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European Reunion: Premier League Well Represented At The Euros

As the 2016 European Championships kick off in France this weekend, England will be hoping they don’t make a swift exit from this particular european union and remain beyond June 23.

The English Premier League (EPL) is contributing more players to this summer’s tournament than any other league. And the rebranded English Football League (EFL) will proudly provide just as many participants as Spain’s La Liga – France 2016 seemingly a European get-together we’re proud to continue a leading role in.

With more than 100 players, representing 18 of the 24 nations competing, almost one in five of those featuring ply their footballing trade in the English Premier League – one in four if you include players from the Championship, League One and League Two. Germany’s Bundesliga is the second biggest contributor with 56.

METZ, FRANCE - JUNE 04: Olivier Giroud of France celebrates his team's second goal during the International Friendly between France and Scotland on June 4, 2016 in Metz, France. (Photo by Daniel Kopatsch/Getty Images)
Olivier Giroud of France. (Photo by Daniel Kopatsch/Getty Images)

The Premier League dominating player representation at major championships is nothing new – the EPL provided the most players at the last Euros in 2012 and again at the subsequent World Cup in Brazil. Many argue that this embarrassment of riches has come at a price though, with the high concentration of overseas players not helping our national team’s chances.

An abundance of foreign talent during the Premier League era has undoubtedly restricted the opportunities of our young players and left a succession of England managers with a reduced pool of top-flight players to choose from. But I take the view that any English player good enough to play regularly for a Premier League club should at least be able to cut it at international level – if not excel. So while Marcus Rashford’s selection after less than 20 senior appearances raised a few eyebrows, I’m sure he won’t look out of place if he sees any action.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 22: Jamie Vardy of England looks on during the International Friendly match between England and Turkey at Etihad Stadium on May 22, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

As well as supplying the entire England squad – the only nation to be derived from just one league – the EPL also contributes a whole team of players for the Belgian, Welsh and Republic of Ireland squads. Hosts and pre-tournament favourites France will also be relying on nine Premier League players, calling on six during their opening 2-1 win over Romania on Friday night. A late wonder-strike from West Ham’s Dimitri Payet added to a header from Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud as France took a big step closer to the last 16.

Giroud’s Arsenal are one of six English clubs to be ever-present in the Premier League and combined, these teams account for one in ten of the players on show at these Euros. Interestingly, each of the clubs appears to have a favoured european nation that it has sourced a high proportion of its players. So who does transfer history suggest Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Everton and Tottenham will be hoping for in the Euro 2016 sweepstake?

MUNICH, GERMANY - MARCH 29:  Mesut Ozil of Germany in action during the international friendly match between Germany and Italy at Allianz Arena on March 29, 2016 in Munich, Germany.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil in the colours of Germany. (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)


Arsenal – France

EPL Arsenal, French XI: Warmuz, Sagna, Clichy, Koscielny, Gallas, Vieira, Petit, Pires, Wiltord, Henry, Anelka – Manager: Arsene Wenger


Chelsea – Italy

EPL Chelsea, Italian XI: Cudicini, Panucci, Percassi, Di Cesare, Di Matteo, Ambrosetti, Dalla Bona, Borini, Zola, Casiraghi, Vialli – Managers: Antonio Conte, Claudio Ranieri, Carlo Ancelotti


Liverpool – Germany

EPL Liverpool, German XI: Karius, Babbel, Ziege, Can, Hamann, Sama, Matip, Sahin (both German-born), Yesil, Riedle, Dundee – Manager: Jurgen Klopp

LIVERPOOL, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 10:  Jurgen Klopp manager of Liverpool gives a thumbs up during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield on April 10, 2016 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)


Manchester United – Holland (no way José, the Dutch didn’t even qualify)

EPL United, Dutch XI: van der Sar, Fosu-Mensah, Buttner, Stam, Blind, Jordi (Cruyff), Depay, van Persie, van Nistelrooy, Chong, van Velzen – Manager: Louis van Gaal


Everton – Scotland (got to be in it to win it and the Scots sadly just missed out too)

EPL Everton, Scottish XI: Turner, Cleland, Weir, Gough, Naysmith, Hutchison, Collins, Gemmill, McFadden, Naismith, Ferguson – Managers: David Moyes, Walter Smith


Tottenham – England

EPL Tottenham, England XI: Robinson, Walker, Rose, Campbell, King, Carrick, Anderton, Lennon, Kane, Sheringham, Defoe – Managers: Terry Venables, Glenn Hoddle, Harry Redknapp


LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 14:  Arsene Wenger the manager of Arsenal during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Leicester City at the Emirates Stadium February 14, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

Naturally Arsene Wenger’s long tenure in the EPL has seen many French players join him at Arsenal over the years, just as a succession of Italian managers at Chelsea have signed players from their homeland. Expect to see a continuing German theme at Liverpool under Klopp and an influx of Spaniards to Man City under Guardiola.

After an impressive league campaign, there is significant Spurs presence in this England squad, just as there has been a rich tradition of players and managers in the past. In a previous article, I compared England’s qualifying opponents to English Football League sides. And again you’d have to say that our finals draw has been kind, with our Group B finals opponents Russia, Slovakia and Wales perhaps equivalent to mid-table or lower-half Premier League teams.

A win for England against Russia on Saturday would certainly go a long way towards going beyond the group stages and help fuel our already over-inflated expectations – particularly as an opening win is something England has never managed before at the Euros. Come on England, 50 years has been long enough!

Richard Coleman, Pundit Arena

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.