All-Time Premier League Asian XI
With the footballing world hooked into the Asian games at the moment, now seems the excellent time to celebrate some of the Asian players who have graced the Premier League during their career.
From Benayoun to Ji-Sung Park, the English Premier League has been fortunate enough to have played host to some of Asia's most significant exports.
Here's a starting XI of the best Asian players of the Premier League era, organized into a 3-5-2 formation.
#1 Ali Al Habsi (GK)
Ali Al Habsi spent nearly 12 years playing in England with Bolton and Wigan in the Premier League and then with Brighton and Reading in the Premiership He won the supporter's player of the season award on two separate occasions during his spell at Wigan. Habsi was pivotal in the Latics staying in the top flight as long as they did. Currently, he is playing for Al-Hilal Riyadh in Saudi Arabia.
#2 Sun Jihai (CB)
Sun Jihai was one of the first Chinese players to play in the Premier League. He made his debut with Crystal Palace in 1998 before moving on to Manchester City where he scored his first goal against Birmingham in 2002. The Chinese defender was a fan-favourite at City during his six-year spell at the club. Since 2015 he is acting as the Chinese ambassador for Manchester City and was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame the same year.
#3 Maya Yoshida (CB)
Yoshida was not a regular starter with the Saints during his initial days, but his commitment and hard work are now paying dividends for him. He played alongside a variety of defenders in Southampton, but he has always been able to hold his own. The 30-year-old is a powerhouse, and despite rumours linking him to numerous clubs in the summer he continues to be a Southampton player.
#4 Tal Ben Haim (CB)
Tal Ben Haim played for seven Premier League clubs - Bolton, Manchester City, Chelsea, Sunderland, Portsmouth, West Ham and Queens Park Rangers. He was very impressive in his early days with Bolton, but gradually his career took a downward spiral. Haim's playing time got reduced after his move to Chelsea, and he was unable to replicate his previous form ever again.