In the aftermath of the feeble England Under 21s effort at this summer’s European Championships, Alan Shearer has bemoaned the state of the game and especially the problems facing the development of young players.

The former England and Newcastle captain believes that the amount of money young players now get, is a major obstacle in stopping them reach their full potenial.

In addition, Alan Shearer voices what many of us (especially ones with a few years on the clock) think about football today compared to past eras.

Yes there are some good players/teams but the hype covers up the reality that the Premier League isn’t really all that great.

Writing in his column for The Sun, Alan Shearer said:

“There is no longer an environment at the top level where a player can just evolve.

“The Premier League has, in many ways, created its own monster. Young players who show potential are immediately catapulted to a level that is undeserving.”

alan shearer


“With that comes demands for bigger contracts from agents and suddenly a teenager or someone in their early 20s is commanding £100,000 a week. With that contract just a little bit of the kid’s hunger is taken away.

“Our Premier League is a terrific product. It is exciting to watch but that deludes us into thinking it is of the highest standard. It is not. In fact the standard is not as good now as it was 10 years ago.”

What do you think?

It probably depends a lot on your age but certainly I (in my 40s) think that while there are some very good footballers, the Premier League is not as good as it was going back 10 and 20 years, and indeed isn’t as good as rival leagues, judging by the abject failure in recent years in the Champions League.

The Premier League might have the most money but it doesn’t have the best talent.

Here are the teams selected by Premier League players as the best last year, ten years ago and twenty years ago:

PFA Team of 2014/15

David de Gea (Man Utd), Ivanovic (Chelsea), Terry (Chelsea), Cahill (Chelsea), Bertrand (Southampton), Sanchez (Arsenal), Matic (Chelsea), Coutinho (Liverpool), Hazard (Chelsea), Kane (Spurs), Costa (Chelsea)

PFA Team of 2004/05

Petr Cech, Gary Neville, Rio Ferdinand, John Terry, Ashley Cole, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Arjen Robben, Andy Johnson, Thierry Henry

PFA Team of 1994/95

Tim Flowers, Rob Jones, Gary Pallister, Colin Hendry, Graeme Le Saux, Tim Sherwood, Paul Ince, Jurgen Klinsmann, Matthew Le Tissier, Chris Sutton, Alan Shearer

The team of 1994/95 was heavily weighted in terms of Blackburn coming from nowhere to win the league, six of their players featuring, including Alan Shearer.

I think moving back in time you had more players with more ability than you have now, you had some of the best technical players around in terms of creativity, as well as some of the top strikers.

The likes of Germany and Spain have cornered most of the top top players now though.

Looking at these respectives PFA teams, you had Shearer, Klinsmann and Le Tissier twenty years ago and the likes of Robben, Gerrard, Henry ten years ago.

Those players had the ability to play for pretty much anybody.

From the latest PFA team I think Eden Hazard is the only stand out player. Obviously all the ones listed are at least good or else they wouldn’t have made the teams, but there is a big difference between being good and being top class.

It is an endless debate because it is subjective comparing the eras, just like Alan Shearer though, I know that I am right.

  • NottsToon

    No doubt that the Prem was better is Shearers day, and not just because we had the man himself scoring for fun for us. 

    The current incarnation of NUFC is unarguably just a tatty advertising board for a tracksuit shop, but the entire league is little more than a giant advert without substance these days.

  • zemtex

    It’s a hard question because everyone wants to look back at their own era with rose-tinted glasses. I’d definitely say the league has become more homogenised and a less entertaining experience over the past decade (without any doubt the live match day experience is much much worse). It’s even harder to judge as a NUFC fan because obviously we’ve got a lot worse and a lot less entertaining.

    The article makes a lot of insinuations for me. Are the players worse today? I reckon the players today are better than those ten years ago just through the advances in training/ and fitness they get. Is the league less entertaining? I’d say I don’t get as much entertainment from it as a NUFC fan, but saying that the year we finished 5th was great. Are the players worse? Aguero isn’t even on that list. Suarez last year was the best player I’ve ever seen in the prem. I reckon the Bayern Munich and Atletico have put places in the later stages of Champions League football at a greater premium – but it’s not like the Spanish and German leagues have just corralled all the talent in the last ten years. Ronaldinho, Figo etc from ten + years ago prove otherwise. Overall is the league less talented or entertaining? I’d say to a NUFC yes, but not in general. It’s definitely a more open league than it was. 

    As fro the hunger question… it seems a bit of an arrogant point and completely baseless unless you’re gonna name names. Who does he have in mind? Sterling? Grealish? In general though I watched the so-called England golden generation limp out of every trophy with a whimper, so I don’t Shearer has any right to question the hunger of today’s players. Especially when he retired from England at 29.

  • TonnekToon

    NottsToon  It seems just to be about making a fast Buck these day’s .The Clubs , and Sky have been doing it for years , and now BT are jumping on the money making bad wagon. It’s the fans that pay ultimately and they’re not getting a good return for their hard earned .

  • 1957

    I’m sure pundits from the generation before Shearer thought the same.

  • fireflyuk

    The Premier League is a circus, nothing more, this is highlighted by our poor performances in Champions League. There is nothing wrong with that if you just want entertainment and judging by the money Sky  pump into it most people do because it sells.