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Home Grown

Sorry if I seem to be somewhat preoccupied with Squad Numbers this time around, but there is an issue we haven't alluded to much over the summer that will be coming to a head shortly: it's the new Premier League rules that limit the squad size to 25 players, of whom, 8 must be "Home Grown". The full rule change can be read here on the Premier League website.

I've done some checking regarding are current squad, and I think we're actually in really good shape here. I think this also helps to explain a facet of David Moyes's transfer strategy this close season, namely getting in players who are under 21, and can be added to the 25-man squad with impunity (Note: even though they may not be "Home Grown"...).

So what I've done is annotated the ToffeeWeb squad profiles list to include a flag against each player that indicates:

Hgn = Homegrown (11)
>21 = Over 21 (12)
<21 = Under 21 (12)

The numbers in parentheses represent my count of the players listed in each category, with the squad list still including half-a-dozen Academy kids who got squad numbers last season mainly to play against BATE Borisov, but whose current standing within the club/squad is uncertain. Most of those are Under 21 (as of 1 January 2010), where we know we are particularly well supplied. Expect the final list to be limited to 25, even though many of these young players may still be "available" to be added to the squad at any time during the season. So not much different really than what has been done with bringing lads through from the Academy in recent years.

I guess the point of all this is to confirm that Moyes and the staff have done a good job of structuring the squad to meet the requirements of this latest rule change, and that we appear to be well positioned going forward. The interesting thing is that it's all potentially dynamic with possible comings and goings that could threaten the balance until the end of the transfer window on 31 August. Then, the music stops, and whatever the makeup of the squad at that date ? 25 named players; 8 homegrown ? that is how yee shall remain... at least until the next transfer window. (With the permitted addition of Under-21s excepted.)

There are a couple of players under 21 who already meet the Homegrown status: Rodwell, Baxter and Jutkiewicz. I included them as Homegrown because I think that is the most important category. It's good to see that those three have featured pretty well in the tour Down Under; however, it may be a leap too far to suggest that all three will feature prominently in Moyesie's plans for the season.
Michael Kenrick     Posted 18/07/2010 at

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Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
1   Posted 18/07/2010 at 04:26:48

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Forgot to mention that the squad we saw published last week indeed numbers only 25:

1 Mucha, 2 Hibbert*, 3 Baines*, 4 Yobo, 5 Heitinga, 6 Jagielka*, 7 Bilyaletdinov, 8 Saha, 10 Arteta, 12 Turner*, 14 Vaughan*, 15 Distin, 16 Beckford, 17 Cahill, 18 Neville*, 19 Magaye, 20 Pienaar, 21 Osman*, 22 Yakubu, 23 Coleman, 24 Howard, 25 Fellaini, 26 Rodwell*, 28 Anichebe*, 29 Silva.

I count nine Home Grown (*). Those obviously left out ? Baxter and Jutkiewicz in particular ? can easily be added as Under 21s, or as Homegrown if (God forbid) we should lose someone dear... like Jagielka! (Bugger off, Wenger!)
Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
2   Posted 18/07/2010 at 04:57:58

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This is more tricky than I thought....

Looking more closely at Turner, I don't think he qualifies as Home Grown. He''s required to have 36 full months registered with an English or Welsh FA club before the end of the season in which he turned 21; I don't think his time in Stirling qualifies. So the named squad contains just 8 Home Grown, with two in reserve.

Beckford is another one that may be dubious, since he came into the game so late. He only started playing for Wealdstone in 2003 and became 21 in 2004.
Jon Beck
3   Posted 18/07/2010 at 07:49:55

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Surely Beckford is homegrown as he would have been playing football for an FA affiliated club somewhere in England even if it were an Amateur one?

As for Piennar I don't think he counts as under 21 :-)
Stephen Kenny
4   Posted 18/07/2010 at 09:21:52

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How do you think this will affect the Chelsea's and Man City's of this world? Also the Shite don't seem to be bringing many youth players through?
Aiden Doyle
5   Posted 18/07/2010 at 09:40:27

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Michael, I don?t see anything on that Premier League article to suggest that under-21 players may still be "available" to be added to the squad at any time during the season or that, as the profile page says, the squad can include an unlimited number of players Under 21.

The system appears to be that, whilst a club may have as many players as it likes on their books, once the transfer window closes, only 25 of them will be eligible for first team consideration, regardless of their age. As you say, at least eight of those must be ?homegrown?. The article doesn?t explicitly state it, but I presume that clubs can redefine their squads at the end of the January window. Aside from the homegrown stipulation, the system seems to be broadly analogous with the way in which teams already register for European competitions.

I?m also guessing that we don?t need to wait until a player turns 21 before we can determine whether a player can be said to be homegrown, so the likes of Baxter, Agard and Garbutt will have already been affiliated with English clubs long enough to meet the criterion.
Eric Myles
6   Posted 18/07/2010 at 09:43:59

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I don't think Pienaar or Fellaini are under 21?
But we could probably claim the Yak as under 21!!!
And what about Cahill? How old was he when he first came to England to play with Millwall? Maybe he is homegrown?
Aiden Doyle
7   Posted 18/07/2010 at 10:25:16

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Good call Eric. If Cahill?s Wikipedia entry is accurate (a big if, I know, but bear with me) he was born on 6 December 1979 and signed for Millwall in 1997. The actual date he signed for them isn?t specified but it?s not unreasonable to presume that it would have been before the 6th of December.

That would have made him 17 when he first joined an English club, making him more than eligible for homegrown status.
Mike Green
8   Posted 18/07/2010 at 11:05:02

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I've done the maths in the past and am certain Cahill would be classified as home grown.
Andrew Ellams
9   Posted 18/07/2010 at 11:11:01

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Doesn't Beckford qualify automatically as he is English and the 36-month rule only count to non-English players ie Tim Cahill?
David McKitt
10   Posted 18/07/2010 at 11:13:38

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Well according to Football Manager 2010 Cahill is home grown!!
Dick Fearon
11   Posted 18/07/2010 at 11:24:30

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In advance, please excuse my ignorance. Does 'home grown' denote players over age 21 that were born in Wales and England but not Scotland or Northern Ireland?

Does 'home grown' also include any player ie; Cahill who registered with the FA prior to 21 years of age?
Aiden Doyle
12   Posted 18/07/2010 at 12:04:07

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Dick, from the link that Michael provided it seems that a player is ?homegrown? if they have been registered with an English (or Welsh) club for three or more seasons up to and including the age of 21 - whatever their nationality might be. It?s also worth noting that, according to FIFA regulations, the players age on January the first is what counts, rather than their actual birthday.

The last point may seem trivial but it helps to make a little more sense of Moyes?s acquisition of promising but relatively untried players like Silva and Gueye. Both of those players are now 20 but, under the FIFA regs, count as 19 year olds and could, for example play in Under-19 competitions. More importantly, if they make the grade at Everton, they?re both still young enough to be considered as homegrown players in due course.

That Moyes is a cunning bugger.
Richard Porter
13   Posted 18/07/2010 at 14:12:35

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Michael, Beckford was a youth team player at Chelsea for three eyars, and then spent three years playing for Wealdstone before he went to Leeds, so he is definitely homegrown.
David Hallwood
14   Posted 18/07/2010 at 14:17:05

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Michael Kenrick, judging by your report, you're either an accountant or a hedge fund manager; so file under 'not to be trusted'!
Michael Kenrick
15   Posted 18/07/2010 at 14:51:42

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David @ #14: Haha... very funny. It was a quick idea I had... I really shoulda set up a spreadsheet and entered all the dates but... too much work!

I've fixed Beckford ? I didn't spot the Chelsea bit. Pienaar too. For Cahill, I must've done the maths wrong in my head...

Aiden @12: If new foreign players are older than 18 when they sign, they don't have the opportunity to get those three full seasons in before they reach 21, do they?

Dick @ #11: the rules don't mention Scotland or Northern Ireland. Wales is probably included because Welsh teams (ie, Cardiff) could play in the Premier League; Scottish ones cannot (currently!).

In Cahill's case, as with any foreigner, the key is not just being under 21, but being under 18 when they start playing in England/Wales, so they have the time to get the required 36 months under their belts before they are 21. [Note: being 21 relates to a player's age on 1 January.]

Aiden @ #5, I know I read it somewhere... but you are right, it's not on the page that talks about the rule. However, it seems pretty clear on this other page: "In addition, clubs may also call upon an unlimited number of Under 21 players."

I think based on this, I will modify the ToffeeWeb Squad page so that it shows the 25 named in the squad, and then lists the Reserves/Senior Academy Players who are Under 21 separately.

Thanks all for your input, and correcting my errors. Now for those hedge funds...

James Cadwaladr
16   Posted 18/07/2010 at 15:42:44

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I think Cahill does count as home grown. He came over to Millwall when he was 16.
Aiden Doyle
17   Posted 18/07/2010 at 15:42:42

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Thanks for clarifying about the unlimited Under-21 players, Michael, not least because that second piece is far more lucidly written.

It looks like you?re right about the other point too. As the first article made no other reference to under-21 players, I?d presumed that the third paragraph was specifying how a player?s age should be worked out for the purpose of evaluating whether he could be classified as ?home-grown?. It now seems far more likely that they were simply reiterating Fifa guidance about who may be considered an Under-21 competitor.
Dennis Stevens
18   Posted 18/07/2010 at 16:32:29

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So which club is going to be the first to fall foul of these rules & be fined or have points taken off them (or not if it's RS!)?? Somebody somewhere is going to bollox it up, but it doesn't sound like it'll be Everton, which makes a very nice change.
Dennis Stevens
19   Posted 18/07/2010 at 16:37:40

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I also meant to add the query - what is it they hope to achieve with these new rules?
Michael Kenrick
20   Posted 18/07/2010 at 18:07:12

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Finally found confirmation that Arnoux and Peterlin were released (see Homepage news story), so that makes things a bit easier (both are Over 21)...

Thinking about this a little more as I re-do the Squad page, Home Grown status only really matters if a player is Over 21 for a given season. What I mean is, if a player is Under 21 (for the current season) then he can be added to the squad, irrespective of whether he meets the Home Grown requirement.

The ability of players Under 21 to be classed as Home Grown in future seasons obviously matters, as some (eg, João Silva, Magaye Gueye) simply cannot qualify, whereas others (eg. Mustafi, Duffy) were bought in young enough to enable them to eventually qualify.
Matt Bone
21   Posted 18/07/2010 at 19:41:29

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Just 3 little comments:

1. When did brackets become parentheses? - I had to look the word up as I've never come across it before.

2. Didn't Ruddy leave for Norwich, not Crewe?

3. How can we be so sure EFC won't bollox up with this home grown rule after the Gosling debacle?
Michael Kenrick
22   Posted 18/07/2010 at 20:51:52

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Sorry, Matt: (1) 'round brackets' it is... (2) Correct. My bad... Thank You! (3) That's kinda why I did his. Although I had a feeling they were in good shape with a decent number of Home Grown on the books.

Of course, as BP & Dan Gosling know only too well, there is always room for error and cock-up. I would be particularly worried by this little gem from the Prem website:
The system will be simple enough to administer. Clubs will register their players via an online form which automatically flags up if they have named too many players who do not qualify as Home-Grown.

I can see it now, come 1 September, and the PL asking Everton why they haven't submitted their Squad. It'll be either: "Oh yes we did, it's in the post. We sent it in well in advance, like we always do"... Or "We told someone verbally as we have done every season, like we always do"... Followed by a full court press in the Echo blaming the PL for 'their' mistake.

Dennis Stevens
23   Posted 19/07/2010 at 00:17:33

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Peter Hurley
24   Posted 19/07/2010 at 15:48:55

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Really interesting discussion this one, looking at the Premier League page linked above, it would seem that it's not a minimum of 8 homegrown players required in the squad, rather an allowance of 17 non-homegrown players with 8 home grown added to make up the maximum 25 squad number. For if you only register 7 homegrowns for instance then the maximum squad size would be reduced by 1 to 24.

Looking at Citys and Arsenals lists in particular this means there's still some juggling to be done before deadline day. Might also explain the RS current focus on English players like Shelvey and Cole. Only downside is it might mean Ngog dosen't make the final cut!

Peter Hall
25   Posted 19/07/2010 at 22:09:57

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Thanks for kicking this into play Michael, and providing the player lists. For this post HG = Home Grown

I?ve taken it all down to the pub for a pint and concluded:

1. If a player was born on or after 1/1/1989 (a ?UEIFA U21?) then he doesn?t need to be registered whether HG or not. UEFA U21s are ?free? in this system. When their UEFA age passes 21 their HG status does matter, but that?s for the future. So for this season no need to register Rodwell, Gueye and Silva, also Michael?s reserves and academy lists.

2. ?UEFA Adult? squads are limited to 25 players of whom no more than 17 (not 18 Michael) can be non-HG.

3. Everton only have 12 in this category as of today:

4. And we have 10 UEFA Adults who are HG:

So we have 3 spare places in the squad with no restriction on their HG status.

It?d be interesting to see what other club?s fan sites are saying (but not RS as they wouldn?t understand), or if someone wants to do it for other key clubs. I feel that this won?t bite as hard as was thought because U21s don?t count in the 25.

None of this takes effect until 31 August, you can play any registered players until then. Another topic altogether will be the distortion this will cause in the transfer market...

Michael Brien
26   Posted 20/07/2010 at 07:23:37

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A very interesting article Michael - certainly a case of food for thought. The usual close season transfer rumours seem to be gathering pace, but so far there appears to be very little attention to these new regulations from the media.

I was talking to a my Line Manager at work - a Man United supporter ( from Romford of course) and we had a look at the Man City website one lunch time last week. We had been discussing who Man City have signed this summer. I believe they have signed Boateng - who was the German left back in the World Cup - yet they already have Wayne Bridge in their squad.

From looking at their squad It doesn't seem to me that they are paying a lot of attention to these forthcoming regulations. I am assuming that these are the brain child of Platini and attempt to create a more level playing field (pardon the pun)

Personally I think the over development and over emphasis on the Champions League has been the root cause of the problem. Over the last 20 years the wealth that has been generated by that competition has encouraged the growth in the transfer market and the involvement of more and more mega rich buyers. The riches offered by the Champions League has become the Holy Grail for many clubs ? why else would these guys have bought Man City and why else are they are they close to spending £100M on new players?

I hope that the likes of Chelsea & Man City if they haven't taken the new rules into account will suffer the consequences. However, given their wealth I think they will find a way around these new rulings.

Now Michael.... about those hedge funds... do you think you could do an article explaining those?

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