Brexit or no Brexit, English players are currently on the decline in England

March 15 – With Brexit talks dominating the news agenda in the UK, the latest data from the CIES Football Observatory is a timely look at the playing time of footballers in the Premier League who have grown up in England.

The results would suggest that English footballers looking for a professional career in the country would probably vote for Brexit happening sooner rather than later – and with the dominance of English teams in the Champions League and Europa League, European football fans would likely vote the same way.

The CIES data shows that the playing time of English players “has progressively fallen to reach a new negative record level over the current season: 35.2%. A similar trend was observed for goals scored: 30.7%.”

On the reverse side of this has been the steady increase in the proportion of continental Europeans in England over the past 10 years.

“New records have been measured during the current season both at the level of the percentage of minutes (45.0%) and at the level of goals scored (43.3%). Since the 2017/18 season, continental European nationals are more numerous on Premier League pitches than UK players,” say the report authors.

The CIES conclude that “within the context of Brexit, a possible limit on the scope of international recruitment may oblige the majority of Premier League teams to modify their transfer strategies.” However, the current strength of England’s new generation of players “suggests that, on strictly sporting terms, such a change may not negatively affect the competitiveness of Premier League teams. It could even strengthen the English national team.”

See the full report at

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