The recent emergence to the first team of Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford is an indication that all is not dead in the football academy world. But is this an exception and if so, why are the academies not producing more stars?

What is the problem?

Overall there seems to be a lull currently in young footballers making it through to the first team. The problem seems to be a desire for foreign players rather than that of the homegrown players. But why is that? Because of the need for instant success, most managers will not be given the time develop the youth if they know that a player in, for example, Spain is available and can deliver instant success.

The Yahoo sports site noted that the Premier League has a higher proportion of foreign players than in any of the other twelve leagues in Europe. In addition, the Telegraph newspaper stated that the number of English players starting matches in the Premier League this season plunged to almost 15 percent to its lowest-ever figure. From the campaign so far, just 31 percent of all starters in the league were qualified to represent England. It is not surprising that the form of the national side has suffered as a result of this in recent years. Compare this with the likes of Barcelona who in 2014 had thirteen homegrown players in their squad, including the likes of Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta.

It is largely as a result of this failing that led to the building of St George's Park. The former FA chairman David Bernstein said in response to its opening, as the BBC sports reported, that "we have to get more players through who can be full England international and this is where it will happen".

The example of Manchester United

So what is required for the academies to change? Let us look at Manchester United. Sir Alex Ferguson said, as reported on the Tribal Football website, that "one of the first things I did at Manchester United was to build a proper structure for the youth system". He also stated that "when you run any organisation you have to look as far down the road as you can".

It is of no surprise therefore that they produced an array of exciting young talent in the 1990s. The likes of Gary and Phil Neville, Ryan Giggs, David Beckham and Paul Scholes, known as Fergie's fledglings, went on to become legends at the club. So the key is investment, committing and trust. But what about now? Young players have been used more recently by United; players such as Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford. But were their introductions part of a process of bringing in new talent or simply because they were short of numbers?

Attempts being made

There are attempts currently by some Premier League clubs to introduce young talent. At Liverpool players such as Kevin Stewart, Connor Randall and Sheyi Ojo have all been used recently.

Another example can be found at Manchester City. Money has been invested in their attempts to unearth the next big thing. The club's Abu Dhabi owners spent 150 million pounds sterling on their football academy. The Telegraph newspaper has gone as far to say that they are "revolutionising the entire football academy system". Some are even saying that their academy is the "Masia of the North".

Overall it seems that the academies are failing. A lack of trust and time for youth players to adapt in addition to a lack of a long term focus are the main reasons why the academy conveyor belt has dried up in the Premier League. This is having a knock-on effect, not only in the league itself, but also with the national team as well.