For a long time, the English Premier League was seen as the most competitive league in Europe – or at least that’s what the majority of football fans around the world thought.
It was, and most likely still is, every professional’s dream to play in England’s top league - but it wasn’t always a breeze for hopeful foreigners.
For example, Fernando Morientes moved from Real Madrid to Liverpool in 2005, boasting a record of 72 La Liga goals in 182 games. However, in England he only managed a dismal total of eight Premier League goals in 41 games – and he clearly struggled with the physical nature of the game.
The Fan Park crew looks at reasons as to why it has perhaps been made easier for the foreign players to adapt in the Premier League nowadays.
More European Managers
Maybe the language barrier was a big stumbling block, as in the past we used to see foreign players struggle to adapt to the style that their British managers demanded from their teams. However, now with the Premier League having more European staff than 10 years ago, we can see why these players are adjusting quicker and proving worthy of their big money transfers.
More Foreigners In Academies
It seems as though the youth teams are producing better foreign talent than local talent. These young Spanish, French or German hopefuls are lured from their countries at young ages and put through systems where they learn to adjust to the physicality of English football culture, while enhancing their technical abilities – which often seems to be naturally better than the home-grown players’ touches.
Back in the day, hard tackles were excused by the referees, given the ball was won first. Nowadays, however, we tend to see more 50/50 tackles blown up for, rather than appreciated and applauded. Whether it’s the ref feeling under pressure from the supporters, or a rule change, there has been a clear shift in this regard. The players play their part too, as we see a lot more playacting on the field.
Do you agree that English football has changed over the years, making it easier for foreigners? Let us know in the comments section below.