Originally Posted by grenache
98% of Premier League footballers hailing from Britain/Ireland are of an extremely mediocre quality. And funnily enough, 99% of the over-rated players are English. The likes of Phil Jones, Jack Rodwell, Scott Parker, Stuart Downing, etc, would not get a sideways glance in Spain, Italy or Germany. Players from these islands have little technical ability, and far less confidence on the ball than their Continental counterparts. We are 30 years behind the rest of Europe. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand why teams from these islands have fared so poorly at international tournaments, particularly since the mid 80s. People say the EPL is/was the most entertaining league in the world. Might or might not be true, but either way, it certainly is not down to players from these islands plying their trade in it.
How would you explain the likes of Gerrard or Lampard being key men in two of the top sides in Europe between 05-10?
I agree with some of what you say, if you look at the technical ability and composure on the ball from even smaller sides in Italy or Spain it can put some of the top Premier League players to shame, but there's more than one way to play football. It doesn't have to be ticky-tacka (or however it's spelt), and you won't usually find that style in England - teams like Wigan and WBA who have attempted it in recent years have been lauded and praised for their approach but ultimately it has not been successful. Arsenal, for me, between 08-11 probably played the 'best' football (as you would term it) and the composure and technical ability of their players was a joy to watch, but what did they win? Nothing.
Look at Stoke, they went out pretty narrowly over two games to the 3rd best team in Spain. Valencia are a class act with players of very high technical quality in the terms that you have described it. The purists hate Stoke and their style of play, but ultimately there's a lot of things that they do better than some of the top continental teams, such as attacking and defending set-pieces.
So just because Continental teams have overall better 'Xavi-like' attributes than English teams in general, that doesn't necessarily mean they are all in a different league to English teams. There are other attributes to be taken into account.
ANyway this is pretty off-topic but just my 2c