Villa highlights the foreign dangers to the Premier League

Impact that Ricky Villa had on English football

Ricky Villa’s new book ‘And Still Ricky Villa’ gives an insight into Ricky Villa’s life before his move to England and after. As one of the most successful foreign imports England has seen it is very interesting the views that Villa expressed in Football Fans Cast’s recent interview. Villa is concerned about the number of foreign imports into England and the adverse effect that is having on the game.

‘We certainly opened the door to foreign players in this country, but I now feel sorry for all the English players as there are perhaps too many foreign players playing in the Premier League. I think that all English teams should have to have six English players in the starting line up.”

This is a very interesting idea, and something that we should all consider. The benefits to English talent would be priceless. No longer could clubs go out and buy talent from abroad, but would be made to surface it in their own academies. Of course these ideas are radical, but isn’t radical reform needed. England will continue to struggle on the world stage if we don’t tackle the amount of foreigners in our game. Of course, English football has improved because of players like Ricky Villa, Eric Cantona and Thierry Henry but there are too many now. Too many that do not have the talent of some of our youngsters. If you look at Inter Milan in last seasons Champions League final. No Italians in the starting line up. Will we have to get to that embarrassing stage before we realise the damage such an influx of foreign names are having on our game.

As well as the issue of foreign players, Ricky Villa’s book ‘And Still Ricky Villa’ talks of the difficulty that players do have in settling in countries, especially England. Ricky Villa’s problems in settling when he first came to London have been well documented, and because of this Villa empathises with Carlos Tevez’ situation.

‘I totally understand Tevez being homesick. Living in Argentina is so different to living in England, completely different so I understand why Carlos will be craving to come home. Not being able to grasp the English language isn’t helping his cause and not understanding only makes you crave home even more.’

It is something that isn’t well documented, but some players, and not including Tevez in this, don’t play their best when they are unsettled. Look at Juan Sebastian Veron when he was at Manchester United. A player of great ability but moving from hotel to hotel with a young family must cause great stress to players. Ricky Villa himself had a hard enough time settling in England – choosing mainly to follow the lead of Ossie Ardiles. Fans should be sympathetic to players who simply find the culture in England too different. It doesn’t make a player a failure or a flop – it sometimes happens and we have to accept that.

‘And Still Ricky Villa’ gives an insight into what a past generation think of the state of the modern game. Villa has some rather interesting views on the standard of the game.

‘Every player has perfect pitches, perfect equipment, but the quality of football is not as good as it once was. It is not just the Premier League its all round the world; boring games – you could watch fifty games over a weekend but only remember one or two.’

Is the standard of football world wide really regressing? Is it because of the amount of wealth the players have and the lifestyles they now lead. Is football the most important part of some of these players lives. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be – maybe its a generational thing. Maybe Ricky Villa is right and the skill is being sucked out of the game.

Ricky Villa’s new book ‘And Still Ricky Villa’ is out now.

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