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Greatest foreign XI in Premier League history

The Premier League has been home to several world-class players over the years
The Premier League has been home to several world-class players over the years
David James
EXPERT COLUMNIST

The Premier League is arguably one of the most exciting leagues in the world at the moment. With several teams vying for supremacy in a highly competitive environment, the league attracts the world's best footballing talent.

The likes of Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Liverpool have built some incredible teams over the years. While their rosters often feature the very best of talent that England has to offer, their inimitable dominance has been massively bolstered by a series of marquee signings.

In terms of foreign talent, the Premier League remains unrivaled in the modern era. Coming up with a definitive lineup of the league's best imports is no mean feat. I have decided to go with a 3-4-3 to accommodate the wealth of attacking talent on offer in the Premier League.

A back three is an essential part of this team, because I'm struggling to contain this selection to eleven players. I've uncovered a fair share of old wounds coming up with this list - these players have caused me plenty of misery in my playing days.

This is my eleven and not a fan's lineup - there are bound to be some exceptional players who are going to miss out. This is more a team of players I've played against than a team based on statistics.

Without further ado, let's take a look at an XI of the greatest foreign players to have plied their trade in the Premier League.


Goalkeeper: Petr Cech

Chelsea v Sunderland - Premier League
Chelsea v Sunderland - Premier League

Most fans of the game would pick Peter Schmeichel as their go-to Premier League shot-stopper because of his incredible list of achievements. I'm going to go with Petr Cech, however, simply because he played his part in the evolution of goalkeeping.

Kasper Schmeichel made some legendary saves in the Premier League, but you could score against his Manchester United side. Defense wasn't necessarily their defining aspect. With Chelsea, however, you'd need something special to find the back of the net, particularly in Cech's first Premier League season.

Cech's statistics for Chelsea speak for themselves. He holds the record for the fewest appearances to reach 100 clean sheets, and took only 180 matches to achieve the feat. Cech was an excellent person off the pitch and learned several languages to get along with his star-studded Chelsea squad.

His mental resolve sets him apart as one of the Premier League's best-ever goalkeepers. He achieved much of his success after his comeback from injury and remains one of the strongest personalities to ever feature in the Premier League.


Right center-back: Denis Irwin

Denis Irwin was one of the most reliable players under Sir Alex Ferguson
Denis Irwin was one of the most reliable players under Sir Alex Ferguson

Denis Irwin was one of the greatest full-backs of his time. The Manchester United great was one of the few defenders who could inspire fear in his opponents with his forward runs.

Irwin is one of the most underrated members of his Manchester United squad. The Irishman's persona on the pitch was instrumental to his side's success and played a pivotal role in shaping the role of football's modern full-back.


Center-back: Nemanja Vidic

Manchester United v Hull City - Premier League
Manchester United v Hull City - Premier League

Nemanja Vidic's defensive partnership with Rio Ferdinand remains one of the most successful in Premier League history. The Serbian defender is a wonderful person off the pitch, but had the uncanny ability to transform into a monster when Manchester United needed his talents.

Vidic read the game very well and his calm demeanor rubbed off on his teammates. The Manchester United defender posed regular headaches at our team meetings and was a nightmare to play against.


Left center-back: Patrice Evra

Manchester United v Aston Villa - Premier League
Manchester United v Aston Villa - Premier League

Harry Redknapp once told us to cross the ball over Patrice Evra's head, because he was small and was unlikely to jump up to reach the ball. Needless to say, our ideas backfired.

Patrice Evra can leap like a salmon. The Frenchman was on another level in terms of competitive aggression and could play anywhere across the defensive line. Evra is one of the most well-rounded full-backs I've come across and is one of the Premier League's all-time greats.


Also Read: Jim Beglin column - 5 Premier League players who can revive their careers this season (2021-22)

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Edited by Vishal Subramanian
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