England’s football team has surpassed expectations this summer at the World Cup, but where are the green spaces in the country that helped produce these players?
We have pulled the data for every playing field in the land and it throws up some interesting results.
Analysis of our OS Open Greenspace Data reveal that, despite larger numbers of playing fields existing in southern England, the majority of Gareth Southgate’s stars were forged further north.
By region, the most playing fields in the country can be found in the South East with 3,228. However, there isn’t a single member of the World Cup squad who grew up playing the game there.
The second highest number is in the South West with 2,452, where Eric Dier (Cheltenham) and Jack Butland (Clevedon) first honed their skills.
Yorkshire and Humber – which ranks fourth for the number of playing fields in England (2,179) – has proved a hotbed of talent by providing six players. Sheffield punches above its weight with Jamie Vardy, Harry Maguire and Kyle Walker coming from a city with 114 playing fields to kick around on. Danny Rose (Doncaster), John Stones (Barnsley) and Fabian Delph (Bradford) also hail from this region.
The other core area is the North West, ranked fifth, which has 2,157 playing fields. It has also produced six players. Kieran Trippier (Ramsbottom), Jessie Lingard (Warrington), Phil Jones (Clayton Le-Wood), Danny Welbeck and Marcus Rashford (Manchester), and Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) grew up in this sporting heartland.
London has the smallest number of playing fields with 773, but the capital still produced captain Harry Kane (Chingford), strike partner Raheem Sterling (Wembley) and midfielder Rueben Loftus Cheek (Lewisham).
The North East, which has 844 playing fields, is represented by goalkeeper Jordan Pickford (Washington) and Jordan Henderson (Sunderland). The East of England, third highest with 2,415, lays claim to Ashley Young (Stevenage), Delle Alli (Milton Keynes) and Nick Pope (Ely).
The East Midlands, home to 1,955 playing fields, is the part of the country which saw Gary Cahill (Dronfield, Derbyshire) begin learning his trade. The West Midlands, with 1,714 playing fields, was unrepresented by World Cup stars this time around.
|Region||No. of playing fields|
|East of England||2415|
|Yorkshire and Humber||2179|
Data provided by OS Greenspace Open Data.