England football player numbers at new low
Only 170 of the 498 players who started matches in the top flight in 2007-08 were English - just 34.1% of the total.
It marks a big slide from 2006-07, when 191 (38%) of the starters were English.
"The number is important because that's what I can choose from," said England manager Fabio Capello when asked about BBC Sport's findings on Tuesday.
"But more important is quality - the level of the player. At the moment the total is 34% but the (quality) level is high.
"The work being done in the academies is very important. We probably have to change the system of training for young players.
"At Under-21, and younger national teams, we have a lot of good players.
"For the future, I hope next season is not 34% but 40%. It will be better for me and England football."
At first glance, Capello's diplomatic answer would seem to make complete sense. After all, only last week two English clubs played in the Champions League final and 10 of the 22 starters were English.
But the fact remains that his side is preparing for two end-of-season friendlies this week - against the USA on Wednesday and Trinidad and Tobago on Sunday - and not this summer's Euro 2008.