I am so utterly, utterly tired of the cant about the need to restrict foreign players in England. It's nauseating when the Grand Dame of Free Trade has to resort to protectionism - worse still when it's absolutely bleedin' obvious that protectionist policies will not improve matters one whit.
The problem, in a nutshell, is that the English national team is dreadful. Truly awful. No teamwork, no imagination, no tactical nous, and - let's face it - no goalkeeper either. National teams being national teams, you can't just buy new players when the old ones aren't doing the job. You have to play the hand you are dealt.
Well, obviously, say the protectionists - there's the problem! We have too many foreigners taking up places in the Premiership, not enough spaces for good English boys. Send Johnny Foreigner packing, and the Three Lions will bring back a trophy faster than you can say "European Labour Legislation".
At face value, this is utter nonsense. It suggests that Premiership coaches (let's not say English ones) are deliberately choosing underqualified foreigners in place of better qualified domestic players. Now, given the rewards of Premiership football, it's hard to see what would tempt a coach to tempt relegation by benching good locals and playing inferior foreigners.
Could it simply be that English players aren't as good as these imports? Hmmm?
But you're missing the point, say the protectionists. If only we could get more English players some top-level playing time, they'd improve, and then they'd be better than Johnny Foreigner and we could win back a trophy. So let's legislate a minimum number of good English boys per team!
Well, quite. But presumably any half-way forward thinking coach can make a rational choice between an experienced foreign international and an up-and-coming English player and choose accordingly. The fact that there are so many foreigners suggests that perhaps England's up-and-comers aren't really all that good either.
I mean, if young English players are so almost-flipping-good why aren't they going abroad to get first division experience in foreign leagues? After all, each time a foreigner leave the Dutch or French leagues, there's a spot opening up in that league that an ambitious English player could take.
But few if any take that route. Because most English footballers would prefer making big money and sitting on the bench than playing in the big show on lower wages on the continent. Because most English footballers can't deal with leagues where vicious kickings are punished by red cards, not a quiet word from the ref.
Because deep-down, most English footballers - despite their coddled existence - possess just enough self-awareness to know that they couldn't make it anywhere else, either.
They just aren't good enough. It's because of their coaching and training and mentality, all of which are miles from world-class.
Railing against Johnny Foreigner or imposing player quotas isn't going to change that.