The 2019/2020 season has been one of uncertainty and change for the Premier League. However, with things beginning to get back on track – despite the lack of crowds and EA-provided audience reactions – Unibet has compiled a study of the biggest squads and their respective players.
The in-depth, interactive analysis, which can be explored in full here, looks at team and player data to map out the trends in player nationalities. What’s more, it goes back in time, delving into Premiere League history books, to see what has changed over the years.
And the findings are compelling. For the first time since the 2015/16 season, there are more Big Six Premier League players from the UK than there are from Europe. Since the start of the Premier League in 1992, there has been a steady decline in the number of British footballers playing for its main teams. This number hit an all-time low of 31% during the 2018-2019 season.
And while British players have been in decline, European players have risen, slowly but steadily dominating the line-ups of the Big Six.
However, this season has bucked that trend. The number of British players has increased by 35% from last season, bringing the total number of native Big Six players up to 71, vs Europe’s 67. Is this a result of the Premier League’s Homegrown rule? Or is Brexit taking its toll on football already?
Regardless of the reasons behind this sudden shift, current champion Liverpool counts 10 British players within its ranks – making up over a third of the total squad. The same trend can be seen throughout the Big Six, but Manchester United is far ahead of the curve, with a total of 20 players from the UK at the team’s disposal.
Aside from Great Britain, the most popular nationalities for Premier League teams are Spain (with 14 players currently stationed amongst the Big Six), France (13) and the Netherlands (8).
Whether this trend is here to stay, or whether it is simply a passing phase in the history of the league, it will be an interesting time following recent events. The study is worth a look and a play around with, as the findings don’t stop there and many more details are to be found for fans of the top teams in the UK.