Gareth Southgate has bemoaned the lack of English players in the Premier League after last weekend’s record-low numbers in the top flight.
Only 54 English players lined out for the 20 sides in the Premier League over the previous round of fixtures – the lowest number in the division’s history.
Southgate is alarmed at the decrease in homegrown talents and admits it makes his job as England manager much more difficult.
“It is incredible,” the Three Lions boss told ITV . “It was 33 per cent on average last season, then it went below 29 per cent (at the start of this season) and this weekend it was below 25 per cent for all of the teams.
“Nobody can tell me that if players are good enough, they will come through. That is not true. There are plenty of players who are good enough.
“For parents and boys entering academies, you expect there to be opportunity at the end.”
Players like Fabian Delph, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Danny Welbeck have been selected in recent England squads, yet are failing to hold down a regular spot in their club sides.
The lack of English players in the Premier League even led Southgate to pick Mason Mount in his squad earlier this year, despite the youngster playing for Championship side Derby County.
The England boss has also handed a call-up to Jadon Sancho, a player who was forced to move to the Bundesliga in order to play regular top-flight football.
Southgate has helped to banish many of the problems which have handicapped the Three Lions in recent years, and the 48-year-old sees this as the next issue he and the FA must resolve.
“I go back to previous tournaments when we have reviewed everything that has gone on in English football,” he said. “So many of those things are in the right place now, this is just the missing piece that everybody is keen to resolve.
“If a lot of those players had a couple of years of first-team experience, it is a lot easier for their manager to select them. But that is a conundrum we have got to solve.
“What’s clear is that we can’t allow the trend to continue as it is because at what point do we stop?”