Wenger: foreign players are not the problem


Arsene Wenger has, once again, hit out at new proposals which would mandate clubs to have a specific number of homegrown/local players in their squads.

The Frenchman spoke last week about it, suggesting the proposals would do little but ‘protect the mediocre’, and at his pre-Liverpool press conference today the subject was brought up again.

Pointing out quite rightly that England weren’t exactly world beaters when there no foreign players, he suggested that the best players will always rise to the top, pointing out the success of Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling.

In Wenger’s view the proposals fail to address the real issue.

“I believe we are in a top-level competition and you earn your right through the quality of your performance rather than your place of birth,” he said.

“Secondly, I’m happy to, and would like to contribute to the quality of the English national team, but you have two questions you can raise before that.

“What is the heart of the problem? First of all between 1966 and 96 there were no foreign players in England and it didn’t improve too much the performances of the national team.

“Secondly, if between the ages of 16 and 21 the youth teams in England win every single competition in Europe then you could say yes, there is something that we have to do because they are not getting their chance at the top level.

“That is not the case, on the contrary. I think between 16 and 21 the English youth teams, until now, have not performed.

“So that’s the heart of the problem. I still believe when the players are good enough, they play.”

Speaking about specific players, he said, “You speak about Sterling and Kane. Nobody stops the quality, no matter where they are from. So let’s focus on that first.

“Sometimes what looks a good solution is not necessarily the right one.”

The Arsenal manager also refused to drawn on rumours involving a summer move for Sterling who is clearly trying to orchestrate an Anfield exit and who described Arsenal interest as ‘flattering’ last night.

“I don’t want to interfere in that,” he said, “especially 48 hours before the game. That’s down to Liverpool, it’s not my problem.”


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Get kids learning skills, that is what is needed (and not playing many matches when too young).

As I dad I can guarantee that is the biggest thing, everything else follows.

Proff Gooner

Common sense is not very common!


The best players always get to the top irrespective of birthplace.
Gerard, Rooney, Lampard, Terry, Ashley Cole, Campbel and many more have been permanent fixtures in the national set-up.
Spain and Germany do not rely on their leagues but their academies…food for thought for the Dyke and his team.


i do get your point but you shouldn’t qualify if it with “as a dad”. Too funny. Kids are taught to play long ball football and don’t develop the skills of players in Spain, Germany etc. until that changes it’s all pointless.


That is what I was trying to say by ‘get kids learning skills’. Not sure how to make it clearer!

As a dad… (so seeing it happen), the coaching isn’t good enough (Spain have a huge number more of qualified coaches, for example) and kids play too many matches too early so the big boys have a better chance of progressing.

A Yank

Only caveat is that the numbers are about 4 years old but… Coaches with UEFA B, A and Pro Badges:

Germany – 35,000
Italy – 29,400
Spain – 24,000
France – 17,600
England – 2800

But sure, blame the foreign players.

David C

wow, impressive stat gathering. Thanks for sharing.

Unrelated, but does anyone else wish Wenger was also doing Blatter’s job at the FA? I think he would be amazing at it. It’s not that I want him to leave Arsenal, but this man and his opinions need to be respected more by UEFA and the FA.

Andy Mack

Blatter isn’t at the FA. Do you mean FIFA?


I saw a similar stat a few years ago, in an article that also said that in Spain, every school team has a coach with a UEFA licence and every youth club has a coach with a UEFA licence. I wonder if maybe in Spain there is some subsidization of the cost of taking the UEFA courses? England could certainly do with increasing the number of licenced coaches by an order of magnitude or more, and I’d go so far as to suggest that the lack of trained coaches is the real reason why England can’t produce enough good players.

A Yank

Spain also went through a recent spell where politicians curried favor locally by building public recreation centers (so football pitches, basketball courts, swimming pools, etc.). The result is that even small municipalities have excellent facilities. So yeah, combine a relative abundance of coaches with an overabundance of good places to play and, while Spain might never repeat the run from the ’08 Euro that ended at the ’14 World Cup, I would imagine they are in good shape to stay with the likes of Germany and Brazil as one of those countries that are perennial favorites entering just about any… Read more »


The fa have a genuine dilemma on their hands. Do they reduce the quality of the premier league (and thereby reduces it’s appeal and possibly revenues) in the hope that such a move may increase the caliber of English players in the national team?
It’s a tough one, but as a fan, I’d rather focus on the teams that play 4 competitions every year, than the one that only plays one competition every two years.


It doesn’t work. A lower quality league means lower quality English players. We benefit from playing against and with the best players in the world.

It’s too late at that level to improve English players.

Andy Mack

The PL isn’t run by the FA, so they don’t really care about the PL.

Springbank 1962

The best thing the FA could do is to employ Wenger as a consultant – do exactly what he says – and then take the credit when the problem is solved.

Unfortunately they’re fucking useless. If they weren’t already headless chickens they’d have their heads firmly up their own arses.

FA. It does exactly what it says on the tin.

Fergie the Gooner

Don’t worry. Danny Mills has been looking in to it instead, so I’m sure everything will work out ok.

AK 57

FA – Fuck All..

Steve b

Wenger is spot on. The FA are clueless. Why lower the quality of the Premiership just so we improve our chances of winning a tournament that happens every four years! Pointless, pointless, pointless!


Arene Wenger spot on. The English FA have a way of blaming their incompetence’s on every foreigner available. The moment English FA understands that the problem with their football is at the grassroot level and also the price of mediocre English players, then solutions will start to emerge. Look at the hype on Harry Kane, he has only delivered this season, i hope the English press will not kill him like they did Aaron Lenon, Leroy Lita, Jack Wilshers, Theo Walcott and a host of others. Instead allow these players develop and deliver consistently for many seasons, then you can… Read more »


Its almost as if the FA is run by a group of wealthy out of touch daily mail reading UKIP voters who will conveniently point to the nearest foreigner as the source of all their problems…

Hugh Jarse

Hey, don’t run down Reading, its a lovely town


I have much respect for Wenger for the fact that he’ll never give credibility to any form of transfer-play that borders on the sneaky (brinkmanship, tapping-up). It’s a shame the English media never gives him any credit for that, or his incomparable wit (let’s not even mention his too-subtle-for-them tactical nous) but are always looking at ways to make a pantomime villain out of him by highlighting his indignant comments or actions which happen once in a blue-moon (case in point, that once when he was sent to the stands against Utd. That image has been replayed so often, it’s… Read more »


Hes such an intelligent football man, have a debate with you will come out of his office 10 times wiser


Can ‘t remember who or where but it’s been said that English coaches have been known to kill skills in young players in favor of grit, strength and endurance.


Apparently if you nutmeg a defender in this country the response is to be on the end of a two-footed legbreaker. According to a respected pundit, nonetheless.


The home grown quota is quite silliy actually!

If English talent can’t opportunities because of foreign players and FA go down the quota route than fixing the problem, then what chance would those home grown players have against the foreign players in the International tournaments the FA wants to win?!

It’s not the quantity but the quality. They need only a good squad of 25 players. By increasing the pool size to choose from doesn’t improve the quality of choice!

Chimichanga Monreal (cuz that's way more fun to say)

Agree. Just more shite to choose from.


More clubs need to have a philosophy like arsenal and southampton. If you are good enough you play regardless of your age. English clubs and the national team are political entities that preserve a fairly rigid power structure. They dont play players on merit, For years Gerrard and Lampard where undroppable which meant that scholes, carrick and others rarely got a chance in a midfield structure built around them – even when they did and england played well – gerrard/lampard inevitably came back and resludged the midfield. The simple truth is that the gerrard lampard debate should have been which… Read more »

Rosicky's Little Toe

Well said!


How many Spanish, Brazilian etc etc kids have Xbox PS3 and ps4? I bet not many coz there outside playing real football!!
Could that be a small factor as well?


Maybe except from 1967-1997 English kids mostly didn’t have them either….

… and its not exactly stopping the english rugby team from being the second best team in europe.


The problem with English players/team is that they require/expect all the glory without the hard work. Also they lack confidence as a group of players when the pressure is on. If Greece can win the Euro’s with virtually no top class players then you know that the Premier League is not the problem. When it comes to internationals, team display is more effective than individual brilliance. I remember that game against Germany in the 2010 world cup where they displayed familiar naivety to the gunners, when they left themselves exposed at the back trying to chase the game. they need… Read more »






Another day of Wenger slapping down the silly whores in the media and the FA.




I scored 10 on 11. Got the reciprocity in love question wrong. Thought that was Aristotle, it was Arsene on Walcott and the club loving each other.


Wenger has hit the nail on the head. It’s a culture and identity change England and the FA need. The Premier League is the most exciting and entertaining league in the world but isnt as good as good technically. It’s full of players like James Milner who can run all day but isn’t as gifted technically. When English teams come up against European opposition they get found out as you don’t have to run so much if you know how to keep the ball. Italy, Spain, Germany, France have ways of playing And bring their youths up with their thinking.… Read more »


Players need to go play in other leagues too.


This. A thousand more times.


english players overhyped too early+mediocre youth coaches= average national team and average results.
The FA should appoint Arsene or like someone wrote get him as a consultant.

Wenger Admirer

Not long ago, at the start of the new millennium, there was a time when German football was in crisis. No really, a serious crisis – they couldn’t even win major trophies anymore, just get beaten in finals! Seriously, they realized that they were getting behind the rest of the world in terms of their football: traditional German virtues of discipline, resilience, and work ethic were no longer going to cut it in the modern era where technique and possession based tactics were proving superior, and they realized and recognized that fact. What they then did, in truly German fashion,… Read more »


Agree totally, spot on. Why is this so hard to achieve in England? Why are 5 ex-England managers backing the UKIP option of restricting foreigners rather than improving our coaching and the skills of our kids? Plus many PL managers (except the bright ones, which seem to include Tony Pulis (!!!))? Instead, spend 1% or so of the new TV money coming into the PL on youth skills coaching and see better, more skilful players coming through, more interest and involvement in the game, better national sides. Though this will happen in 10 years and thereafter, difficult if you are… Read more »

Chimichanga Monreal (cuz that's way more fun to say)



Here comes the Walcott + £1 offer to Liverpool for Sterling.