Everton

Arteta Denied, Unreasonable? Not Particularly…

He's Spanish, not English

And so the most bizarre international transfer (rare as they are in the first place) is not going to happen; at the age of 28, time is marching on for Mikel Arteta, despite signing a new five year contract with Everton.

From a neutral perspective, it appears to very unlikely that he will break into a Spain side who are the champions of Europe and the entire world, containing the likes of Xabi, Fernando Torres and Andres Iniesta in its ranks. Unless anyone reading this is Mikel Arteta himself then this is probably good news in disguise, especially since the boffins at FIFA have made the effort to trawl through the rulebook for an explanation:

“At the time of a player’s first full or partial appearance in an international match in an official competition for his current association, he must already have the nationality of the representative team for which he wishes to play.”

Last night, England confounded all critics by romping to a 4-0 victory at Wembley, and although Bulgaria were very poor themselves, England’s clinical approach to goal through youthful (albeit somewhat inexperienced) inclusions paid dividends.

At the moment, Arteta is not exactly topping the formbooks despite the closing of the transfer window allaying fears of Goodison exits, and with his free kicks now also very much off target, the decision to leave Arteta out of a national side is presently a sensible one.

Although nobody is going to get carried away by thumping a distinctly average team like Bulgaria, the vigour and verve in England’s ranks was abundant once again, and although Euro 2012 would undoubtedly be a different matter if England get there, the importance of including only “home-grown” players (Arteta does not fit this description) is more paramount than ever.

The belief that Sky / Premier League’s combination has ruined the chances for youngsters to learn at the top level is an age-old debate, yet it cannot be denied that with the forced inclusion of young home-grown players due to the recent legislation, lineups similar to those perhaps fondly remembered in the Premiership’s early days may once again emerge.

It was in those days that England last experienced significant success against “fellows” such as Italy, Spain and Holland, and the statistics do not lie: Don’t let last night’s result fool you, England were dire in the first half and very lucky to go in ahead.

Ultimately, there is only one way for England to snap out of their current malaise, and that is to learn from the old system whereby young players were properly nurtured and given more than one chance to perform.

Everton are a prime example of this vicious circle being slowly broken, with the youngsters showing a great potency in front of goal against Huddersfield when no doubt the more game-worn, seasoned professionals would have most likely put in a much more laboured performance (see match report vs Huddersfield for more details). Ultimately, Arteta’s move to England would do neither club nor country any favours.

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