In the light of Roy Hodgson's record-breaking England squad announcement last week - the Worst Squad in Living Memory (and I'm including that couple who were celebrating their 80th wedding anniversary's memory) - it's interesting to note what's happening to the (one-time) 'best' English prospects at the moment.
Danny Welbeck seems destined to leave Old Trafford. Mind you, if he wants to go to a better team then there's plenty of choice at the moment. Micah Richards, yesterdays's England right-back for a generation, has been seen in Florence. Jack Rodwell is gracing the Stadium of Plight. Zaha's back at Palace.
Meanwhile those Englishmen still retained by their clubs, probably on the basis of UEFA's home-grown players legislation rather than any respect for their abilities, sit in idle splendour, doing fuck-all for a fuck-of-a-lot.
Scott Sinclair, more renowned for being the boyfriend of the ever-exposed Helen "put 'em away love" Flanagan than a professional person in his own right, is still at Man City. Josh McEachran has been loaned out so many times he's a Chelsea player in name only. From Boro to Arnhem; he's goes to all the glam places, that lad, and I think that Arnhem might be a bridge too far.
The call-ups for Colback and Rose are truly dispiriting. That barrel must be well and truly scraped now. Pardew says that some have called Colback 'the ginger Pirlo'. Good, Alan. And I'm sure someone will have called Alan Pardew the Cockney Clough once. If they're a twat.
It's not that encouraging that Jagielka, Milner and Johnson have been retained either. Injuries haven't helped Hodgson but we are truly in forlorn times as a national team.
It doesn't help, therefore, that Manchester United - once a bastion of bringing forward youth players and thrusting them into the fray - have seen fit to simply buy every mildly ambitious international superstar in the world game. Falcao's loan from Monaco underlines the fact. It's hard to make a case for even Rooney starting a game at OT now.
The only Englishman likely to get given a game by LVG soon will be Smalling or Jones - and that selection will be made on the toss of a coin.
This is a transfer window that needs to close before those of us with an abiding if misplaced love of the England national team throw ourselves headlong out of it and dash our scrambled brains on the pavement beneath. The last time England were this bad, that Norwegian commentator launched into his 'your boys took a helluva beating' monologue. Thankfully, England open their autumn campaign with a friendly against... Norway. Shit.
But if there is an abiding memory of this particular August flogfest it will be the flock of football locusts that swept along the north coast of the Solent this August. A once-prosperous crop of flourishing seedlings lopped down and transplanted into new soil.
It'd be fascinating to ask Nathaniel Clyne (surely the best English right-back available at present) or James Ward-Prowse (a better bet than Colback) how they feel about still being at St. Mary's. Like survivors of some desperate military campaign they must occasionally ask themselves 'Why did I survive, and not the others?'
Morgan Schneiderlin, after a fine performance in Saints 3-1 victory at West Ham (and please God can the Hammers not drop down a division so that we're spared the relentless stodge of Allardyce's teams - they are the footballing equivalent of workhouse gruel) - yes, young Schneiderlin looked bewildered that he was still there too.
It would be nice, don't you think, for the bigger clubs to take a look at Southampton, see how they discover and develop such fine players, and ooh, I dunno, try and do the same thing themselves. Rather than just waiting for them to cough up a Bale or a Walcott or a Lallana.
While I've got me middle-aged man's munk on, forty years ago, the Saints would've kept that entertaining squad together and developed a team that would, within two or three years, have won something.
I've just begun reading 'The Unforgiven', the story of Don Revie's Leeds United. Revie started with bog-all, bar a curmudgeonly centre-back called Jack Charlton and a twinkle-toed malicious little sod called Billy Bremner. The rest of that simultaneously horribly brilliant, brilliantly horrible team was, with a few additions,
peopled by what UEFA would nowadays call 'homegrown talent'.
It couldn't happen today. Simply could not. Sadly, the Southampton squad, shorn of native talent but awash with cash, is loaded now with plenty of new talent, very little of it English. Or even British.
The fact that Ross Barkley has pledged his immediate future to Everton is a minor miracle. Then again, the overachieving fifth place is unlikely to materialise this season and then we'll see how limpet-like the lad's attachment to the club is.
Of course there's another reason that Hodgson's squad is so threadbare. There aren't enough decent and uninjured Englishmen available to bloody well fill the squad places. And there's a deeper malaise too. Why is it that talented teenage Englishmen barely get any better at the game as they get into their twenties.
Is Rooney better now than he was in 2004? What the hell has happened to Phil Jones, when as a 19-year-old at Blackburn he bullied the hell out of top opposition strikers? And will Andy Carroll actually walk again without pulling a groin? More to the point, will Sterling, Barkley, Oxlade-Chamberlain and the other few wither on the English vine or step up a level like Gareth Bale (NB not English)?
The transfer window simply illuminates the paucity of available English talent and the lack of interest the big clubs have in using them even if they are there. Manchester United's pre-season shopping is reminiscent of Abramovich's Chelsea when the money first came in. It's a kind of arbitrary purchase of anyone going, as far as I can tell.
And in all that spend. spend, spend there's only been one Englishman: Luke Shaw. And he's now in a squad with Rojo and Blind. And the manager doesn't rate his fitness. He's got bench-warmer written all over him.