Do Premier League teams have to have English players?

The Premier League is the highest level of domestic football in England. It has brought through English superstars in the 30-year history of the competition. So do these Premier League teams have to have English players or is it by choice? 

Do Premier League teams have to have English players? Eight of the 25 players in a Premier League teams squad have to be homegrown which means they have to have played on an English team for at least three years before turning 21. 

Technically speaking Premier League teams do not have to have any English players. The homegrown rules dictate who can be in a Premier League squad. Eight of the 25 players in a Premier League squad have to have played for an English club for at least three years prior to turning 21. 

This essentially means that to be known as a homegrown player you have to have come through the academy of an English team or played for an English team for three years before being 21. The majority of these players will be British as young players do not often go overseas at a young age. 

However, there are exceptions to this rule. In the past, we have seen players like Cesc Fabregas and Paul Pogba be known as homegrown because they played for an English team for three years before they turned 21. 

The reason why these rules have been put in place is that the Premier League is trying to encourage teams to invest in their academy and bring players up who have been with English teams. The Premier League wants to help teams in England bring through academy players and it is why there are the rules on homegrown players. 

But nationality is not part of the rules as we have seen. So technically speaking, there is no requirement for Premier League teams to have English players, simply they have to have players who have played for English clubs before they were 21. 

How many foreign players can play in a Premier League team? 

The Premier League has specific rules on what they know as homegrown players which are players who have played for three years with a club in England or Wales before they turn 21. What Premier League rules say is that you can have 17 players in a Premier League squad that do not fit this rule. 

Essentially it means that a maximum of 17 of the players in a Premier League squad don’t have to abide by that rule and this usually means that there are rarely more than 17 players in a Premier League squad. This is not as much about the rule as we have seen foreign players like Paul Pogba and Cesc Fabregas being considered homegrown as they came through the academies of Manchester United and Arsenal respectively. 

It is rare for English clubs to produce academy talents who are not British. It is also rare for British players to not qualify as homegrown as the large majority come through the academy of British teams. So this usually means there are no more than 17 foreign players in a Premier League squad due to the homegrown rules. 

Can an American play in the Premier League? 

There is no reason why an American player cannot play in the Premier League and across the history of the competition, there have been some brilliant American players. In the past, American legends like Tim Howard, Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore all played for a Premier League team. 

At the moment there are seven American players in the Premier League including Chelsea forward Christian Pulisic and the USA captain Tyler Adams. There is absolutely no reason why an American can’t play in the Premier League. 

Do any Australians play in the Premier League? 

At the time of writing, there are no Australians playing in the Premier League. There are a few players contracted to Premier League teams, playing elsewhere. Tyrese Francois was born in Campbelltown in Australia and has played eight times for the Australian under 23s team. However, he has been loaned out to Croatian side HNK Gorica for the 2022/23 season. 

Francois has played alongside Caleb Watts in the Australian youth team. Watts is a 20-year-old midfielder who came through the academy at Southampton and has made three appearances for the first team. For the 2022/23 season, he has been sent out on loan to League One side Morecambe. 

Cameron Peupion is the most likely Australian to play in the Premier League this season as he is part of the Brighton squad for the 2022/23 season. However, Peupion has not made his Premier League debut and has spent the majority of the season with Brighton’s academy teams, making one first-team appearance in the EFL Cup second round. 

Can footballers refuse to play for their country? 

Football players are under no obligation to play for their country, it is completely up to their choice. The large majority of players who are called up to the national team squad will play for their country as it is a great honour. However, there are still some players that we have seen refuse to play for their country. 

Chelsea midfielder Hakim Ziyech is a great example of this over the last few years. Ziyech is one of the best players for Morocco and yet he did not play for his country for over a year and even announced his retirement from international football at the age of 28. This was all down to Ziyech falling out with Morocco head coach Vahid Halilhodzic who claimed Ziyech had a poor attitude. 

The disagreement stemmed from Ziyech refusing to play due to injury, with the coach believing he could play. This led Ziyech and Noussair Mazraoui to refuse the invitation to play for Morocco in World Cup qualifying in March 2022. 

Ziyech came out of international retirement six months later thanks to the sacking of Halilhodzic and Ziyech represented his country at the 2022 World Cup, scoring the winner in the group stage against Canada. 


Life long Portsmouth Fan and have followed football since 1993. Is there a better sport on earth?

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