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Saturday 19 October 2013

'We want English talent to match global stars'

Premier League CEO Richard Scudamore outlines in the Mirror plans to help the England team

The aim of the Premier League's EPPP is to produce players such as Townsend and Wilshere

In today's Daily Mirror, Richard Scudamore, the Premier League's Chief Executive, has written about the importance of developing English players in the Barclays Premier League. Here is what he wrote:

We at the Premier League were as pleased as anyone to see Roy Hodgson and the England players complete the job of qualifying for the FIFA 2014 World Cup in Brazil on Tuesday night. It is good for the whole English game.

This weekend club football returns and 360,000 fans will cheer their teams on in the Barclays Premier League. Players from 62 nations will be represented, adding skill and determination in equal measure.

"The belief in the game is we now have a system in place that will deliver"
Richard Scudamore

Around 38% of the players taking the field will be English - about 70 in total. But as Jose Mourinho observed this week, these are some of the best players in the world.

These figures have sparked a debate about the development of England-qualified players and the opportunities available to them at Premier League level.

The Premier League is absolutely committed to playing a central part in that discussion, just as our clubs are to producing more and better home-grown players.

The emphasis being on the better, not just more.

The absolute focus of the new youth development system introduced last season through the Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) is simply to do that. Produce players of the quality of Andros Townsend, Ross Barkley and Jack Wilshere in greater numbers.

We have not come to this point recently. The frustration of England v Croatia on 21 November 2007, when England last failed to qualify for an international tournament was the spur for the Premier League overhauling the development of talented young players in the top four divisions. And the commitment by the clubs to implement the EPPP came before the disappointment of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. 

It has taken a lot of time, thought and effort by the League and the clubs to work out how we can improve. The belief in the game is we now have a system in place that will deliver.

That is why we are investing £340m into elite youth development over four years. That is why we are investing a further £168m into grassroots participation and facilities over the next three years, working with Government, Sport England, The FA and schools. 

The Premier League and our clubs want a strong England side. We understand the benefits to the whole of English football that would come from success in a FIFA World Cup or a UEFA European Championships.

The Premier League will always want to attract the world’s best players. We are proud of the fact we had 99 players on international competitive duty last Tuesday night, scoring 26 goals.

Our challenge is to make sure that we are producing talent that is capable of holding their own in that company.

And that is good for the future health of England as well as the Premier League.

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