The build up to the Burnley vs Chelsea match on Monday night was dominated by a couple of big talking points, who of Chelsea’s new boys would start? Would it be Cech or Courtois?. But for me the most intriguing point was the Burnley squad. As some of you who watched Sky’s coverage of the game may have picked up on, the entire 18 players in the Burnley squad were born in Britain. With 10 of the starting 11 eligible to play for England.
It was a refreshing sight as stats often show us that the Premier League is the worst of Europe’s top five leagues in terms of the amount of home grown players playing and is often suggested as a cause of England’s struggles on an International stage. It is an argument that I agree with. The majority of the Burnley team are not good enough to play for England, the two exceptions who may go on to have an International career are Keiran Trippier and Danny Ings, but if English players are not given a shot at the highest level then we will never know. An obvious example of this argument is Rickie Lambert, playing in the lower leagues for the majority of his career, no-one would have thought he would one day go to a World Cup in Brazil.
Burnley’s budget was one of the smallest in the Championship last season and is dwarfed even further in the Premier League, but teams like this could be a blessing in disguise for the national team. With a budget too small to bring in average players from abroad like most Premier League teams do, they are forced to develop young home grown talent.
If Burnley prove the doubters wrong and retain their Premier League status for next season, I hope it will prove to owners and chairmen that they do not have to cast their net far and wide through South America and Europe to find success.