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August 23 2019 9.49am

Proposed foreign player limit could benefit Palace

February 5 2019

Selhurst Park (Photo: Andy Roberts)

Selhurst Park (Photo: Andy Roberts)

Premier League clubs are limited to 17 overseas players in their 25-man squads, but the FA is pushing to reduce that to 13 in the coming years, writes Stewart Taylor.

This would put more emphasis on the nurturing of young home-grown talent through club academies and see a reduction in big money transfer dealings overseas. It would be beneficial for English football, as well as for sides like Palace who struggle to compete with the financial might of the top six clubs in the division.

What would it mean for Palace?

There has been talk of reducing the number of foreign players allowed per team in the English top flight for some time now, and one of the main reasons has been because of the problems that will arise after Brexit. But according to a report in The Guardian, no matter what happens between the UK and the European Union, the FA will go ahead with its push to get the number of overseas players down.

Palace currently have 13 overseas players in their first-team squad, and thus would comply with the new FA rules should they be implemented. Roy Hodgson’s regular teams usually feature around five or six overseas players with the rest home-grown.

The Selhurst Park club would not be affected directly by any changes to the rules, but could possibly benefit from other teams in the competition being limited. Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur both have the current maximum number of players allowed at 17, while Chelsea and Liverpool both have 16.

The reigning champions are head and shoulders above a number sides in the division now and could pull further ahead if their foreign quota isn’t capped. Guardiola’s men are 2/7 with Betway to retain the title, and other sides don’t look to be anywhere near them.

If these clubs were forced to reduce the number of foreigners on the wage bill, then it could put more of a focus on developing youth at the academy level.The Eagles have one of the stronger academies in English football, which has produced notable stars in the past.

These have included Gareth Southgate, Nathanial Clyne and Wilfried Zaha. If there was a switch towards more teams promoting from within, Palace could be at an advantage over some of the other sides in the league.

Would the English national team reap the rewards?

Southgate has frequently expressed his concerns about English players being underused by their clubs. Because red-hot talent is being brought in from overseas, a lot of young English players with the potential to grow fall down the pecking order and never receive the game time they need to develop.

The hungry and ambitious England manager doesn’t have a big pool of players to choose from when selecting his national team line-ups. In fact, of the 220 starters in the top flight last month, only 62 of them were eligible to pull on a Three Lions shirt.

Some young stars such as Jadon Sancho at Borussia Dortmund and Reiss Nelson at Hoffenheim have realised that moving away from the UK is the best way to get game time. But there are numerous up-and-comers who haven’t been given this chance.

For instance, Phil Foden has remained at Manchester City, where he is behind a number of foreign superstars. But Guardiola wants to keep the talented midfielder at the club to provide depth to deal with all the various competitions that the Citizens have to contend with.

Foden is being awarded game time here and there, but it is sporadic and too inconsistent for him to build form and confidence. If Guardiola was forced to reduce the number of overseas players in his squad, people like Foden would benefit.

The idea to reduce the cap on overseas players sounds like a good one from the perspective of Palace supporters. It could reduce the risk of the richest clubs pulling further ahead and level the playing field within the Premier League. It could also be good news for the national team, where the selection pool has been fairly sparse in recent times.

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