Each year since the 1973/74 season, the top-flight players in England get to vote on who they think should win the PFA Player of the Year Award. Below is a list of all of the previous PFA Player of the Year winners…
Over the past few years, there have been countless articles and worries about foreign players ‘invading’ the Premier League. With English talent becoming more and more expensive, interest in foreign talent has risen above the need for young English players. We uncover which Premier League teams favour foreign players over English talent, and which team has the most English players in their roster.
AFC Bournemouth – 17
Simon Francis Callum Wilson Lee Tomlin
Steve Cook Tyrone Mings Glenn Murray
Dan Gosling Adam Smith Joe Bennett
Tommy Elphick Junior Stanislas Callum Buckley
Marc Pugh Ryan Allsop Sam Surridge
Charlie Daniels Elliott Ward
Crystal Palace – 12
Joel Ward Dwight Gayle
Scott Dann Zeki Fryers
Patrick Bamford Connor Wickham
Frazier Campbell Jordan Mutch
Wilfried Zaha Martin Kelly
Alex McCarthy Jason Puncheon
Everton – 13
Tony Hibbert Gareth Barry Matthew Pennington
Leighton Baines Ross Barkley
John Stones Leon Osman
Phil Jagielka Tyias Browning
Aaron Lennon Mason Holgate
Tom Cleverley Brendan Galloway
Liverpool – 14
Nathaniel Clyne Danny Ings Jerome Sinclair
James Milner Cameron Brannagan Connor Randall
Joe Gomez Jordon Ibe
Jordan Henderson Jon Flanagan
Daniel Sturridge Jack Dunn
Adam Lallana Jordan Rossiter
Manchester United – 10
Phil Jones Luke Shaw
Wayne Rooney Jesse Lingard
Chris Smalling Sam Johnstone
Michael Carrick Nick Powell
Norwich City – 13
John Ruddy Declan Rudd Jake Kean
Andre Wisdom Harry Toffolo
Lewis Grabban Matthew Jarvis
Jonny Howson Nathan Redmond
Cameron Jerome Ryan Bennett
Gary Hooper Gary O’Neil
Sunderland – 9
Billy Jones Danny Graham
Wes Brown Duncan Watmore
Lee Cattermole Josh Robson
Watford – 3
West Ham United – 9
Aaron Cresswell Reece Oxford
James Tomkins Elliott Lee
Andy Carroll Kyle Knoyle
Total English Players – 183
As you can see, AFC Bournemouth boast the most English players in their first-team squad, with 17. Upon discovering this, my natural assumption was that this is due to them coming up from the Championship last season. However, this theory was thrown out the window when analysing Watford’s squad, which contains a league-low 3 Englishmen. There is no pattern in newly-promoted teams having more English players than current Premier League sides, however, this may suggest that it is not only the Premier League which foreign talent swarms to. The problem of English talent being pushed out by players from other countries seems to stem lower down the leagues than England’s top flight, and this is rather alarming for England fans.
Last season’s champions, Chelsea have a mere 5 English players in the squad, as do second place Manchester City, neither of them are anywhere near having the most English players in their squad. This too is a worrying statistic as it suggests that English players are no longer competing for major trophies; the teams with more foreign players seem to be doing better than those who promote English talent. Liverpool, who have the most English players in their squad out of the traditional ‘top teams’ have not won the Premier League before and recent years, have only challenged first place once. Despite having the most English players in their team, Bournemouth find themselves just above the relegation zone; bad reading for anyone willing English talent to prove their worth.
So, does the problem source from a lack of investment in home-grown talent? Or are young English players simply not as good as their foreign counterparts? Raheem Sterling’s move from Liverpool to Manchester City for £49million last Summer suggests that English players are over-priced – would he be worth that much if he was say, German or Italian? Andy Carroll, the previous most-expensive English player has not exactly been worth the £30million Liverpool paid Newcastle for him back in 2011, having been shipped off to West Ham where he has spent most of time injured. How can English clubs increase the amount of English players among their ranks? Does it come down to investment in youth? Or do we need to restructure the way we allow foreign players to come into the Premier League? Answers on a postcard.
It is no secret that former World Cup, UEFA European Championship and Champions League winner Víctor Valdés has been frozen out by Louis Van Gaal in recent months at Manchester United. In July 2015, Van Gaal announced that Valdés had been transfer listed and was subsequently not given a squad number for the upcoming 2015/16 Premier League season after he allegedly refused to play for the Under-21 team. Since then, Valdés has not appeared for the club, finding himself far down the pecking order, behind David De Gea, Sergio Romero and the youngster, Sam Johnstone. Recent reports even go as far to say that Valdés has not been allowed a locker at the club’s Carrington training ground and must train alone, whilst simultaneously suffering with the humiliation of being left out of the official Manchester United team photograph despite still being contracted to the club.
Despite suffering from becoming an outcast at the club, Valdés is not alone in being frozen out of a big Premier League team; here are four more players who have suffered a similar fate to the isolated shot-stopper.
Nicolas Anelka – Chelsea (2011-2012)
On 3rd December 2011, Chelsea manager André Villas-Boas announced that Anelka, along with centre-back Alex, had both handed in transfer requests. After completing a move to Shanghai Shenhua on 1st January 2012, Anelka made claims against Villas-Boas stating that he had been forced to train with the youth team. Furthermore, the former Arsenal, Real Madrid and Liverpool man revealed that he was forced to use a separate changing room away from his first team compatriots, was left off the invite list to the club’s Christmas banquet and, to add insult to injury, he was banned from using the first team car park, having to use the local community car park; in short, Anelka was well and truly frozen out at Chelsea.
Carlos Tevez – Manchester City (2011-2012)
On 27th September 2011, Carlos Tevez found himself on the bench against Bayern Munich in the Champions League. With his side 2-0 in the second half, Roberto Mancini called upon the Argentine to come off of the bench and help his team win the game. What followed was, in Tevez’s words, a ‘misunderstanding’ between himself and the manager as he refused to enter the game, much to the condemnation of pundits all over the footballing world. As a result of his refusal, Tevez was initially suspended for 2 weeks, however after the involvement of the club’s owner, Sheikh Mansour, he was placed on gardening leave and was frozen out of the training ground until the situation had been resolved; the only football he could play during this period was with his international team, Argentina.
Florent Malouda – Chelsea (2012-2013)
Florent Malouda, the second player on this list who has been frozen out at Chelsea, like Nicolas Anelka decided to hand in a transfer request after becoming disillusioned at the club. Despite receiving various offers from clubs away from Chelsea including from his former club, Lyon, Malouda insisted on not taking a pay cut to leave the club. So he remained at Chelsea throughout the season and, having been left out of the squad for every competition, there was no way back for him. After refusing to apologise for criticising manager Roberto Di Matteo’s training regime, and pulling out of a proposed move away from the club, Malouda was made to train with the Chelsea Development Team. The former French international saw out his contract and was released on 30th June 2013; this whole debacle cost Chelsea over £4 million in wages paid to Malouda.
Emmanuel Adebayor – Tottenham Hotspur (2013-2014)
Emmanuel Adebayor is much like Marmite: he is either loved and hated, depending on where your allegiances lie. André Villas Boas (seemingly our pantomime villain in this list) was by no means a fan of the Togolese striker. At the start of the 2013-2014 season, Villas Boas ordered Adebayor to train with the Spurs youth team and was left out of the official Tottenham Hotspur team photograph, reportedly due to the fact that the striker was not in favour of Villas Boas’s training methods, and questioned him publicly about them. For the rest of Villas Boas’s tenure he was well and truly frozen out, and he played only 45 minutes, as a half time substitute in the 6-0 drubbing to Manchester City at the Etihad. Karma came swiftly as Villas Boas left the club by ‘mutual consent’ on 16th December 2013. The incoming manager, Tim Sherwood instantly gave Adebayor his striker berth back, and was well repaid when he ended the season with 14 goals in 25 appearances.