Dani Rodrik has a post today on the
globalization of soccer, and poses what he calls an "interesting question":
One question is what has the presence of foreign players in Europe done to
the quality of the national teams. Following the disappointments of the English
national team in recent games, some have suggested that the culprit is the
dominance of foreign players in the Premier League and have recommended reintroducing
Dani Rodrik, meet Chris
Blatter says: "When you have 11 foreigners in a team, this is not good
for the development of football."
But this confuses
cause and effect. Arsenal having 11 foreigners in their team is the effect
of English footballers being rubbish – Paul Robinson is England goalkeeper,
remember – not the cause of it.
Indeed, importing foreigners can be a way of improving the domestic game.
Just as foreign investment helps improve the productivity of indiginous firms
by showing them how to improve so foreign players can show domestic ones the
way. Any player who trained with Cantona, Zola or Bergkamp will say that they
learned a lot from doing so.
Dillow’s entirely right. The England team might be crap these days, but it
would surely be worse were it not for the large number of excellent footballers
playing in the Premier League.