Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Wenger rips into homegrown player proposals

Arsene Wenger says the FA’s plans to introduce new player quotas stand to damage the quality of the Premier League.

Claiming artificial limits on players is not the answer the Frenchman outlined the new rules could see mediocrity thrive at the expense of the best talent.

Under the new proposals the FA want:

  • Players to have been registered with a club from the age of 15 – down from 18 – to qualify as ‘home-grown’.
  • The minimum number of home-grown players in a club’s first-team squad of 25 to increase from eight to 12, phased over four years from 2016.
  • At least two home-grown players to be ‘club-trained’ players – defined as any player, irrespective of nationality, that has been registered for three years at their club from the age of 15.
  • Only the best non-EU foreign players to be granted permission to play in England.

Reflecting on the plans, Wenger told beIN Sport that the FA would be far better ploughing money into improving coaching standards across the country.

“I believe that we are in the world of competition. Competition means who of you or me is the best one. We have to accept that.

“That means as well that the rules of the game must be structured to favour the best. Or we are not in a competition anymore.

“So we can say one of two things – we protect the mediocre or we produce the best players.

“I personally would support hugely to pay super people who think about how we can produce players from five years old to 20 years old to be as good as they can be rather than protect them through wrong mediocre rules.

“I give you two examples. In Yugoslavia in the past they decided you had to play three players on the team sheet who were under 21. What happened? They became professional subs. It happened in France, too.

“Then they decided you had to play three players under-21 from the start. You know what happened? They subbed all three after five minutes.

“If we want to sell the Premier League for a huge amount of money then we need to say: ‘buy this, this is the best in the world.’ You cannot go against the quality and what is at the heart of our job which is competition.

“The best must be the best. That’s why I will fight against it. I have very little power but I don’t think the idea is right.”

Wenger’s has retained a steadfast belief in the importance of meritocracy in football throughout his career, memorably reflecting in 2008, “I believe that the pride in sport is that if you have the quality you play. If it was my son and he wasn’t good enough, he could never play at Arsenal.

“You have the example of Barack Obama in the United States – that is one of the countries where, if you have the quality, you will make it. When the system brings people to the top just because they have the quality, I think that is right. And in sport that is the case.”

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Mr. White

I love this man. Only one Arene Wenger


Too true.

It’s not like not-so-good English players have nowhere to play. The Championship and lower for example. Then can do a Coq-like step up if they get good enough.


Very true. They are just creating a bigger pathway for mediocrity. It is the easiest route to take for the FA.


Exactly arsene. We only wasn’t your creamy Best.


* edit want not wasn’t.
My comment is not the creamy Best even though it sits at the top. Clearly this blog has philosophical similarities to the FA.


Indeed, and while I agree with his sentiments, surely he could have found a better case study than Yugoslavia, a country that ceased to exist in 1991, while not inventing fantasy about teams making 3 substitutions after 5 minutes- that simply is not true.


You are like that guy from Guardians of the galaxy. “Nothing goes over my head – My reflexes are too fast. I will seize it”
Wenger was speaking metaphorically, using a now non-existant country.


Also, non-Americans cannot be president, so perhaps Obama is actually an example of protectionism?


Why not show PL only in England? Then I have absolutely no problem with homegrown rule. Even better, don’t broadcast PL at all. That will bring englishness back in the game.


Wenger has lost it, the FA is only one step away from bringing the World Cup home – quota for winning the World Cup is the next logical step in this grand plan!


Honestly though, we all watch hours of PL football every week, how many England games do we actually watch with the same enthusiasm each season? 5-7 at year at best. Who really cares about how many goals we beat tiny little nations like Macedonia and Lithuania by? I understand the Fact trying to improve the quality of their main money spinner but the way to do that is by improving international football not ruining the standard of the PL.


Understand the FA *


Or, by investing in the national youth teams and their coaching and training facilities. I don’t buy the ‘race to the bottom’ argument, its illogical and nonsensical.
The PL is an attraction because it has quality players that up the game of their fellow team mates and their aspirations. They (less accomplished UK players) can and will learn from them if they have the talent, wit and application to do so.

Dick Swiveller

Well, I thought it was funny.


The premier league is a global league now despite its location (this in response to only show PL in England)
I love arsenal more than my local A-league team the western Sydney Wanderers.. When WSW lose, I’m annoyed but quickly over it. When the Arsenal lose, I’m devastated


I agree. Also, by the way, the Wellington Phoenix are going to win the A-League this year as revenge for you lot beating the Black Caps in the cricket.


Sensible as ever. Spain and Germany have top players because they have great coaching from an early age, that is what is needed. As a dad I can say a lot of our coaching isn’t that good and young players need more opportunity to play. Our weather doesn’t help. Detailed comments: •Players to have been registered with a club from the age of 15 – down from 18 – to qualify as ‘home-grown’. It is too young at that age to be sure, loads of youth players look good then fall off. •The minimum number of home-grown players in a… Read more »


The age from 5-15 is probably the best years to identify and grow talent. Not everyone will go through, but spot them early on and you can mold them. The issue here is that the FA should address grass roots coaching up to the point where they are picked up by clubs. Enforce the rules here and spend some time and money to solidify that and you’ll have more promising English players in the next decade and in turn be in a position to better the English team. The Premier League is the benchmark – fiddling here won’t fix the… Read more »


Good points. Observing from the sideline of kids’ matches there is too much competition via matches at an early stage (and parents’ pressure). More time getting/improving skills with the pressure off would be great. Kids don’t all progress at the same pace – the Coq wasn’t that great and has shot up recently, this happens throughout the life of a kid, lots of plateaus. Too many September/October/November born kids get early success and get to the PL as they are the biggest/most mature in the school year. Only bringing in competition at a later age would correct this and allow… Read more »


Of course kids don’t all progress at the same pace, but using Coquelin who is 23 as an example is laughable


It is if you haven’t seen him take a big leap forward recently after an apparent plateau in his development.

The age isn’t the issue. As you well know, it is a general point which is perfectly valid at 13 or 23.

Perhaps try to read what is actually being said rather than being rude. And get into the issues, let’s hear what you have to say to on this to take it forward.


“Kids don’t all progress at the same pace – the Coq wasn’t that great and has shot up recently”. At 23 you are not a kid- I found that funny, laughable. That was not rude, if I wanted to be rude I would have said something like ‘go fuck yourself you self absorbed know-it-all piece of shit’



Still waiting for your positive ideas on the point under discussion, you don’t seem willing or able to talk on this, which is a shame that your intellect is focussed on making points that are pedantic and irrelevant to how to improve football in the UK.

Step up, looking forward to what you have to say on this.

David Hillier Handled My Luggage

insightful and complimentary as usual then………..


OK, based on the arguments here how about this as a proposal: 1. all the PL clubs have to give 1% of their turnover (or 2%, whatever is needed) 2. all 92 clubs, thoughout all the leagues, have to open their doors to any kids that want to practice their skills three late afternoons/evenings a week 3. the money from 1. pays for coaches and one football per kid in 2. 4. the focus is purely on skills only, no matches (the kids can play football at school, local club or wherever at other times) Thumb up if you like,… Read more »


The way to improve English players isn’t to make things EASIER for them, surely. How are they supposed to be good when they’re given a free ride and, statistically, even the top teams will need mediocre HG players to make up the numbers? It’s like Asian nations trying to kick Australia out of their federation – you want to kick the best out to make it easier for yourselves? Really? That’s how you plan to get better? Because to me it looks like you’re trying to give the illusion of success when you do that – results that look better… Read more »


Good point bad example.
Australia came into Asian Federation because they were not able to qualify with better teams around them, so they got themsleves here..easy qualification.
Looks like it did not help them get any better when they were grouped with better teams themselves..

Plus the fact they are as far you can be from Asia.
I think Europe is closer to Asia…
Anyway you get the drift…

Cornelius P. Snuffington III

Are you saying Australia are facing easier competition now in Asia than they were in the Oceania region?

sg gooner

Asian teams are definitely much easier vs 5th place south American team.


In many ways they do. They could win the Oceania qualification almost without trying. — The only time they failed in 6 world cups was the one time Israel got shoehorned into the confederation.

Problem is, winning in Oceania is pretty meaningless, as it doesn’t give you a spot at the finals, just the chance to get beaten (usually by the 5th placed South American team) in a playoff.

While the standard they are playing against now is higher, they just need to be the 4th best team in Asia to get an automatic spot at the finals.


Really? So in which continent is Australia? If my little knowledge of Geography serves me right, it is considered a part of Asia, not just by FIFA. I don’t know if you would consider Australia part of Africa, America or Europe. Ok,I digress. But you get the point.


Australia is in the continent of Australia.

Maybe time to up that knowledge of Geography eh.

Az Ahmed

Both of you are wrong. Australia is in fact a part of the continent of Oceania or Australasia.


Ah! Yes. I don’t suppose Australia would find more competition in Australasia than Asia? Really need to up that knowledge on Geography hehehe.

To Pooh is to Do

Well atleast we know the Continents.. Was watching an American gameshow awhile back.. Damn turds didn’t even know Africa and Australia were Continents.. A nation obsessed with sex..

Dat Guy Welbz

Le Boss is on the money. If you want to improve the standards of young players, you improve the way they are coached. It’s like FA is trying to lower the pass-mark for the exams to increase the pass percentage, rather than training the students better for the exam.


The only thing these new regulations are garuanteed to do is make English players even more expensive. Now we wait for Man $ity to buy Kane for £60m just to let him rot on the bench.


If the top teams need 12 crap English players on their list then they’ll just play the 13 foreigners whenever possible and hoard the best English players to warm the bench. Slight exaggeration, but only slight. You see that NOW with the current rules, that’ll only get worse.


I can picture it clearly…. It is the year 2020 and it is Stoke v Sunderland (both clubs have somehow been bought out by billionaires). 11 world class foreign imports are in the starting XI for both teams as beautiful football is being played and applauded by all around. Then in the 60th minute the manager signals for a substitute! The crowd are bemused as a local lad rushes to the bench and strips off his training bib… the disapproval and concern from the crowd is clearly heard at this point. “What the fuck!!!” a nearby fan screams to the… Read more »


Or possibly Theo Walcott or Jack Wilshere, as it were.


Who gives a toss about quota of home grown players anyway? I for one detest international football and would rather see the best footballing talent play week in week out for my club irrespective of what passport they have. If they think these changes will increase England’s hope of World Cup success they are deluded.

Springbank 1962

What can you say other than Wenger has thought this through further than the idiots at the FA. All this is is a perceived ‘populist’ measure to paper over the gaping chasms in the way the FA has been run over the last few decades. The problem of producing top-flight home-grown players has little to do with talent coming from abroad, but everything to do with the backward mindsets of current coaching that ‘weeds out’ small skilful players and individualism in favour of aggression and the ability to ‘show’ endurance. If Lionel Messi or Santi Cazorla had been born here… Read more »

North Bank Gooner

This topic is the reason I love Arsene, a deep thinker who really cares about football, and cant stand the bellends at Lancaster Gate, who’s bollox does nothing to help the game going forward, but just goes to show that some people are drastically overpaid and underskilled……


Allay lu yea!

Das Gooner

I enjoy the irony of the FA taking the Premier Leagues money from it’s overseas fans and then laying lip service to a national team that most fans don’t care about.

I’m all for international football, but without a focus on grassroots development Artificial measures like these are pointless.

Das Gooner

On the flip side, Arsenal seem to be the only ‘big club’ in Britain that cares about developing and playing British players, so maybe these new rules work best for us!


You’re well wide of the mark on that one, I’m affraid.

Both Man USA and the Bin Raiders have one more home grown player in their squads than we do (not to say we’re not doing well on the list).

Full list here -

Dick Swiveller

Aye, and we all know which of them are going to get actual games and a chance to come through, numbers mean nothing without the will to actually use them.


That plant pot Greg dyke came from Television. Strange that he thinks dropping the standards in play is going to make the next tv deal so much sweeter. No Greg the next TV deal is going to be far far smaller!

Got to look at a big improvement in grass roots football. Most kids play it on there consoles in England.


Let’s hope the Anglophiles at the FA listen to a man who’s forgotten more about football than they’ll ever know! … Tackle the root cause & invest at grass roots coaching level! … I want to see the best football played by the best players! Arsenal offer excellent coaching to young players & if they are good enough with the right motivation & attitude then they’ll make it without nationalistic quotas!


Yes! That’s! Right!

Anonymous Physicist

The only thing in there that makes any sort of sense is the “two from your own academy” rule, as that will force clubs to invest in their own academies, rather than just drive up the price for good players who qualify as home grown to unreasonable levels. Otherwise, these rules are going to be bad for the PL (lowering the average quality of squads) and interestingly enough probably bad for English players as well. Why? Because many of them are going to be token squad members rather than getting into the team. Look at Jenkinson for example. Currently he’s… Read more »

Anonymous Physicist

And off course, the ‘two from your own academy’ rule will probably also create token squad members, but most clubs should try to let them be more than that, possibly giving academy players more of a chance of first team action.


To me that point was the stupidest of them all. You can invest massive amounts in youth development and the results will always be very unpredictable. You could go ten years without a decent youth prospect, and then get five starlets in the next two years. Barca are consistently good in this regard because of their ‘child trafficking’, gobbling up all the under-age best young talents, which they are currently in court for, as we all know.


With this development. Walcott is definitely re-signing.

Anonymous Physicist

There’s another point I want to make as well: the FA are looking at this completely the wrong way. They say: only thirty-something percent of players in the PL are English. But that still means there are something like 200 Englishmen in the league. How many other nations have 200 players playing in the best league in the world? None. How about if we extend it to the top 5 leagues in the world? I bet that makes it 4 other nations (the 4 where those other 4 big leagues are, obviously). Now lets look at the four best teams… Read more »


What’s more, Germany didn’t just force Bundesliga clubs to use more German players, they invested heavily in youth football first, coaching, facilities, science and technology…those Germans did a thorough job. The FA has just ignored the youth development side completely, and now they want Premier League clubs to do their work for them.

Kwami Odoom

My thought is that the last proviso would just increase the gulf between top (read: rich) clubs and below as if only the top players are allowed in then the richer clubs will be the ones who are bringing them in whereas the lower teams will have their fishing pond made a lot smaller.


English players suck. There, I said it. Instead of inventing silly rules, borderline xenophobic, the FA should look at the root of the problem. That said, was something lost in transcription? I don’t think the rules should favor the best, I think they should favor no one so the best truly deserve to be the best.

East Gooner

This is so stupid – I mean they are asking clubs to hoard English players who will do nothing but warm the bench. I think Arsenal is probably the only place where our academy/ HG players actually get playing time. Chelsea – Terry. Man City – Milner, Hart, Lampard (sub- lol) Arsenal – Bellerin, Gibbs, Szczesny, Wilshere, Coq, AOC, Walcott, Ramsey (Homegrown or Academy, )Welbz Man U – They have a lot of mediocre players like Smalling and Jones and Evans in their back. Rooney plays but Wilson and Januzaj are glorified bench warmers So this stat about NUMBER of… Read more »

Ed ' Braces

Not the most relevant comment but I would nearly learn French just to hear his punditry. Love hearing him talk football.


The FA seem to ignore the fact as well that the best players are still rising to the top. Welbeck, Wilshere, Rooney, Sturridge, Sterling, Cahill, Hart and, dare I say it here, Kane.

There good enough so they’re getting games and on top of that it’s with and against the best in the world.

I actually think the England team is the most exciting it’s been for twenty years and yet Greg Dyke wants to tell us there’s a problem that needs fixing with arbitrary rules.

In short, fuck off.

Fabregas' bald head

Wenger is always right when it comes to things like this..this issue is a grassroot problem. Improve the level of coaching. It’s a slow and steady process, but it’s the only way, look at germany, a bigger footballing nation than england in terms of quality, embarked on a 10year project to win the worldcup…this project brought out the likes of ozil, kroos, muller,marin..e.t.c..
There’s no shortcut to happiness..


Locking out other world players will only diminish the leagues status. Certainly would assist MLS in getting HIGH quality players and low Premiers status. You go Brits, you go!

Fred Bowen-Smith
The Kitchen Strand

Percy Dalton

If the FA really wanted us to compete internationally the best way is to tank the UK economy and have our kids playing in the street all day long rather than go to school


Yes, what we really need is more Ravel Morrisons in the world.


Bang on


Wenger is 100% right on this one (I know: you’re reaching for the smelling salts. But sometimes Le Prof does get it spot on). The way to improve the national side is not by banning foreigners but by looking at our grass-roots development. For many decades this country has had a crisis in junior coaching; that’s why even as far back as the Seventies and Eighties England has struggled to make an impression in international football. Every so often a Gazza or a Lineker or a Gerrard would appear, but England’s failure to consistently produce world-class players has led to… Read more »


Interestingly (besides me agreeing completely), is the fact that the FA’s own report flags up 4 big issues: Balance of non-English and Non-EU players in the PL, opportunities for 18-21 year old players, lack of grass roots facilities and lack of quality coaches.

It means even the FA already know where the problems lie, but fixing them would cost money the FA doesn’t have and take a decade or more to put into place.

Much easier to blame the bad PL clubs.


Interesting, thanks. See my proposal above for the last two points.

Surely the first two follow if we correct the second two. It will take time, so needs a commitment from the PL clubs for the cash and the whole of football for the support. It 10 years time it will really pay off though, for the national team, the nation’s fitness levels, the number of English players in the PL, the PL itself and other divisions etc.


England has a mediocre team so they want to move back to the era when the premier league had more english players, forgetting completely that even at the formation of the premier league when it was in the vast majority english players the England national team was still mediocre. English players have the option to play abroad themselves but unfortunately due to primarily financial reasons they only leave when nobody in the premier league wants them or if it’s Real Madrid. When you earn more here in the championship than most in serie a and many in portugal/spain do theres… Read more »

M Theobald

I’m not saying Wenger is spot on, but the FA’s idea is typical of those with a modicum of power, in this country. Slap in a quick fix, rather than treat the actual issue. We need to make it cheaper for people to become fully qualified coaches. That will lead to having more of them. Then, more kids have better coaching and become better players. Simple, but not short term. Too many kids are coached badly by, very well meaning, parents. I will probably be one of them, when my boys are old enough, when, if it was more affordable,… Read more »


All hail, Mr. Wenger.


FA are going to ruin the PL. Wenger was criticised for foreign contingent but his introduction of foreign players coupled with more equitable distribution of TV money has actually meant there is now a presence of Foreign players in all teams right down to relegation strugglers. It has raised the competitive level of the game in England and improved the technical quality of English players over the decade. The likes of Ox, Chambers, Ramsey, Jack and Welbeck in particular are all very comfortable with ball at feet compared to a generation ago where the tactic was more hoof and run.… Read more »


“At least two home-grown players to be ‘club-trained’ players – defined as any player, irrespective of nationality, that has been registered for three years at their club from the age of 15.”

Think what this will do to contract negotiations. Players holding the club to ransom!!

Az Ahmed

The biggest problem with English football stems from grassroots level. The main problem for me is the ever rising costs of starting and running a grassroots football team. Sport at grassroots level should be free for anyone who wants to participate, kids should be encouraged to play. At the moment they are not. Second, the level of coaching is poor. We as a nation are stuck in the 80s. We need to invest in getting young coaches through, and to change the mentality of coaching to a more technical and skilful style, right from the ground up, otherwise we will… Read more »


The thing is I see nothing in this proposal that makes future England teams better. I see the quality of English teams drop with this proposal so less European success. And English players even more scarce in Europe.The best teams in the world don’t just rely on their league to produce national team players. Sorry England I think this is just a nationalist agenda rather than trying to improve English football.


Here’s an obvious problem.
Let’s say you have the necessary home-grown players in your squad. Just.

Then FC Cuntalonia or somesuch meet the contract buyout clause (EU says you can’t stop ’em) and poach one.

How do you replace a player who you had to sign at 15? Time travel?

Greg Felton

I have the greatest respect for Arsène Wenger, but on this point he is wrong. Unless the premier league mandates a quota system, the quality of British football will continue to deteriorate and PL teams will be little more than a league of mercenaries.

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