Date: 16th November 2007 at 5:30pm
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Sepp Blatter’s and Michel Platini’s plans for quota system dominate the press these days and it seems that everyone feel they must raise their voices and speak out on the matter.

The latest ‘big name’ to do so was of course Steven Gerrard of Liverpool who agreed with those who say the foreigner influx harms the English game in the long run so the limit on foreigners should be introduced.

Evra responded, saying that as United had more English internationals than any other Premiership team, Gerrard surely could not mean us. Stevie Me hasn’t even mentioned United as far as I’m concerned and a much more legitimate point would have been that they have only two Englishman who can be counted as regulars, himself and Carragher. They would be in almost as deep trouble as Arsenal if these quotas were really introduced.

One might say that Stevie Me’s comments show us a remarkable selflessness but then one might remember that it’s Steven Gerrard we’re discussing and would search for other reasons behind it. I can’t find one, though. But I do not really care, either.

What I’d like to say is the whole debate is tedious. The England team, home World Cup aside, were no means better when the clubs were consisted almost entirely of British players. So anyone who expects that the national team’s quality would shoot upwards after limiting the number of foreigners is sadly mistaken. The England squad have more than enough talent at the moment to comfortably overcome the challenges of Russia and Croatia; that they failed to do so surely can’t be blamed on foreigners?

So, would the Premiership be better without them? Without Fabregas, without Ronaldo, without Torres? Maybe it would, who knows, football is a funny old game. But it is pretty damn good at the moment so I don’t know what the fuss is about. The England team had long periods of being crap when the league also wasn’t very enjoyable (the entire seventies). Now the league is great but the England team are crap again. So, is it because of the league? I don’t think so.

I like to see English players at United but only those who are really up to it. I know that in Italy it’s also an issue that some teams don’t field enough Italian players (Inter are widely criticised for it) but Inter fans weren’t really concerned that only Materazzi was Italian AND first choice in their title-winning team.

And one final point. If everyone were forced to play, say, five English players every time, wouldn’t that propel their prices even more upwards? I mean, Agbonlahor for 15m, as rumours say… it’s mad. And their wages and prices would go even further towards astronomic levels if clubs were obliged to field them. Do we want that?