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Comment: England will not win another major tournament because there are too many foreign players in the Premier League

Thu 14th Aug 2014 | Club & Country Competitions

England will not win another major tournament because there are too many foreign players in the Premier League, according to the boss of Britain's leading football coaching company.

Chris Shaman today said the lack of quality English players in the top division - which resumes this weekend – was the reason for our worst performance at a World Cup in 56 years.

Roy Hodgson's men crashed out of the tournament in Brazil last month when they failed to win a match and did not qualify from the group stage.

And Mr Sharman, 34, of Challenger Sports - which teaches children as young as 18 months old - blames the amount of foreign players in the Premier League.

Six in ten players are foreign and research indicates the Premier League has the second-largest proportion of foreigners in Europe, behind Cyprus.

League champions Manchester City fielded no English players in their starting 11 when they lost to Arsenal in the Community Shield on Sunday.

According to Mr Sharman, the problem starts with grassroots football - because children are put under too much pressure to win games.

Instead he believes they should be taught the basic football skills which will make them a technically better player.

Mr Sharman, who has travelled across the world educating coaches and teaching children football skills, said youngsters in Brazil are not concerned about the result of games they play in.

He said they are just interested in developing their skills and try to enjoy playing in the streets, instead of putting everything into winning the game.

Mr Sharman said: "When I was in Brazil, I realised children do not care about the score - they do not even keep count.

"Instead, they just want to play football, be creative and try different skills and tricks, and in the end, they will become a better player.

"But in England, parents put a lot of unnecessary pressure on their children to win games of football.

More foreign players started to come over to England when the Premier League started in 1992. And because the grassroots infrastructure in England is weak, professional clubs are forced to look elsewhere and sign youngsters, he said.

Mr Sharman, from Southampton, Hants, added: "Now the academies at the big clubs are starting to bring in more foreign players and that is where the problem is - we need to change that.  We need to be supplying these academies with quality players.

"Premier League teams typically take on children aged from eight years old and they will only be able to work with a handful of players.

"Children should be learning key ball skills when they are young, not how to win - winning should come later.

"In England we are not focusing on individual skills and the basics and we are not producing two footed players or creative players.

"This is damaging the national team and England will not win another major tournament in this current state.

"The lack of English players in the Premier League will definitely hinder our chances in future tournaments.

Mr Sharman writes the curriculum for the football programme called Tiny Tykes Soccer, which teaches children as young as 18 months old.

He has been coaching football for 19 years and began at the age of just 15 at his local football club in Crowborough, East Sussex.

The company now has 15 TinyTykes soccer schools across the UK including Manchester, Glasgow and Swansea, it has a further 15 plus schools delivering Brazilian-based coaching for 5-18's, a specialised Goalkeeper programme and an innovative Freestyle Academy delivered in partnership with World Football Freestyle Champion and multiple Guinness World Record holder, John Farnworth. The company's UK division follows on from the success of its North American arm which in 2013 saw over 200,000 children attend programmes in 3,500 locations in America and Canada.

A team of 75 coaches have been trained to deliver the TinyTykes programme in the UK over the past year with a further 350 in America and Canada.

He continued: "TinyTykes is all about fun and making football fun. Ideally, we want children to be able to use both feet by the age of five.

"There is not the same amount of pressure on youngsters who live in Spain or Germany.

"Having a cap on the amount of foreign players could work but

it would be tough to implement.

"It would make more sense if the cap started in the academies.

"A club would just say there aren't enough good young English players. Why would a club fill their team with these players?

"But it is now getting out of hand with the lack of English players in the Premier League.

"You could enforce a rule which says you must have one English player in a starting 11, and then next season it could be at least two players and so on."

Image: Action Images / Lee Smith

Posted by: Kev Howland 

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