Of the 220 professional football players who started this weekend’s matches, only 71 of them qualify to play for England.

This represents only 32.3% of the total number of players, though a small improvement on the overall average for this season of 30.7%.

Newcastle played their own small part, playing four of the 71 England qualified players – Steven Taylor, Rolando Aarons, Andros Townsend and Jonjo Shelvey, representing 36% of United’s starting eleven.

Naturally this is an ongoing problem and surely only to get progressively worse when every club has an extra £40m-£50m per year from TV deals, with the bulk of that money no doubt going to be spent overseas.

Only 17 of each club’s 25 man squad can be non-homegrown, although this only helps to a certain degree, with players such as Tim Krul qualifying as homegrown because he was at Newcastle from an early age.

When you consider how many players clubs like Chelsea and Arsenal bring from abroad at a young age, that exasperate the problem. Then in Newcastle’s case you also have English players such as Dummett and Elliot who have already pledged themselves to Wales and Ireland.

The signings of both Townsend and Shelvey are a massive step in the right direction and it can only be good for everybody, including Roy Hodgson, that two potential candidates for this summer’s Euros are now getting regular football.

In the first half of the season, Jack Colback was really the only potential England player who was first choice, with there being matches such as that on 21 November 2015…

Newcastle 0 Leicester 3

This is how Newcastle lined up:

Elliot, Coloccini, Janmaat, Mbemba, Dummett, Sissoko, Tiote, Anita, Wijnaldum, Perez, Mitrovic

Not a single player in the starting eleven who could play for England.

It isn’t the be all and end all having England potentials in the squad, but already we are seeing the benefits of having quality players such as Townsend and Shelvey, who can come in and reach a level of play that has been sadly lacking for so many of our squad this season.