Arsenal and West Ham’s set-up must surely allay fears

Football FanCast columnist Tom Jones wonders if both Arsenal and West Ham's youth set-up should be allaying Sir Trevor Brooking's fears.

England and West Ham legend Trevor Brooking has criticised the lack of action taken by the Premier League on ensuring the development of young English talent. Whilst teams like West Ham, Arsenal and Everton continue to produce top quality English prospects such as James Tomkins, Jack Wilshere and Jack Rodwell, Brooking is concerned that foreign youngsters are filling clubs' academies.

Brooking feels that Premier League chiefs have failed English football and he predicts that the introduction of the new home-grown rule will do nothing to change the current trend in the increasing amount of foreign youngsters that teams recruit. A player is classed as home-grown if he has been in the country for three years before turning 21, and Brooking believes that this will only encourage clubs to stockpile foreign youngsters.

Arsenal have led the way in the recruitment of foreign youngsters in the past, however a large percentage of their youth sides are English players, which dispels the myth that Wenger doesn't rate English players. The Arsenal boss always claimed that it was about quality and not what passport that they may have that made up the ethos of his recruitment policy and Brooking should be encouraged that Wenger has taken them on and it dispels Brooking's fears that clubs will look abroad to bring in youngsters, as if the quality young English talent is there, then as Wenger has proven, he'll look to snap them up.

West Ham are another side leading the way in the development of English youngsters, with James Tomkins, Freddie Sears, Junior Stanislas and Zavon Hines all having bright futures ahead of them. They already have been given first team opportunities and it is up to them to take them and stamp their mark on the team.

There is no doubt that the number of foreign youngsters has increased in Premier League youth teams in the passing years, but this is only natural as managers and scouts are looking for the best young footballers, whatever country they were born in. But does this really prevent top English talent from getting a chance to prove themselves and break into the first team?

It will also be very difficult to implement a law that restricts the number of foreign youngsters that can be recruited, but is a rule needed that stop the transfer of players under 18 years old?

Or should we just accept that English youngsters face greater competition to make it at the top-level and that only the best will prevail?

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