FIFPro has announced a 55 player shortlist for the 2015 FIFPro World XI and Wayne Rooney, John Terry and Gareth Bale are the only British-born players that make the cut.
As I watched Jamie Vardy make Ashley Young look like a mug before slotting the ball past David De Gea to score a record breaking 11 consecutive times in the Premier League, I felt a stifled sense of English pride.
It’s a feeling that comes along as often as the breaking of dry twigs in a Floridian swamp. I felt it in 1990 before Stuart Pearce, and Chris Waddle made me feel like a part of me was missing, and I felt it in 1996 when it was Gareth Southgate’s turn to make me cry.
The English national side may have qualified for Euro 2016 with the only 100% record in the competition. Our game may be bristling with youth and vitality. But it’s not a view shared by the rest of the world.
Back in October, when FIFA announced the 23-man shortlist for 2015 Ballon d’Or, there wasn’t an Englishmen in sight. It was the third year that the limey lads were deemed incompatible with the very best of their profession.
The only British-born player to make the cut was Gareth Bale, and he plays his football in Spain for Real Madrid. Bale also made the shortlist of 55 players nominated for the FIFPro World XI. Englishmen Wayne Rooney and John Terry did make the cut, but both players have had horrible seasons. I would even question Rooney’s inclusion as his 2014/15 form wasn’t the greatest, although Terry did have a solid year leading Chelsea to the Premier League title.
Where is the youth?
Where is the promise?
Where is the future?
It’s a problem that’s been brewing for years. Both lists above are full of players from the Premier League, but they are all foreign. The influx of foreign players has limited the opportunities for the very brightest British stars.
Now that’s acceptable when you have a Sergio Aguero or David De Gea on your team, but are we saying Man City don’t have a young center back any better than the calamitous Eliquim Mangala, and Bournemouth doesn’t have better British goalkeepers than the mediocre Artur Boric and Adam Federici?
It’s the decision to rely on mediocre foreign talent, rather than nurture British-born talent, that now leads to the likes of Ross Barkley, Harry Kane and Chris Smalling failing to make these types of shortlists. Farmed out on loan or warming the substitutes bench is not the greatest preparation for a future at the top of the game.
Man United’s recent decision to allow the young English striker James Wilson to go out on loan to Brighton while signing a player from France of the same age, is exactly my point.
The old Champions League rule restricting teams to three foreign players hurt British teams. I wouldn’t like to see anything so severe reinstated, but I would like to see British teams made up of eight British players with a three foreigner rule. Only then will we see the British home nations performing better on the international stage, and more of their players making shortlists alongside the world’s best.
In the meantime, here are the final 55 players in contention for a spot in the 2015 World XI.
It was the largest ballot to date with 25,000 professional players, from 70 countries selecting a goalkeeper, four defenders, three midfielders and three forwards. The only caveat was they must have played a minimum of 15 appearances during the calendar year to qualify.
The FIFPro World XI is announced at the Ballon D’Or ceremony in Zurich, Jan 11, 2016.
Gianluigi Buffon (Italy, Juventus)
Iker Casillas (Spain, FC Porto)
David De Gea (Spain, Manchester United)
Keylor Navas (Costa Rica, Real Madrid CF)
Manuel Neuer (Germany, FC Bayern Munich)
David Alaba (Austria, FC Bayern Munich)
Jordi Alba (Spain, FC Barcelona)
Daniel Alves (Brazil, FC Barcelona)
Jérôme Boateng (Germany, FC Bayern Munich)
Daniel Carvajal (Spain, Real Madrid CF)
Giorgio Chiellini (Italy, Juventus)
David Luiz (Brazil, Paris Saint-Germain)
Diego Godín (Uruguay, Atlético Madrid)
Mats Hummels (Germany, Borussia Dortmund)
Branislav Ivanovic (Serbia, Chelsea)
Vincent Kompany (Belgium, Manchester City)
Philipp Lahm (Germany, FC Bayern Munich)
Marcelo (Brazil, Real Madrid CF)
Javier Mascherano (Argentina, FC Barcelona)
Pepe (Portugal, Real Madrid CF)
Gerard Piqué (Spain, FC Barcelona)
Sergio Ramos (Spain, Real Madrid CF)
Thiago Silva (Brazil, Paris Saint-Germain)
John Terry (England, Chelsea)
Raphaël Varane (France, Real Madrid CF)
Thiago Alcantara (Spain, FC Bayern Munich)
Xabi Alonso (Spain, FC Bayern Munich)
Sergio Busquets (Spain, FC Barcelona)
Eden Hazard (Belgium, Chelsea FC)
Andrés Iniesta (Spain, FC Barcelona)
Toni Kroos (Germany, Real Madrid CF)
Luka Modric (Croatia, Real Madrid CF)
Andrea Pirlo (Italy, New York City FC)
Paul Pogba (France, Juventus)
Ivan Rakitic (Croatia, FC Barcelona)
James Rodríguez (Colombia, Real Madrid CF)
David Silva (Spain, Manchester City)
Yaya Touré (Ivory Coast, Manchester City FC)
Marco Verratti (Italy, Paris Saint-Germain)
Arturo Vidal (Chile, FC Bayern Munich)
Sergio Agüero (Argentina, Manchester City FC)
Gareth Bale (Wales, Real Madrid CF)
Karim Benzema (France, Real Madrid CF)
Douglas Costa (Brazil, FC Bayern Munich)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden, Paris Saint-Germain FC)
Robert Lewandowski (Poland, FC Bayern Munich)
Lionel Messi (Argentina, FC Barcelona)
Thomas Müller (Germany, FC Bayern Munich)
Neymar Jr. (Brazil, FC Barcelona)
Arjen Robben (The Netherlands, FC Bayern Munich)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal, Real Madrid CF)
Wayne Rooney (England, Manchester United FC)
Alexis Sánchez (Chile, Arsenal)
Luis Suárez (Uruguay, FC Barcelona)
Carlos Tevez (Argentina, Boca Juniors)
Who do you think deserves a slot?
You can select your dream team by following this click here.