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Highlights on Off The Ball


'The Premier League dream... has kind of happened' | Matt Slater on the Football Show

Statistically speaking, the Premier League is the best football league in the world and it is down to England producing top-class players, according to The Athletic's Matt Slater.

Statistically speaking, the Premier League is the best football league in the world and it is down to England producing top-class players, according to The Athletic's Matt Slater.

Slater recently reported how, according to statistics, the Premier League ranks as the best league in Europe. However, as part of the Premier League's strength it has also created an English strength on the international football stage.

England have been ranked in the top five on the FIFA world rankings since 2017. Similarly, the Premier League is filled with young, English players playing at the top of their game in good form.

For Slater, the continuation of Brexit, coupled with the success of Premier League sides in different competitions, has seen the Premier League dream come true, even if it was not how it was perceived in the mid-2000s.

Speaking on The Football Show on Tuesday, Slater explained how Brexit was not in the Premier League's interests, as they wanted to be able to still utilise European stars.

"The Premier League, again, didn't like that idea," Slater said. "The Premier League was actually very [in favour of remaining in Europe] for good reason.

"The point I was making abut the Elite Player Performance Plan, which is very much the Premier League's plan and is very controversial in England because it really does ring fence, exaggerate and exacerbate the advantage of the Premier League clubs at the cost of everybody else.

"It really enabled the Premier League clubs to just hoover up young talent and not have to pay much in terms of compensation.

"So, the clubs with the big academies, because they created this strict hierarchy of academies, just have this massive built-in advantage."

While other clubs in England will not be happy with the Premier League clubs' dominance and ability to hoover up young talent, Slater feels that there is no denying the effect that it has had on English football.

"Now, what the Premier League and the clubs will tell you is that, 'ah yeah, the standards have been driven up'," Slater said. "Better coaching, better nutrition, more sports science, more connected to the first team.

"There has been a real spend on facilities, which of course doesn't count towards the financial fair play equation. So, all of these things have sort of happened at once.

"The kind of Premier League dream that was sort of spun 10 or 15 years ago: 'don't worry, I know we are the most cosmopolitan, I know the England manager has only got 35 players to choose from, but they'll be good! They'll be good because the foreign players will have driven the standards up.'

"It has kind of happened. I'm not sure if it has happened as they [planned]. I'm not sure how bright they are, maybe they are geniuses. I shouldn't have doubted them.

"But, the current crop of English youngster is the best of what I have seen in my lifetime of watching football."

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