Dyke spells out formula to drag England back into game's top tier
New Football Association chairman Greg Dyke has set England the target of lifting the 2022 World Cup in Qatar – even though he fears there soon will not be enough English players in the Premier League to compete on the international stage.
Dyke deliberately chose an international week – England have a World Cup qualifier against Moldova at Wembley to contend with tomorrow night – to make a lengthy and wide-ranging speech outlining his concerns for the game.
Although he insisted his address should not be interpreted as a declaration of war on the Premier League, his major worries centre around the diminishing number of Englishmen in the top flight.
Dyke has pledged to set up a commission, that will include Premier League representation, to find a solution to the problem. And, given his target for the Three Lions, he intends work to begin pretty quickly.
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"I want to set the whole of English football two targets," he said. "The first is for the England team to at least reach the semi finals of the European Championship in 2020. The second is for us to win the World Cup in 2022.
"To show we are making progress, I'd like to see us do well in the Under-20 World Cup in 2017 with the objective of that squad then moving on to the Under-21 European Championship," Dyke added.
"Some will say that targets are only burdening our players with more pressure but top players have to be able to handle pressure if they want to be winners – and we want to be winners."
As Dyke pointed out, the 2020 mission could be aided by England having home advantage for some of their fixtures under UEFA's multi-host idea.
What he did not mention was that the following World Cup is due to be played in searing temperatures in Qatar. That competition will almost certainly be switched to winter, a move that will not go down well with the Premier League.
The notion that the Premier League needs to neuter its own competition – which Dyke accepts is the "most successful league in the world" – will make the league feel pretty uncomfortable, given the vast amounts of money it generates. Crucially, the FA has no control over it, which explains why Dyke is trying for the diplomatic route.
"Television ratings show quite clearly that fans certainly want a successful English team," he said. Yet the summer was spent obsessing about Jose Mourinho, David Moyes, Manuel Pellegrini and other Premier League affairs.
Only when England's Under-21 and Under-20 squads performed so abysmally at their respective competitions did consciences start to get pricked. Dyke feels there is a reason for that failure – and feels others will follow unless his fears are addressed.
"Last season's figure for the Premier League was 32% English players starting games," he revealed. "Do we let this trend continue? What happens when that declines to 25%, to 20% or even 15%?
"Do we still ignore the problem and hope it goes away? Or do we take action now?
"English football has a problem. English football has to find a solution together.
"It is crucial that English football finds a solution without undermining the undoubted success of the Premier League. We don't want to kill the golden goose in the search of the golden egg. But the situation is very serious. English football is a tanker which needs turning."