United Champions - British playersSteven Gerrard this week joined the growing number of people concerned about the influence foreigners are having on England’s National team. The fact that England haven’t won anything for decades, even when there were no foreigners in our league, seems to have passed everybody by. The fact that on paper England has one of, if not the best first XIs in the World, therefore proving that producing English talent has not been a problem, also seems to have crept under the radar. The reason why England have struggled so much to qualify for Euro 2008 is nothing to do with the lazy players, with too many of them seeming far more concerned about money than football, who can’t play together, whose manager doesn’t appear to know what he is doing (playing Owen in a friendly days before a crucial qualifier the latest proof), apparently has nothing to do with it. Blame the foreigners!

“Something has to happen,” said Stevie Me. “I’m all for there being a rule change to make sure we continue to have one of the best national teams. If something isn’t done, there will be more and more foreigners and they will take over and that is worrying. I think there’s a concern that talent will eventually stop coming through if foreigners do take over our league. We are proud to say that we have one of the best leagues in the world but the most important thing is that have one of best national teams as well.”

Someone tell me this isn’t the biggest cop out of all time. England have played some dismal football, despite boasting the talent of Captain Terry, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Michael Owen, Joe Cole, Wayne Rooney, Micah Richards, Rio Ferdinand etc., and now that is going to be blamed on the amount of foreigners in the Premiership? Absolutely ludicrous.

Our favourite Frenchie, crazy Patrice Evra, this week responded to Gerrard’s comments. “I don’t know if he said that, but we do have five or six England internationals in our team,” he said at a press conference in France. “So if he said that, he was not talking about United.”

Patrice is spot on. When looking at the English players United have on their books who have played for us in the league this season, (Gary Neville – prevented through injury), Wes Brown, Rio Ferdinand, Michael Carrick, Danny Simpson, Owen Hargreaves, Paul Scholes, Chris Eagles and Wayne Rooney, we can see that five of them are in our first team eleven. If you then add on to that the injured English goalkeeper, Ben Foster, and the British players we have, Ryan Giggs and Darren Fletcher, we have a strong line up, plus one sub, who could give any Premiership side a run for their money.

This is in contrast to Liverpool, who have just two English players in their regular first team line up, himself and Jamie Carragher. It then strikes me as odd that Gerrard would kick up a stink about this, considering even with the millions Rafa has spent on foreigners, that Liverpool don’t come close to winning the title. Gerrard is the last product of Liverpool’s youth team who has had a regular spot in the squad, and he made the break ten years ago. Surely it doesn’t take a genius to work out that Liverpool would be well and truly fucked if Benitez wasn’t allowed to sign foreigners. There’d be no more of the Torres, Aggers, Sissokos or Mascheranos, and in their place, more Pennants and Crouchs. Lucky Liverpool.

Still, the xenophobia surrounding English Premiership players is a feeble and cowardly excuse. The England National Team has no one to blame but themselves, the out of depth McClaren, the money hungry players, and the poor decision making FA. Steven Gerrard is ridiculous to take the bait on this discussion, and for once, it would be nice to see the players who flop for England to step up and be counted. Wayne Rooney recently addressed the topic of his great club form compared to his lacking country form, and he should be praised for doing so.

For as long as England players look for every excuse under the sun, whether their failure can be blamed on Sven, Ronaldo, or foreign players, the longer they will go on to this disappoint this country.

So Gerrard, if you’re looking for someone to blame for England’s disappointments, don’t look in United’s direction!