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5 great English players who played abroad

Ben Winfield
ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
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Paul Gascoigne
Gascoigne is remembered as one of England's finest players

It is something that we have rarely seen in recent years, England players plying their trade outside of the country. Of the England World Cup squad, every single one of those players came from the Premier League, and they were the only team whose squad came entirely from their own country.

There is a chance that this has impacted negatively on England’s performance at major tournaments. The World Cup in Russia was a relative success, as England reached the semi-finals. This was their best World Cup performance since 1990, and their best at a major tournament since the European Championships in 1996.

England have often struggled to adapt to dealing with the different styles of football played by their opposition at major tournaments. We saw when they played Croatia, England didn’t have any ideas in the second half, and it was part of their downfall in that semi-final. 

There are a couple of young English players playing abroad at the moment, but it doesn’t really look like a trend. Jadon Sancho left Manchester City to sign for Borussia Dortmund last summer, while this year, Ronaldo Vieira joined Sampdoria from Leeds United. Ademola Lookman spent the second half of last season on loan with RB Leipzig but failed to complete a permanent move to Germany this summer.

However, we have seen a number of English players playing abroad in the past. Here are five of the greatest players who have left England to play elsewhere in Europe.


#1 David Beckham

Real Madrid v Cadiz
Beckham played for Real Madrid in their Galactico era

Golden Balls was one of the last high profile names to move abroad in search of greater success. Beckham spent the first part of his career with Manchester United, before leaving the Red Devils to join Real Madrid in 2003 in a deal worth £34 million. While with Real, he played alongside some of the greatest players in the world, such as Roberto Carlos, Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldo. He won only one major trophy though, the 2006/07 LaLiga title.

At the end of that season, he moved to LA Galaxy in the USA, and in doing so became the first big-name player to play in the MLS. During his five years in the States, he won two MLS Cups, and spent two loan spells with AC Milan. He finished his career by spending six months with PSG, during his wages were all given to charity. He continues to have an impact on US football now, with his new side, Inter Miami, set to join the MLS in 2020. 

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Ben Winfield
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