The Shortage of English Goalkeepers in the Premiership
There are only a handful of English born goalkeepers who are regularly playing each week in the Premiership. The goalkeeper is a specialised position so numbers have always been relatively small. The arrival of foreign players means that most clubs now field a first choice goalkeeper from overseas. In this instance, foreign players are doing more harm to English football rather than helping the sport.
The shortage of English goalkeepers in the Premiership is a concern for the national side. Many years ago the England team was lucky enough to be able to choose from players like Peter Shilton and Ray Clemence. These days you would struggle to name a truly outstanding goalkeeper who is English. There are several keepers who are adequate at Premiership level but none who truly excel and could be labelled world class.
This trend is not exclusive to the Premier League because the second tier of English football has gone much the same way. Championship teams have a number of foreign goalkeepers although not as many as the Premiership does. There is a real concern the English goalkeeper would become something of an endangered species if these patterns were to continue.
There is talk in some quarters of allowing players who were born in foreign countries to apply for British citizenship. This would allow them to play for England if selected. This is one way of solving the goalkeeper problem but it would cause a wave of controversy. Critics argue that such a move would completely devalue international football. The honour of representing the country of birth should be respected and maintained.
Particular attention needs to be given to this position to ensure there are enough home grown players of the required standard. The shortage of English goalkeepers in the Premiership can be addressed. A rule could be introduced where each club could only sign one foreign goalkeeper. This would ensure there would be at least one English keeper in each first team squad.
The author contributes to the English Football Blog website. This is a popular Soccer Blog that provides football news and comment. It covers the premiership and the English football scene in general. He is also the owner of the Soccer Wealth website. This is a Football Betting Tips service that offers profitable football predictions, tips and advice. Information is provided on domestic, European and international matches.