Everton's Elstone defends Premier League
Everton chief executive Robert Elstone has launched an impassioned defence of the Barclays Premier League in the wake of the debate around youth development in England.
Football Association chairman Greg Dyke has established a commission to examine how best to improve the fortunes of the senior national side and enable more home-grown talent to come through the domestic club system.
Commission member and former England manager Glenn Hoddle has suggested a quota system should be employed in the Premier League - an idea backed by Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor - and called for all concerned to be ''ruthless'' in the quest to improve chances of success on the international stage.
However, Elstone maintains the elite clubs are not the source of all the failings of the England set-up, but rather a strength.
Writing in his blog on the club's official website, www.evertonfc.com, Elstone pulled few punches as he backed the efforts of top-flight member clubs, hitting out at "so much abdication of responsibility".
Elstone wrote: "I am certain those in the game know which organisation has transformed the fortunes of English football, has put our game back on the map, has put respectability back into our game. The world's most admired, envied and respected League is ours - and it's not just about the money.
"The Premier League has created the perfect environment to develop world-class players, a research and development laboratory with maximum stress testing and the potential for true Darwinian outcomes.
"It is the political capital leveraged by the revelation that 'only' 30 per cent of total minutes played in the Premier League is English that has moved me to write. It's hardly revelatory, it's something we've known for a while, and, it is claimed to reveal the root of the problem, our League is full of foreigners. But maybe we should consider whether 'full' is a problem.
"How many great players do we actually need to win a World Cup? The Belgians might do it with fifteen? 30 per cent is actually quite a big number when you consider they're playing in the most demanding League in the world. Maybe it's time to think quality and not quantity?
"These 60 or 70 players can prove Darwin's theories on the 'Evolution of the Species' like no other sporting competition in the world; like no other environment in the world.
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