If they can, how come we can’t?
At every Premiership club there are players from different parts of the world. They come and earn their living at the greatest league of them all. But why is it some of our players that have tried have failed?
I’m not saying they all fail but there are more failures than successes. You can go back as far as the great John Charles who was adored by the Juventus fans for years after his stint with the club.
In 1997 they voted him the club's best-ever foreign player - ahead of Michel Platini and Zinedine Zidane. Charles scored 93 goals in 155 appearances for Juventus, winning three Italian titles and the Coppa Italia twice.
Both Graeme Souness and Trevor Francis played for Sampdoria, both players winning silverware but not exactly setting the Italian football seen alight.
David Platt had four successful years in Italy after joining Bari in 1991 he won the UEFA Cup with Juventus in 1993 and then the Coppa Italia with Sampdoria in 1994.
Gary Lineker scored 21 goals in his first season with Barcelona and won the Copa Del Rey and European Cup Winners' Cup with the club. He ended his career with an injury-ravaged spell in Japan with Grampus Eight. He is fondly remembered by Barcelona fans to this day.
Kevin Keegan won the European Footballer of the Year award twice during his time at Hamburg; he helped the club win the Bundesliga in 1979 and 1980 European Cup final where they lost to Nottingham Forest.
What about the home grown football players that are playing in other leagues around the world?
The most obvious one is David Beckham who is still the world’s highest paid player if you include his endorsements; Beckham is more of a brand than a footballer now but still he’s adored in the United States. He was also a success in Spain with Real Madrid and in Italy where he played on loan at AC Milan.
Michael Mancienne, the former Chelsea defender is over in Germany with Kevin Keegan’s former club Hamburg. Robbie Keane, the Republic of Ireland captain is a teammate of David Beckham’s at MLS Galaxy. David Bentley is in Russia with FC Rostov, it will be interesting to see how he gets on.
That’s about it as far as footballers that are household names are concerned. Now I bet you could name eleven foreign players without even thinking about it too much, and yet I can barely manage to get a five a side team.
One last thing; how many successful English Managers have done the same abroad? That’s another article!
image: © wonker