10 British footballers currently playing outside the UK

There's a growing number of British players moving abroad
There's a growing number of British players moving abroad

British footballers plying their trade away from the Premier League is still a rarity. That's because the sheer might and appeal of England's top-flight seldom persuades homegrown talents to look elsewhere.

There have been a handful of notable stars such as David Beckham, Gary Lineker, Steve McManaman, and Michael Owen, who've taken the unconventional route and tested foreign waters before. But the trend of British footballers leaving the UK for different challenges is now slowly gathering steam.

This season alone, as many as six such players sought greener pastures away from British shores. Most of them are impressing, and the numbers will only be seen escalating henceforth.

So, let's take a look at the top 10 British players currently based abroad:


#10 Joe Ledley (Newcastle Jets)

The Welsh great was an important part of the side which reached the Euro 2016 semi-finals
The Welsh great was an important part of the side which reached the Euro 2016 semi-finals

Remember the lad? The ex-Crystal Palace midfielder was notorious for nasty challenges, and also infamous for sporting a hipster beard like he's straight out of the set of Vikings!

Well, the Welshman quietly vanished from the scene when he left the Eagles in 2017. He went down to the Championship, where he had a pair of short stints with Derby County and Charlton Athletic, before jetting off to Australia this year.

He signed a short-term deal with A-League outfit Newcastle Jets to avoid 'post-career regrets about not playing abroad', and made three appearances before the pandemic-enforced hiatus. Ledley reunited with his former Wales team-mate Carl Robinson, who serves as the club's manager, and at 33, is in the twilight of his career.


#9 Ademola Lookman (RB Leipzig)

Lookman's second stint at Leipzig hasn't gone according to plan
Lookman's second stint at Leipzig hasn't gone according to plan

Before the permanent switch last year, Ademola Lookman had joined RB Leipzig in January 2018 on a loan until the end of the season, and he impressed a great deal. In 11 appearances in the Bundesliga, he struck five goals and assisted four more. Convinced, the Toffees then decided to bring him back for the 2018/19 season, but the youngster flattered to deceive.

So the 22-year old relocated to Saxony once again last summer, and permanently this time. Thus far, he has played only nine games in the league, as Leipzig's wealth of attacking options have relegated Lookman in the pecking order. He hasn't scored or provided an assist this season so far.


#8 Ethan Ampadu (RB Leipzig)

Ampadu rejected several offers from Championship clubs to join Leipzig last summer
Ampadu rejected several offers from Championship clubs to join Leipzig last summer

After promising displays with Chelsea, the 19-year old Ampadu too moved to RB Leipzig last summer on loan for more game time. However, he has found himself on the bench for the vast majority of this season so far - he's played only 277 minutes, most of which have surprisingly come in the Champions League.

Lukas Klostermann and Dayot Upamecano's solid defensive pairing at the heart of Leipzig's backline has given the Englishman no chance to force his way into the side. And to make matters worse, he hasn't even been in the matchday squad for any of the games since the restart. Rumors suggest he may return to the Premier League next season for another loan spell.


#7 Daniel Sturridge (Trabzonspor)

Sturridge's last whereabouts were in the Turkish league with Trabzonspor
Sturridge's last whereabouts were in the Turkish league with Trabzonspor

After a lot of speculation, Liverpool outcast Daniel Sturridge finally left the club permanently last year. After 160 appearances and 68 goals under his belt at Liverpool, he joined Turkish side Trabzonspor on a free transfer.

He was having a decent campaign, and netted seven times from 15 games in all competitions. But in March this year, the striker was slapped with a four-month worldwide ban for breaching betting rules.

Sturridge was also fined £150,000, and his contract with the Black Sea Storm was also mutually terminated the same day. So now, the ex-Liverpool star is without a club. He makes this list as football all across the globe was anyways suspended, but the controversy may have tarnished his legacy.


#6 Ashley Young (Inter Milan)

 United fans must have been surprised with Young's performances at Inter
United fans must have been surprised with Young's performances at Inter

Once an instrumental part of Manchester United's squad, Ashley Young became an object of derision at Old Trafford last season after a series of disastrous performances. He even fell out of favour with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, which eventually paved the way for a loan move to Inter Milan in January.

Young has completed 90 minutes in every league game he has participated in, and has already established himself in Antonio Conte's plans. He even assisted Lautaro Martinez for a goal on his Serie A debut, before getting on the score sheet in a defeat to Lazio. Thanks to his bright start, the Nerazzurri are now set to extend his stay by another 12 months.


#5 Aaron Ramsey (Juventus)

After a slow start, Ramsey was finding his feet again before the pandemic hit
After a slow start, Ramsey was finding his feet again before the pandemic hit

The Welshman waved an emotional goodbye to Arsenal last summer after 11 long years of association, during which he played crucial roles in the club's numerous silverware success. He joined Serie A champions Juventus on a free transfer, but struggled to settle in for the first couple of months, and sustained various injuries.

Maurizio Sarri's tactical changes finally started bringing the best out of him. The 29-year old's performances in the last couple of matches before the suspension showed encouraging signs of improvement, and he was involved in three of the last four goals scored by Juventus in the league.


#4 Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid)

Trippier has been an instant hit with the Rojiblancos
Trippier has been an instant hit with the Rojiblancos

Kieran Trippier's time at Tottenham Hotspur came to a disappointing end last season, after his level of performance declined dramatically. He was also guilty of committing too many defensive errors. Subsequently, he moved to Atletico Madrid for £20 million later on in the summer, which made him the club's first British player in 95 years.

Trippier marked his debut with an assist for Alvaro Morata in Atletico's 1-0 win over Getafe on the opening matchday, and went on to build on this positive start. He has played 19 league games thus far, which could've been more had he not been sidelined for a month earlier this year due to a groin injury.


#3 Chris Smalling (AS Roma)

Smalling has revived himself at Stadio Olimpico
Smalling has revived himself at Stadio Olimpico

Just like Ashley Young, Chris Smalling was another high-profile player who fell out of favour at Old Trafford, and was ostracised by Solskjaer at the start of the 2019/20 season. He then moved to AS Roma on deadline day of last summer's transfer window.

With 28 appearances under his belt already, Smalling has nailed his spot at the heart of the Roma's defense. The 30-year old has been one of the few bright spots in an otherwise erratic season for the Giallorossi, and has even scored twice. There are rumours that he is set to be offered another loan term by Roma when the current contract ends.


#2 Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund)

Sancho is England's hottest property right now
Sancho is England's hottest property right now

The 20-year old joined the Borussen in 2017 after being dropped from Manchester City's pre-season squad at the start of the season. He made a stellar breakthrough in the 2018/19 campaign, and hasn’t looked back ever since.

In 84 appearances since the start of last season, Sancho has been directly involved in 72 goals - only Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski have contributed more in the same period. He broke numerous records along the way, and has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester United this summer.


#1 Gareth Bale (Real Madrid)

Bale is one of the most successful British players of all-time!
Bale is one of the most successful British players of all-time!

Gareth Bale swapped the white of Tottenham Hotspur for the white of Real Madrid in 2013, for a then-world-record fee of £85 million. Ever since, he has played 249 times in all competitions. He has either scored and assisted 172 goals, and has lifted numerous trophies along the way, including four Champions League titles and three Club World Cups.

He has even scored in various finals. However, the Welshman’s time at the Santiago Bernabeu has also been riddled with a plethora of injury issues, and he now finds himself out of favour with manager Zinedine Zidane. The 30-year old winger was also on the verge of moving to China last year, but the deal was called off at the eleventh hour, even though he continues to be linked with exit rumours.

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Edited by Sai Krishna
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