Aldo: Homegrown players overlooked by Premier League clubs
We have all enjoyed the performances of Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane over the course of this season and the duo have confirmed that too many British and Irish players are being overlooked in the modern game.
Kane was magnificent against Liverpool at Anfield a couple of weeks back, with his superb goal the cherry on the top of a performance that highlighted the qualities that have been evident from the moment he was given a chance in the Spurs side a couple of seasons back.
This is a kid that was sat on the bench alongside Vardy when he was on loan at Leicester not so long ago and now we are seeing the duo ripping the Premier League apart every week.
What does that tell us about the obsession with signing expensive foreigners and not given homegrown players a chance to shine on the big stage?
Well, the success of Kane and Vardy should be a message that the top clubs in England have got it wrong in the way they have gone about their transfer business in recent years, as the talent is there to be found if clubs bother to go and look for it.
I am speaking here as a former player who started his career at Newport County and then went on to play for Oxford United in the lower leagues of English football.
Would a massive club like Liverpool have come in for me if I was starting my career at that level of the game right now?
The answer to that question is probably negative.
Yet look at the success rate of the foreigners who come into the Premier League and you will quickly realise that far too many of them fail to live up to their lofty billing and expensive price tag.
Unlike many of the foreign ‘stars’ who arrive in England on massive contracts, Kane and Vardy have come through the ranks the hard way and they are delighted to have plotted a route to the top of the game.
He is not the quickest player in the world, but Kane has a physical presence that makes him a threat and he is always playing on the shoulder of his opponent.
In some ways, Vardy (above) is similar, as he is a live wire who chases down lost causes all day for his team and that is what supporters want to see from their players.
When I had a sticky patch in terms of goals during my career - and thankfully there was not too many of those - I tried to work harder than ever to show the supporters that I was trying my best to get back on a scoring run.
You look at some players on massive wages in the Premier League and when things are not going their way, they let their heads drop all too quickly.
You won’t get that kind of attitude problem so much with British and Irish players and clubs need to remember that.
My hope is that the success Leicester and Spurs are enjoying by giving young English players a chance will open a few doors for more local talent to be given chances at top Premier League clubs.
It is also good for kids coming through the ranks at top clubs to look at Kane and Vardy and think they have a chance to challenge for the Premier League title or play for their country.
It gives everyone hope that the dream of making it to the very top is still alive in this era of the game when the drive to become rich from the game has replaced a passion to be a winner.
ALDO’S TOP FIVE STRIKERS OF THE SEASON
1. Jamie Vardy (Leicester)
2. Harry Kane (Tottenham)
3. Romelu Lukaku (Everton)
4. Sergio Aguero (Man City)
5. Olivier Giroud (Arsenal)