English players now account for less than one third of all the minutes played in the English Premier League, according to a study from BBC Sport using statistics from Opta. The ‘State of the Game’ study found that 31.8 percent of all minutes played came from English players, down from 35.25 percent in 2007-08.
The figure is significantly lower than other European leagues, including Spain’s La Liga, in which Spaniards account for 59 percent of all minutes played, or the German Bundesliga, in which Germans account for 50 percent of minutes played. In total, foreign players account for 60.9 percent of all minutes played in the Premier League so far this season, up from 56.9 percent in 2007-08.
"These are tough times for English football at the moment,” said former England and Newcastle striker Alan Shearer. “Everyone is aware that English football is not as healthy as it should be and I'm afraid it is all going to take time."
Meanwhile, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger had a different view: "There are only two ways you can see it -- you have the opportunity to have the best players in the world in England, so let's see what they have and let's produce players who have the same qualities,” he said. "Or you say, let's protect our players, keep the good players out and let's just play the English players. I believe that we live in a global world. The real question for English football is whether it can produce the players with the needed quality."