It has often been theorised that the area of England that a young player practices in will impact their chances of becoming a professional footballer.
Following a study into current top English players and all-time greats, it was found that both historically and in modern times, there is a geographical bias when it comes to areas of England producing top talent.
The study by Betting.net revealed that of the top 50 English players of all-time, London dominated as both the place that sired greats and trained them. Of the 50, 16 came from London, and 17 were developed in London academies. Close behind London is the North West, which spawned 12 all-time greats and developed 15 in its academies.
But, when comparing the best English players of all-time to the current batch of top England stars, a power switch has been demonstrated. Fewer top players are emerging from London, and other areas of the country are pulling their weight more. But, despite this, the North West has remained a fortress of football talent.
Of the best 53 English players right now, 14 are North West natives — all of which honed their skills in North West academies — with three more talents moving from elsewhere to develop in the region. In modern times, a power shift has been observed between the clubs of the country that falls in line with these findings.
While West Ham was once hailed for producing much of England's ‘golden generation', the club has now fallen by the wayside. Manchester United has remained a stronghold for producing top English talent, as has Arsenal and Southampton, but it was also found that Tottenham Hotspur and Everton have emerged as key developers of English players.
The North West region continues to better its standing as a behemoth of creating top English footballers. While Manchester United has remained strong, clubs like Everton upping their game has helped to keep this fine tradition in the North West.
Reader Comments (14)
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1 Posted 17/05/2018 at 21:53:43
Davies didn't kick on from last season and, to me, was disappointing. Baningime looks promising (unlike my chances of spelling him correctly).
Calvert-Lewin works hard and could become a fine player, if his finishing improves. Galloway and Browning appear to be on the brink of disappearing. I hope I'm wrong.
Pennington and Dowell will be returning after some glowing performances and some duds. But they're young and improving.
Holgate and Lookman can definitely step up, but whether they are regular starters right now is dubious.
And Conor Grant I've never seen. Is he real?
I'm sure they all speak highly of me.
2 Posted 17/05/2018 at 22:13:33
For me, the easiest definition of success was an England cap. What that meant was that a lot of players who are dismissed as crap on TW, were actually successes for me. I'm talking Francis Jeffers, Jack Rodwell, Michael Ball, Leon Osman, and other one or two cap wonders.
Since 2000, unless Spurs have since overhauled us, we had the most England internationals who had come through our youth academy. There's also the curious cases of Joey Barton, Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines who all were on our books and let go, so do they count or not?
The other thing of interest to me about this group is that they are all local lads. Very local. I mean lads not considered local are Billinge's Leon Osman (10-15 miles from Goodison?) and Sale's Phil Jagielka (still within 30 miles). For me, it highlighted how much talent we produce. Also in the days before Finch Farm and state of the art facilities, we still had a long stream of talent. So it wasn't the facilities that made the players.
For me, there's a lot of factors, social, cultural (to Liverpool), economic, as well as talent that makes us able to tap into such a rich vein from what should be such a limited pool.
4 Posted 18/05/2018 at 05:05:27
Interesting that the North-East didn't figure but it all seems swings and roundabouts, here today, there tomorrow.
There does seem that there are so many factors that are not taken into account, injuries and per head of population to name just a couple, and it might be interesting to know what percentage actually made a living out of football and how many fell by the wayside. Albeit, it is based on just 50 players.
5 Posted 18/05/2018 at 07:04:48
6 Posted 18/05/2018 at 11:32:20
7 Posted 18/05/2018 at 17:11:30
The big Northern cities still have a large enough population to supply a good mixture of basic athletic abilities, breeding rivalry, whilst maintaining a higher than avg % of working class roots that tends to breed the determined and self motivated individuals to make a living in less academic careers like their local hero's.
Add in the resources that these larger cities can afford to provide like parks, organised competitions and sports clubs it's not that surprising.
London is so populous they will always produce good athletes but the best of them (or those who rise to make a living from sport) also tend to be from working class backgrounds.
The South West of England has less in terms of population and far less in terms of working class rivalry and local sports hero's. I imagine the area would produce Surfers, Sailers, Swimmers, Rugby Union players.
Similar to East Anglia, the working class where traditionaly farmers who live a different lifestyle.
8 Posted 20/05/2018 at 08:20:45
When I started going to the game, all the top sides had really good and, in some cases, great Scottish players.
9 Posted 20/05/2018 at 08:57:17
A lot of younger Scottish players sign for 2nd/3rd tier clubs in England for relatively astronomical wages and are back up here in months. And interestingly, some Championship players are coming up and doing well in the SPL.
10 Posted 20/05/2018 at 11:34:48
The other side of the coin was they also produced the likes of Ron Yeats and Dave McKay. Two players that would make most of today's hard men look like choir boys.
It is a puzzle and a shame because they were such good footballers.
11 Posted 20/05/2018 at 17:08:02
Regarding regional production of players, Bowler and Lookman are both from London. Could it be that the NW is looked at as a place where young talent has a better opportunity to play? Im happy to be corrected but Arsenal only really play their kids in the League Cup, and Chelsea just loan them out despite having a very good set of youth teams.
12 Posted 21/05/2018 at 00:36:25
13 Posted 21/05/2018 at 01:49:53
I still have a booklet of team squads from maybe 89 or 90 and Rangers had a first team squad of 50 plus that was a who's who of anyone who had played a decent game in Scotland during the eighties outside of Paul McStay. Celtic got their act together and followed suit to effectively end the chances of the rest of the SPL winning anything or retaining any good players.
This was exacerbated by the introduction of players from new markets. Remember that, until the Berlin wall came down, it was very rare for Eastern Bloc players to make their way to the west, Remember the whole Lubos Kubik attempt to get asylum at Derby County?
Suddenly in the early 80s you had an extra 200 million would be players from the East competing with what 4 million people in Scotland. You also had the sudden emergence of the African talents. Nigeria alone has 100 million plus people.
Additionally, the EPL siphoned off the cream from the SPL (Laudrup, Ferguson etc) so the SPL's big guns become second-rate on the international stage. The rest of the teams were reduced to the status of the Brondby's and Odense's which hadn't even been professional a decade prior.
Fast forward 25 years and you're a kid growing up in Aberdeen. If you're lucky there is a chance you might make the grade there and earn a small amount of money whilst remaining in obscurity. Not quite as attractive a dream as it would have been if you were a kid growing up in the 70s. Coaching apart, the odds are stacked against the kids there nowadays.
14 Posted 21/05/2018 at 23:23:42
What a footballer. There MUST still be kids like that. They just need to be found, encouraged, and supported.
Like all the great footballers, he had that one indispensable quality: The will to win.
The other thing I have noticed about most of them is they come from humble backgrounds.
15 Posted 22/05/2018 at 01:05:52
These days, and long since, the advent of other options for amusement have had the inadvertent effect of seriously compromising the amount of physical, team-oriented sport available to modern-day kids. I wish it wasn't so.
I even put forward the main skills being cited on behalf of Silva as our next manager to reinforce my point. He's allegedly a dab hand on the training pitch at physically moving professional footballers, in name only as far as I'm concerned, sadly, to the best position for their team.
Rhetorically, how do we have professional footballers still unaware of what the game situation demands of them in assuming their own best position? Jeez!!
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