Premier League game time drops for players eligible for England
England go into the season’s first international break with cause to worry once more about the lack of homegrown players in the Premier League.
Less than 30 per cent of playing time in the early stages of the campaign has gone to players eligible for England, continuing a running concern for national team boss Gareth Southgate.
Here we look at what the data around Premier League game time can tell us.
Struggle for playing time
Of 86,710 minutes played by Premier League players this season, 25,399 have gone to players eligible for England.
That equates to 29.3 per cent of the available playing time, a slight decline on recent seasons as a peak to nearly 40 per cent in the 2020-21 season was not sustained.
Southgate said during March’s international window: “It has been around 32 per cent (in 2022-23) but that’s down from 35 per cent when I took over and 38 per cent in the years before, so the graph is clear.”
The issue has been part of the ongoing ‘New Deal For Football’ discussions between the FA, Premier League and EFL, which covers the post-Brexit system of Governing Body Endorsements (GBEs) for overseas players, as well as financial distribution, cost controls and the domestic calendar.
There have been 161 England-qualified players (EQPs) used in the 39 games so far, with 20 of those playing over 400 minutes including stoppage time. Eight of those 20 made Southgate’s squad for the upcoming games against Ukraine and Scotland, including Chelsea defender Levi Colwill, who joined Arsenal’s Eddie Nketiah in earning a first senior call-up.
Six clubs have so far given over 40 per cent of playing time to EQPs, a list headed by Everton at 49.4 per cent.
England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford has been ever-present for the Toffees along with veteran compatriot Ashley Young, with James Tarkowski just seven minutes behind. James Garner has been a mainstay in midfield, while defender Michael Keane was replaced after two games by fellow Englishman Jarrad Branthwaite.
Newcastle have three English ever-presents in Nick Pope, Kieran Trippier and Dan Burn. Trippier is in this month’s England squad, though Pope was surprisingly left out.
Anthony Gordon is another regular, with significant playing time too for Callum Wilson, Harvey Barnes and Sean Longstaff. Newcastle’s total includes just under 90 minutes for Elliot Anderson, the midfielder selected by Scotland for this window but who remains eligible for England until he makes a competitive debut – potentially against the Three Lions next Tuesday.
Crystal Palace have three players in Southgate’s latest squad – Pope’s replacement Sam Johnstone, Marc Guehi and Eberechi Eze – after giving over 45 per cent of playing time to EQPs. Arsenal are at 43 per cent, Luton 42 and Chelsea 40.
Fulham lagging behind
At the other end of the scale, Fulham have used only two EQPs so far this season and one of those, Tosin Adarabioyo, has played only 12 minutes.
That leaves Harrison Reed carrying the load in a paltry total of just over seven per cent, the only single-figure mark in the top flight.
Tottenham have fared little better at 11 per cent following the departure of Southgate’s captain Harry Kane for German side Bayern Munich – one of four members of the England squad playing his football overseas, along with Real Madrid star Jude Bellingham, Fikayo Tomori of AC Milan and Jordan Henderson following his controversial move to Al-Ettifaq.
Brentford are at 13 per cent without suspended England striker Ivan Toney, with the ever-present Rico Henry instead leading the way.
Burnley are next lowest at 15 per cent with Wolves, Aston Villa and Henderson’s former club Liverpool all giving between 17.5 and 18.5 per cent of playing time to players eligible for England.
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