FOOTBALL Association chairman Greg Dyke last night warned that England risks missing out on the next Harry Kane if clubs do not embrace his plans to increase the number of homegrown players in the Premier League.
Tottenham youth product Kane, 21, has gone from fringe player to the top-flight’s leading scorer in less than a season and looks likely to win his first senior international cap on Friday.
Dyke believes Kane is representative of the talent being developed in leading academies but largely denied first-team opportunities due to the preponderance of foreign players in Premier League squads.
The former BBC director general has already persuaded the Home Office to make it more difficult for non-European Union footballers to obtain work permits to play in Britain from next season.
His next target is to persuade Premier League teams to adopt stricter quotas on homegrown players, and plans to attend Thursday’s meeting of top-flight chairmen to argue his case.
“An English kid who was out on loan, who was touch-and-go to get a game in the first team, is suddenly the top scorer in English football,” said Dyke. “It’s great news. How many more Harry Kanes are there out there who just can’t get a game?”
Premier League clubs have operated quotas on homegrown players since 2010, but Dyke is proposing three measures to tighten them. He argues that players should have to have spent three years at an English club before turning 18 – not 21, as the current rules state – to be deemed homegrown. This could dissuade English clubs from signing youngsters from the continent instead of promoting domestic prospects.
Dyke also wants clubs to agree to increase the mandatory number of homegrown players in their 25-man squads from eight to 12, and adopt rules obliging them to include two club-trained players who have spent three years in that team’s youth ranks before turning 18.
Club chairmen are expected to resist tougher regulation, but Dyke pointed to the shortage of England-qualified players present the Champions League in support of his proposals.
“In 2014, just 23 English players were playing Champions League football,” he added. “That compares with 78 Spanish players, 55 from Germany and even 51 from Brazil, and the numbers will only get worse. If we want to maintain a national side capable of competing against the world’s best, we need change.”
Done: Work permits
From next season non-EU players will have to come from a nation ranked in the world’s top 50, rather than top 75
Proposed: Homegrown quotas
Increase from eight to 12 of 25-man squad; introduce requirement for two club-trained players; stipulate homegrown players must have spent three years in England before age of 18