English players starting Premier League games reaches record low

Gareth Southgate
England manager Gareth Southgate says the number of English starters is "a big concern"

The number of English players starting Premier League games has reached record lows over the past two weekends.

Only 53 players - less than a quarter of all starters beginning games for top-flight clubs in Premier League game week 14 - were eligible to represent England, down from 55 last weekend.

Bournemouth were the Premier League club to name the most English players in their starting side, with seven.

But Chelsea and Newcastle did not name a single English player in their XIs.

Data from analysts Gracenote shows the previous record low was 58 in four different match rounds during the 2015-16 season.

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England boss Gareth Southgate says it is "a big concern".

"There's a lot of investment in academies and young players and there needs to be opportunity and jobs for them," said Southgate, who added that last year the average number of English starters was 33%.

"It's a concern for the clubs as well, everyone is very mindful of the young age group," he said.

"What's clear for everybody is we don't want to see that number diminish further, we just need to work on how we get experience that gives first-team managers the confidence to pick them.

"Managers don't usually have long-term security and so it makes it more difficult to pick home-grown players."

When compiling its data, Gracenote defines an English player as one who is eligible to play for England.

"Although Leicester City's Wes Morgan was born in Nottingham, he became Jamaican in the Gracenote database when he decided to play for that country's national team," said Simon Gleave, head of analysis at Gracenote Sports.

"Similarly, Wilfried Zaha has been given the nationality of the Ivory Coast and Cardiff goalkeeper Neil Etheridge is regarded as a player from the Philippines after the London-born player chose to play for that country in 2008, qualifying via his mother's nationality."

Arsenal, Manchester City and Wolves all named just one English starter in their sides at the weekend.

Of the 53 English players who did start in the Premier League almost half, 26, have already been capped by England.

Gracenote adds that five of the 27 uncapped players could choose to play for another national team - they were Mark Noble and Sean Morrison who qualify for Ireland, Tyrone Mings for Barbados, Andrew Surman for South Africa and Aaron Wan-Bissaka for DR Congo.

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