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English Players Abroad


English Players Abroad

Between the 2000s and mid-2010s, English players plying their trade abroad, particularly in Europe became somewhat of a rarity, as following Real Madrid's quartet of Steve McManaman, David Beckham, Michael Owen and Jonathan Woodgate, there were only a few examples of high-profile players doing so, with Joey Barton, Micah Richards and Joe Cole signing for Marseille, Fiorentina and Lille.

However, there is now a large wave of Englishman plying their trade outside of their homeland, something that seemed to emerge heavily around the time that Jadon Sancho left Manchester City to join Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2017.

Here we take a look at established English players abroad, as well as some prodigious talents to keep an eye out for.

Abraham & Tomori

Serie A & Serie B

Serie A has become a league where plenty of English players are plying their trade, much like the days of the early 1990s when Des Walker, David Platt and Paul Gascoigne all played for respective sides such as Sampdoria, Juventus and Lazio.

AC Milan: Fikayo Tomori and Ruben Loftus-Cheek

English duo Fikayo Tomori and Ruben Lotus-Cheek both came through the Chelsea setup and have made the move to Serie A for regular first-team football, with Tomori being at the Italian giants since 2021 after an initial loan spell.

The 25-year-old, despite being a defender became the first Englishman to score for AC Milan since David Beckham in 2009 which was also the Italian side's first victory over Juventus since 2011. In the 2021/22 season, Tomori won the Serie A title with Milan which was the club's first in over a decade.

Loftus-Cheek made the move in the 2023 summer transfer window and has clocked up five appearances and managed two assists at the start of the season. His impact has helped put Milan into 3rd place and he will look to add some goals and build upon his strong start to the season.

AS Roma: Tammy Abraham & Chris Smalling

Another Chelsea graduate to make the move to Italy, Tammy Abraham joined the AS Roma ranks in 2021 and has scored 36 goals in 107 competitive games.

After netting 17 goals in his inaugural Serie A campaign, Abraham only managed eight league goals in the 2022/23 season and has yet to feature so far this campaign due to an ACL injury suffered on the final day of the Serie A season against Spezia. The hopes are that Abraham will be able to feature before the end of December as he will look to rediscover his goal-scoring form.

Chris Smalling has been a fixture in AS Roma’s starting XI since his initial loan move to the Stadio Olimpico from Manchester United in 2019/20 before his transfer was made permanent in 2020/21.

The 33-year-old has played 146 times for Roma since departing Old Trafford and memorably helped them to a 1-0 win over Feyenoord in the final of the inaugural season of the Europa Conference League in 2021/22. So far this season, he has played three times in Serie A, but has suffered a chronic tendon injury.

Juventus: Samuel Iling Junior

19-year-old English winger Samuel Iling Junior created headlines in Italy last season following some bright spells for Juventus.

The ex-Chelsea academy player made 29 appearances during the 2022/23 season spanning 1,428 minutes across all competitions, scoring six times and creating four assists. So far this campaign, Iling Junior has played three times, creating an assist in Juve’s 1-1 draw with Bologna in late August.

Sampdoria: Ronaldo Vieira

Currently playing in Serie B, Sampdoria have kept the services of midfielder Ronaldo Vieira. He’s had two loan spells away from the club which have appeared unsuccessful after his 2018 move from Leeds United.

Viera has featured four times for Sampdoria so far this season, with his side struggling for form as they languish down the table in 17th position. He will be looking for a consistent run in the side after making 78 appearances in his six seasons since moving to Italy.

German Bundesliga

FC Augsburg: Reece Oxford

West Ham academy graduate Reece Oxford suffered an injury ravaged 2022/23 season appearing just three times for Augsburg, who finished 15th in the Bundesliga. This season has started off in a similar fashion and he’s yet to make an appearance for Augsburg as he recovers from multiple muscular problems.

Oxford has been seeing a specialist in London during the summer, as he looks to put his injury woes behind him. It’s unclear what impact he can make for 12th-placed Augsburg this season, but he will look to replicate his form where he’s made a total of 80 appearances.

Bayer Leverkusen: Nathan Tella

After a hugely successful loan spell at Burnley last season netting 17 goals, Nathan Tella made a summer move to Xabi Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen, who sit 2nd in the Bundesliga.

Prior to his undisclosed move to Leverkusen, he played in the EFL Championship for Southampton, scoring once.

Since leaving the Saints, Tella has played a bit part role for his new side, coming off the bench twice in the league. He started in the Europa League against BK Hacken but was replaced on the hour mark.

Bayern Munich: Harry Kane

Having been linked to several footballing giants in recent seasons, Harry Kane left Tottenham Hotspur for Bayern Munich in the 2023 summer transfer window for a fee of around £100m.

Life in Munich couldn’t have gone much better for the England captain, scoring 7 goals in 5 appearances, including a hat-trick in the 7-0 romping of VfL Bochum which keeps them at the summit of the Bundesliga.

Kane also got off the mark against familiar foes in the Champions League, slamming in a penalty against Manchester United in a 4-3 victory at the Allianz Arena.

The England record scorer will be hungry to build on his fantastic start by adding some silverware and trophies to his collection.

Borussia Dortmund: Jamie Bynoe-Gittens

Jamie Bynoe-Gittens is one of the latest prodigies to come through Borussia Dortmund’s ranks, having impressed during his early days at the Signal Iduna Park, prompting people to believe that we could have another English star on the way like Bellingham and Sancho.

The 19-year-old has made 27 appearances for Dortmund as a whole across the last three seasons, accumulating to a total of 885 minutes, while managing three goals and one assist. Undoubtedly, the ex-Manchester City academy star would’ve featured more, had he not suffered serious shoulder and ankle ligament injuries over the past couple of seasons.

Ligue 1

Lille: Angel Gomes

In the summer of 2020, Angel Gomes departed Manchester United for Lille on a free transfer, with the London-born midfielder looking to get more first-team action under his belt. At the age of 23, Gomes has managed to find that, having made 78 appearances for Lille across all competitions, as well as playing 32 matches on loan at Boavista in 2020/21.

Gomes recently starred in England Under 21s European Championship win in the summer and has had a bright start to the season, creating two assists in six matches, while playing defensive midfield despite being just 168cm tall.

Lyon: Ainsley Maitland-Niles

Ainsley Maitland-Niles was released by Arsenal in the summer following an unsuccessful loan spell at Southampton.

The 26-year-old made 72 league appearances for the Gunners between 2014 and 2023 and was loaned out to the likes of Ipswich Town, West Brom, AS Roma and the Saints and currently plies his trade in France with Olympique Lyon.

In general, Lyon have had a calamitous start to their league season, as they sit 17th after just six matches, culminating in Laurent Blanc being sacked as head coach. Maitland-Niles has made just four appearances so far for the club and will be hoping to impress in forthcoming matches under new manager, Fabio Grosso.

Other Englishman Abroad

Sporting Lisbon: Marcus Edwards

Tricky and dynamic winger Marcus Edwards is the final player to feature on this list, who is plying his trade at Sporting Lisbon, a team that current Tottenham player Eric Dier has previously represented.

Edwards departed North West London for Portugal in 2019 where he signed for Liga NOS side Vitoria Guimaraes and made 69 appearances, netting 17 times before joining Sporting in 2022

This season the 24-year-old has five appearances, netting once in what has been an electric start as they sit at the top of the league after six games.

Ajax: Chuba Akpom

Chuba Akpom made his move to the Dutch giants in the summer of 2023 from EFL Championship side Middlesbrough, for a fee in the region of £14.5m.

After being brought through the Arsenal youth academy, Akpom had multiple loan spells away from the club until 2018. An impressive 2022/23 season for Boro saw him net an impressive 28 league goals.

Since his move to Ajax, the 27-year-old has appeared twice without scoring, with his side struggling for form, finding themselves 14th in the Eredivisie after five games.

Omar Richards: Olympiakos

Having been signed by Nottingham Forest last summer from Bayern Munich, things didn’t go to plan for 25-year-old former Reading left-back Omar Richards, as he made no league appearances for the City Ground club who simply could not stop signing new players.

Richards has since been loaned out to Olympiakos in the Greek Super League where he is also yet to play a single game.

Cameron Borthwick-Jackson: Slask Wroclaw

Ex-Manchester United left-back Cameron Borthwick-Jackson has made the switch abroad to Polish Ekstraklasa side Slask Wroclaw following the expiry of his contract at Burton Albion.

The 26-year-old notably made his Manchester United debut under Louis van Gaal in the 2015/16 season against West Bromwich Albion in November 2015 and would go on to make 10 league appearances that season.

However, he wouldn’t play a senior game for the club again following the sacking of the Dutch coach and would go on five loan spells to the likes of Wolves, Leeds, Scunthorpe, Tranmere and Oldham before being released and joining the latter-mentioned side on a permanent deal. So far this season, Borthwick-Jackson has made one appearance for Slask, with this being in a 2-0 Polish Cup defeat to Jagiellonia.

Jordan Henderson: Al Ettifaq

Jordan Henderson was one of the biggest English names to move abroad this summer, with the ex-Liverpool captain reuniting with the likes of Steven Gerrard and Gini Wijnaldum at Saudi Pro League outfit Al Ettifaq on a contract rumoured to be worth around £700,000 per week across four years.

The 33-year-old has had a new lease of life in Saudi Arabia, having managed to create five assists in seven matches across all competitions for Gerrard’s men.