Last Friday David Butler, Justin Doran, Sean O'Conner and I presented our paper "Explaining International Selection through Multi-Level Modelling" at a workshop seminar in University College Cork. Our paper employs multi-level modelling (MLM) methods to analyse the impact of player-specific, as well as regional factors, on the number of international caps a player receives over the course of his career. Our hunch to start with is that individuals born in wealthier European regions are more likely to accumulate higher numbers of international caps as their abilities are developed in places that have access to relatively better footballing infrastructure such as improved playing surfaces and training regimes. The rationale for this comes from previous work on this blog by David who points out the large number of German national players from the former West Germany.
Our paper considers six European countries (England, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain) between 1993 and 2014. Our data includes information on player caps, position, career length, youth caps (dummy), region of birth, as well as NUTS 2 regional level data such as distance to capital (km) and income of region. Some descriptive statistics from the data are presented below.