states a Home Grown Player has to be registered with The FA or FAW for three years before their 21st birthday).

• A proposed reduction in the maximum number of non-Home Grown Players permitted in a club’s first team squad of 25 from 17 to 13, phased over four years from 2016. This would have the effect of ensuring that in a squad of 25, 12 players would have to be Home Grown.

• The proposed introduction of a requirement that at least two Home Grown Players are also club-trained players (a club trained player is defined as any player, irrespective of nationality, that has been registered for three years at their current club prior to their 18th birthday)

By James Callow Content manager