It’s a legacy of the Premier League that there’s such a small amount of English players who play week-in, week-out.
So the choice on offer for England gets smaller and smaller year-on-year. You look across the top teams in the Premier League and you’re only finding one or two eligible players playing in those sides.
With the constant injuries at the minute, you’re left with what’s available. Gareth Soutgate must be terribly frustrated that six or seven of his usual picks aren’t available but the good thing, at this stage, is that they still have enough to qualify.
But what would be very damaging is if those same players are injured at the end of the season, going into the World Cup. That would be devastating to the drive to get England to be successful. It’s imperative that those players are fit to go to Russia.
If a player is good enough, then dipping into the Championship is an opportunity. But it would be a shame – the Premier League is such a powerful brand, but around 80% of the players are foreign now, and that’s a particular problem for England at an international level.
ALLI’S BAN WILL HELP HIM
With Dele, it’s like every high profile sports personality today – you have to be the ultimate pro in the public eye to be seen not to be doing the wrong thing. It’s very difficult to manage at such a young age, like him.
In a game of football, when everybody’s trying to achieve what they want to, sometimes there are reactions which aren’t the right ones. There’s been a couple of those for Dele, not so much the middle finger in my opinion, where he’s got himself in trouble. Hopefully he’s good enough to learn from those mistakes.
Often we can learn more from our mistakes than we can anything else. This is a very talented young player who’s in the public eye for the wrong thing at the moment, with the ban FIFA have given him, but I don’t see it as a major incident personally.
I see it as something that Mauricio Pochettino will address, privately, and say ‘look, we don’t want you to change your game but you’ve just got to be very careful with the scrutiny you’re under, and not get yourself in trouble doing the wrong things’.
He’s a great player, and this experience can only help him.