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Clubs make mockery of rules by leaving under 21s out of squads

| 02.09.2010

The fact that players under the age of 21 do not count as teams name their 25-man squads under new Premier League rules has resulted in all clubs not being hindered as was initially expected by the changed regulations.

It was the aim of the Premier League to force teams into including more home-grown players in their squads, alongside limiting the number of overseas players present, when stating that clubs had to name 25 players for the season, of which eight needed to be home-grown.

However, with the rules stating that an unlimited number of players aged under 21 could be included, many teams have used the rules to their advantage and caused the new system to be almost pointless despite their best intentions.

Gareth Bale has been arguably Tottenham’s best player this season, but is not in their squad, while Newcastle’s chief marksman Andy Carroll, who is 20/1 to finish the season as the Premier League’s top scorer, has also not made Chris Hughton’s 25.

Theo Walcott has been on fire so far this season at Arsenal, but is not in their 25, while neither is Jack Wilshere or Kieran Gibbs, who has been named in recent full England squads.

Marc Albrighton, Jack Rodwell and David N’Gog are additionally sure to feature heavily for their respective clubs, but are not in their squads.

Owen Hargreaves gets in at Manchester United, who are 9/4 to win the Premier League, despite his injury troubles as Sir Alex Ferguson has been permitted to avoid naming the likes of Rafael, Chris Smalling and Federico Macheda.

Meanwhile, Manchester City’s big summer signing Mario Balotelli is under 21 which means that there is a space in the City squad for Roque Santa Cruz.

Because of Arsenal’s vast number of youngsters they still have over 70 players to pick from this season and are 1/3 to gain a spot in the highly competitive top four.



Ed Needham