Stella Creasy: England football team struggling because it has too many privately-educated players

Posted On: 
22nd November 2016

Labour MP Stella Creasy has claimed England's football team under-performs because it has too many privately-educated players.

Arsenal and England star Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was privately-educated
PA Images

She said figures showed that 13% of the players did not go to comprehensives, meaning the side was not representative of the country at large.

Roy Hodgson quit as the England manager after the team's humiliating defeat to rank outsiders Iceland at the European Championships.

Mike Ashley claims MPs have made Sports Direct staff ‘a political football’ in bugging row

Theresa May savages 'utterly outrageous' Fifa decision to ban footballers wearing poppies

Vote Leave offer football fans £50m for predicting every European Championship result

Ms Creasy, who is the MP for Walthamstow, made the startling claim in a Commons debate on education and social mobility.

Conservative MP John Redwood argued it was fair that “elite sportspeople [are] selected at young age for special training”.

But in an intervention, Ms Creasy said: “Thirteen per cent of our national football team went to a private school, which is double the number of people who go to those private schools nationally.

“Does he think that might account for the performance of our national football team, if we’re missing out on the talent that exists in the comprehensive sector?

“And will he recognise that that is precisely the problem that we’re looking at today? We’re missing out on talent as a result of too narrow a focus.”

The statistic comes from the Government’s 2014 report into social mobility, which noted that football was a more representative sport than rugby or cricket.

But Mr Redwood shot back: “I don’t think we are going to get a better team by training them less, and no longer giving them any kind of elite education.

“I really think they are being very obtuse on the benches opposite.”