On Wednesday night Tottenham sealed their place in next season's Champions League competition with a 1-0 win over Manchester City. Many were disappointed that Spurs' pipped the Sky Blues to the fourth spot but, for me at least, this was the right result for English football. I do not want to go on a rant about foreign players in the Premiership, I actually think it is a great strength of the league, but with their core of English players, a chance to compete in the biggest club competition in the world can only be a good thing for the London club.
Instead of having a foreign manager leading his team of foreign players out to represent England we will have an English man in charge of some of the countries brightest talents. Seven English players played a part for Tottenham in their win at Eastlands. For Manchester City there were four English players, one of which, Wayne Bridge, has retired from international football. Manchester City, like any club, are welcome to buy any players and it is in their interests to buy the best players they can, in terms of quality and value. When young British talent carries such a hefty price tag it is no surprise that clubs look abroad.
The fact remains, however, that Tottenham's capturing of the final Champions League spot bodes well for some of this countries elite players. The likes of King, Dawson, Lennon, Bentley, Huddlestone, Crouch, Defoe and even the forgotten Jermaine Jenas or the promising prospects such as Danny Rose will all now gain the vital experience of playing on the biggest stage of all against the best opposition.
There has, for a long time now, been the acceptance that our national team relies heavily on just a handful or key players. This may well be because the jump from playing for a middle-table Premiership club to playing international football is too big for many. The more players that we can have in our national team who have featured in Europe's premier footballing competition the better. Look at the big footballing countries. They have a majority of their players featuring at the highest level available which is something we ought to aim for.
You can only develop world-class players in the top clubs. These bigger clubs do more than simply assemble the best players. The coaches and managers improve players not only technically but mentally allowing them to reach higher levels. Being able to play in big matches on a regular basis, to test yourself against the best the game has to offer and to be successful is how you achieve the status of being 'a world-class player'. With the squad they have, which Redknapp will certainly be building on, there is nothing to say that the club will not do well in next year's competition and thus the players will be able to further their talents and reputation.
Redknapp clearly values English talent. This is clear by the players who came through during his time at West Ham, the likes of Glen Johnson, Sol Campbell, David James, Defoe and Crouch he brought in at Portsmouth and the similar pattern we can see in his short time at White Hart Lane. We can only hope that he sticks by this policy this summer now that Champions League football has been confirmed.
Champions League football will, of course, come too late for the Tottenham players that will feature in Capello's squad in South Africa. But it is good news for our national team looking forward. The experience that this Tottenham squad, consisting of many of England's best footballing talent, will gain in the competition will help certainly enhance the Three Lions for future tournaments. Our English talent, whether it be the managers, coaches or players, need the chance to perform at the upper echelons of the sport and Tottenham's win over City has helped this cause.
Thoughts, comments and opinions please...