Arsenal academy stats
There are 57 players who went through Arsenal's Academy in professional football at league level but the PFA's report says only five can be viewed as full graduates.
The report says:
* 13 were brought in from abroad, the youngest aged 15.
* Jermaine Pennant was bought, at 15, from Notts County.
* Nine players were already 16 when the Arsenal Academy opened in 1998.
* 15 were at Arsenal in the pre-Academy era.
* Five - Kerrea Gilbert, Ben Gill, Fabrice Muamba, Dominic Shimmin and Anthony Stokes - spent almost all of their pre-professional life in Arsenal's Academy.
By IAN McGARRY
ENGLISH football is in meltdown — and that’s official.
SunSport can reveal the findings of a report commissioned by the Professional Footballers’ Association.
According to the survey aimed at discovering the impact of foreign players in our game, unless there is radical change, English football is heading for oblivion.
And the national team’s failure to make Euro 2008 is just the tip of the iceberg.
The findings make for frightening reading and show that the invasion of foreign players is stifling the development of English players.
It also concludes that the England team will continue to suffer unless the trend is reversed.
Now, more than half those who play in the Premier League are from overseas while fewer homegrown players are being produced than ever before.
Other top nations — such as world champions Italy — have a player base in their top league which is over 60 per cent homegrown.
Questions are being asked about how the national game can be turned around — but even Arsene Wenger, one of the Premier League’s top managers, has been lambasted.
Fellow Frenchman and UEFA president Michel Platini has criticised Wenger for damaging English football with his youth policy at Arsenal.
But Platini believes that importing rather than grooming young English players will damage the game in this country.
Platini said: “Wenger is a friend but I don’t like his system to acquire young players. He never develops someone himself, he only buys the talents. That’s the wrong way.”
In season 1992-93, 71 per cent of Premiership payers were English and only 10 per cent foreign (excluding other UK). Last season saw overseas players rise to 51 per cent compared to just 38 per cent English.
Paul Parker was one of Manchester United’s strong English contingent which won the inaugural Premiership trophy in 1993. He said: “We had Peter Schmeichel and Andrei Kanchelskis at United at the time. For me, one was the Mad Dane and the other the Lunatic Russian.
“They were just two team-mates. I never envisaged a day when the dressing rooms of our top clubs would be over-run by foreign players.”
Parker has watched the numbers grow over the years and has serious reservations about the way our game is run.
The riches of the TV deal and the wages paid by Premier League clubs is one reason why there are so many foreign players here.
He said: “We call it the best league in the world but is it really? It’s the best PAID league in the world, that’s for sure. People argue that the money and foreign players makes the league better — but it doesn’t.
“It only makes the top four clubs better because they can afford the very best players.
“We have to stop kidding ourselves that we have the best league in the world.
“At least in Spain and Italy you can see other clubs coming through and challenging for Champions League qualification spots.
“Here it’s the same four every time and will be again this season.
“It’s no coincidence that Italy are world champions and they have over 60 per cent of Italians playing in Serie A.
“Unless we introduce some kind of quota system to ensure the future of English football then the disappointment we all felt when we didn’t make Euro 2008 will become a familiar feeling.
“At United I lost my place to Gary Neville and saw Scholes, Beckham, Butt and the young lads come through.
“Alex Ferguson is the only top manager who will keep trying to develop English talent but even he’s finding it harder.
“But if you’re an Arsenal fan you know that you’ll never see a top-class England international wear the shirt.”