Are foreign imports actually of benefit to the English game?

FFC columnist Craig Davies offers a contrasting opinion on the number of foreign imports within English football and the effect that such players have on England's homegrown talent.

‘Keep English football English', and other related phrases, are all too familiar when referring to the state of the beautiful game within this country in this modern era.  True, this may have its advantages, but would it really be in our best interests? 

This argument has been around for years now, but over the last few months it has been rumoured that the number of foreign players in Premier League sides are to be limited.  I wonder however, whether such an idea would be beneficial in practice?

It was whilst on networking site facebook where I got thinking about this, as I was invited to a group encouraging less foreign players within our league.  I decided to search, just to see how many groups of a similar nature existed and the results astounded me.  Group after group stating that less foreigners are needed in England, some suggesting that it would be in the best interests of the national side. But can't our homegrown players learn from all the talent that is welcomed in to England.  Surely having the likes of Ronaldo, Drogba and Fabregas is not only essential to English football, but also advantageous for English players' development.

Without such players, not only would English football be lacking three of the best players in the world, our home grown talent would not be witnessing this talent on a weekly basis, which would surely hamper their development rather than help it.  The Premier League is said to be the best league in the world, and is this not in part down to the influx of players from all over the world that come and ply their trade in England – bringing with them their own flair and style of play. 

The flip side of this argument suggests that more English players need to be playing week in week out for us to once again compete at the top level nationally.  Are we not just looking for excuses though – masking the fact that maybe our country's best just isn't quite good enough?  If you look at the clubs commonly referred to as ‘the big four', three of these sides have an English backbone.  Chelsea with Terry and Lampard, Liverpool with Carragher and Gerrard, and Manchester United have Ferdinand, Carrick, Hargreaves and Rooney. 

So with all these playing at the top flight domestically, and in Europe, and with many more English players scattered around other clubs playing in ‘the best league in the world', surely preventing the imported foreign talent would damage the talent that already exists over here.  By not welcoming the best players from all over the world, aren't we potentially damaging the quality of the league that in turn would have an effect on the quality of players that England produces? 

The number of foreign players in this country is totally irrelevant, they are among the best in the world, and sending them packing would damage the development of our English youngsters more than it would help them.