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It's all those foreigner's fault

The president of Spain’s La Liga José Luis Astiazarán has said that England’s terrifyingly bad showing at the World Cup is all due to the number of foreigners playing in the league, compared to Spain. Of course this doesn’t explain why England have been rubbish at nearly every World Cup (if they even qualified) since 1970, when for the large majority of the time English teams were powerful European forces and English players dominated the league.

He says that the fact 77% of players in La Liga are Spanish makes it easier for Spain to do well, and is the fruit of their club’s strategy to work with young players rather than to buy in young foreigners and claim they are youth products, like Arsenal do. Meanwhile only 40% of Premier League players are English. Of course this doesn’t take into account that Irish, Welsh and Scottish players have always been in the English league in huge numbers, and nor does it explain why Spain were so spineless for decades at a time. But you know, let’s blame the foreigners, eh? It’s easy.

‘In La Liga there are 77.1% Spanish players, 16.7% European and 6.7% non-European,’ Astiazarán said. ‘Our strategy is to work very hard with young home-grown players and to try to have a mix between them and experienced players.

‘Why is it not a high number of foreign players in La Liga? Because we invest more and more in young Spanish players than in young foreign players. England has many times taken young players from outside who are 14, 16 years old. These kind of players are not English. This is one of the most important differences between Spain and England. We invest in young Spanish players. In Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United there are a lot of young Spanish, French and Italian players – maybe this is why at the moment you are not creating young English players.

‘These (young foreign) players cannot play for the English national team. It's good to have goalkeepers from outside. But how many English goalkeepers are in the Premier League?’

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