The opening weekend of Premier League fixtures marked an all-time low in terms of the number of Englishmen beginning games at the start of a season. A Guardian study shows two-thirds of those on view in the first round of fixtures were foreign nationals, highlighting the falling number of homegrown players in the top flight.

Back in August 1992, 177 players, or 73.1%, featuring in first-day first XIs held English nationality but this year that figure fell to 75, or 34.1%. This dramatic decrease has left the Premier League trailing Spain's La Liga, Germany Bundesliga, Italy's Serie A and France's Ligue One by some distance when it comes to showcasing indigenous talent and, it is argued, has impacted on the fortunes of England teams at all levels.

Roy Hodgson, the manager of the senior national team who already face a tough battle to qualify for the World Cup, can only be alarmed that of 61 signings made by top-flight clubs for transfer fees this summer, a mere 12 have involved English players. None of last season's top eight has paid a fee for an English player since the transfer window opened.

While this is partly attributable to the reality that imports are appreciably better value than their high-priced English counterparts, deficiencies in youth development, coaching culture and wider education also all contribute to the failure of England-born players to make the required grade. Only three of the 23-man Under-21 squad that beat Scotland 6-0 last week started in the Premier League last weekend.

"Everyone recognises the need for greater numbers of English players getting opportunities in the Premier League," Sir Trevor Brooking, the FA's director of football development, told the Guardian. "It is something Ged Roddy [the Premier League's director of youth], Dan Ashworth [the FA director of elite development] and I have worked closely on with the EPP [Elite Player Performance Plan].

"Ged and the Premier League share our desire to improve upon the quality of young players coming through the academy system. Combined with the work in kids' football to change the culture and increase technical standards, and raising the coaching standards through St George's Park, there is a lot being done."

The FA and Premier League are often seen as being at loggerheads but a Premier League spokesman stressed that, as Roddy's work emphasises, this is not the case. "We are one season into the Elite Player Performance Plan for which £340m has been committed over four seasons to enhance youth development programmes across the Premier League," he said.

"The number one stated aim of the plan is to produce more and better home-grown players. We saw some very good performances from English and British players over the weekend and the clubs are working hard to develop more who are of the quality to play Premier League football."

Richard Scudamore, the Premier League's chief executive, feels that his organisation have been blamed unfairly for the growing imbalance in elite English football. No to mention the dismal failure of the England Under-21 and Under-20 teams in this summer's respective junior European Championship in Israel and World Cup in Turkey.

"It's not the Premier League's fault the country's population is only 60 million and there are 212 countries playing this game," said Scudamore last month. "It's bigger than us."

• This article was amended on 20 August 2013. The original said the number of English players in the Premier League for the 2013/14 season was 74, 33.6%. This has been corrected.