Belfast Telegraph

Wolrd Cup shows Premier League behind Serie A as home of footballing talent

Following a barrage of criticism in the wake of England's World Cup exit, there is a further blow for the Premier League with the news that it languishes in fourth among domestic competitions as the provider of players to the eight teams still left in the competition.

The demands placed on the England players by the Premier League's packed programme were held partly responsible for their abject showing in losing 4-1 to Germany last weekend. That appears to be borne out with only 21 representatives of the league in with a chance of playing in the quarter-finals this weekend. The Bundesliga provides 37 players, La Liga has 34 and even Serie A supplies 25 despite Italy's departure from the World Cup.

The departures of Italy and England leave Joachim Löw's Germany side as the only remaining country to have a squad entirely constructed of domestic-based players. The humiliating failure of holders Italy to even reach the knockout stages of this year's tournament can be illustrated by the fact that their domestic league provides the most foreign-based players (25) for the eight quarter-finalists in South Africa. Unsurprisingly the Premier League is not far behind, 21 players coming from these shores, ahead of 14 from the Bundesliga.

The number of Manchester City players at the finals have been bolstered by the addition this week of Spaniard David Silva, the midfielder joining Nigel de Jong, Carlos Tevez and Roque Santa Cruz. The new Liverpool manager, Roy Hodgson, has six of his employees to keep tabs on, with two each for Holland (Dirk Kuyt and Ryan Babel), Argentina (Javier Mascherano and Maxi Rodriguez) and Spain (Pepe Reina and Fernando Torres).

Arsenal, Sunderland and Wigan Athletic each have two players left in the tournament.

Belfast Telegraph

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