A major BBC study has found that the minutes played by players from the Republic of Ireland in the English Premier League and the Championship have fallen over the last five years.

But the number has risen in the Scottish Premiership, reflecting the increase in players leaving here to make a living out of football in Scotland.

Ireland has slipped from second five years ago, to fourth in the league table of nations represented in the Premier League.

The Republic of Ireland is down one place to third in the Championship but players from here have held on to third place in the Scottish Premiership table and their minutes played have increased.

The English FA will be concerned by the figures that show that their players account for less than a third of all the minutes played in the top flight.

Spanish players account for 59 per cent of all minutes played in La Liga, while in Germany's Bundesliga, Germans make up 50 per cent.