Until recently, England were never short on talent. The Man United Class of 92 saw the birth of quite a lot of talent like Scholes, Beckham, and the Nevilles. The Academy of Football (also known as the West Ham academy) fabricated players such as Carrick, Lampard, and Joe Cole. They also have stars like Rooney, Ashley Cole and Gerrard. But these talents are either retired or aging, and the new breed of stars don’t look like they are half as good as the generation they are replacing.
What’s happening to them? In Economics, it is problem called Dutch Disease.
Dutch Disease is a term coined by The Economist to refer to the decline in Dutch manufacturing after the exploitation of a large oil reserve in the North Sea. The large revenue generated from oil export made the Gulden stronger to a point where their manufacturing output became uncompetitive in foreign markets. The Dutch Disease has been an issue anywhere there is a large inflow of money towards a country due to a sudden event.
Starting to see the parallels to English football lack of new talents? Yes, the North Sea Oil is the money that suddenly pours from billionaires and massive TV rights, the manufacturing sector is the football academy whose products (the players) cannot compete with foreign products (foreign players) that is imported using the oil money mentioned above.
As clubs get more money to spend due to their sudden new riches, they strengthen their squads by purchasing foreign stars to play for them. This hurts young English talents in two ways: 1) Not enough investment is being made on football academies as these resources go towards foreign stars, and 2) The top slots in top flight football are reserved for the foreign stars, leaving little room for them to grow professionally.
Meanwhile, other footballing countries take their academia very seriously. For example, The German Football Association rules that all German clubs should have a high-standard youth academy, and it has reaped what it sew back in 2000 when a new generation of stars are consistently produced. World dominator Spain also takes youth academies seriously, having the highest number of licenced football coaches per capita in the world.
It can be said that the major success of the Barclays Premier League is a two-edged sword. It might be good for English football as its teams are exposed to the world and generate a hell lot of money, but all that at the expense of English players, and might result in a lost generation for The Three Lions.