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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 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

Fikayo Tomori is perhaps the most talked about Englishman in Serie A, having played a large part in AC Milan’s Scudetto win last season.

At present, AC are fifth in the table following Juventus’ 15-point deduction being overturned, while the ex-Chelsea man has put in some superb displays in this season’s Champions League, most notably in the knockout stages against Tottenham and Napoli as the Rossoneri advanced to the semi-finals of the competition for the first time since 2007.

AS Roma: Tammy Abraham & Chris Smalling

AS Roma have an English duo in Chris Smalling and Tammy Abraham among their ranks, with former Manchester United defender, Smalling, playing at the Stadio Olimpico since 2019, making an initial loan move permanent.

The 33-year-old put in a Man of the Match performance as Roma won the inaugural Europa Conference League last season and is currently trying to help former United manager Jose Mourinho get his side qualified for the Champions League next season.

Abraham has scored 35 goals and created 12 assists in 96 matches for Roma, perhaps proving his old club Chelsea wrong in their decision to sell him, having failed to sign a reliable striker since his departure from Stamford Bridge in 2021. With Mourinho’s men advancing to the semi-finals of the Europa League, the 25-year-old will be hoping to add a second European trophy to his trophy haul.

Juventus: Samuel Iling-Junior

In 2019, Samuel Iling-Junior made the switch from Chelsea to Juventus and this season we have finally seen the 19-year-old get some first-team minutes, even if Massimiliano Allegri has done it sparingly. Iling-Junior has impressed when he has played for Juve, making two assists in 229 minutes, doing so against Benfica in the Champions League, as well as in a 1-0 win away at Lecce in October.

Sampdoria: Harry Winks (On loan from Tottenham) & Ronaldo Vieira (On loan at Torino)

This one is a tale of two loan moves, with Harry Winks being allowed to leave via this transfer method in the summer, while ex-Leeds United man, Ronaldo Vieira, while still being on Sampdoria’s books, is actually out on loan at Torino.

Life in Serie A started slowly for Winks, having been ruled out of action till the new year, due to an ankle injury, however, the 27-year-old has played 14 matches on the bounce, starting 13. Unfortunately for Sampdoria, it looks as though they will be relegated from the top flight though, as they are 20th in Serie A, ten points from safety with seven matches to go.

Vieira has had an unsuccessful spell at Torino so far, having played just 14 minutes since joining them in January due to injury. In the first half of the season, the 24-year-old made 16 league appearances at Sampdoria before the January transfer window, amounting to just 814 minutes.

German Bundesliga

Augsburg: Reece Oxford

Former West Ham United defender Reece Oxford has had an injury-plagued season, making just three appearances, amounting to 93 minutes so far this campaign, while his side Augsburg sits 13th in the table, just five points above the relegation play-out.

Oxford departed the Hammers back in 2019 on a permanent basis and has played a total of 80 matches for Augsburg’s first team, showing versatility, having mainly been used as a centre-back, while often being utilised in defensive midfield due to his ball-playing abilities.

Bayer Leverkusen: Callum Hudson-Odoi

It will certainly be interesting to see what Chelsea have planned for Callum Hudson-Odoi next season, with the 22-year-old being so highly-rated at Stamford Bridge for so long.

Hudson-Odoi himself has struggled to make a mark at Bayer Leverkusen this season, having scored one goal and created one assist in 1,074 minutes (21 appearances) for Xabi Alonso’s side.

There is still a chance for the 22-year-old to make a name for himself in Germany yet though, as Bayer faces Roma in the semi-finals of the Europa League and are in contention for the Champions League spots in the Bundesliga with five games to go, trailing fourth place Freiburg by six points.

Borussia Dortmund: Jude Bellingham & Jamie Bynoe-Gittens

Borussia Dortmund duo Jude Bellingham and Jamie Bynoe-Gittens have lit up the Bundesliga this season, with the Black and Yellows looking to end Bayern Munich’s ten-year dominance of the league as they are top of the table with just five matches to go.

Bellingham is arguably the most sought-after talent in world football right now, with the likes of Real Madrid and Manchester City looking likely to go into a bidding war for the 19-year-old, with the transfer fee expected to be close to the £150m mark. So far this campaign, the ex-Birmingham City man has scored 11 goals and made seven assists in 39 appearances.

Like Sancho, Bynoe-Gittens made the switch from Man City to Dortmund, doing so in 2020, with this season being the 18-year-old’s first real breakout season having featured four times in the Bundesliga last campaign. The London-born winger has scored three goals and created one assist in 527 minutes (15 appearances) in the German top-flight this season.

Hertha Berlin: Jonjoe Kenny

Jonjo Kenny is currently playing his second season of Bundesliga football, having previously been on loan at Schalke 04 back in 2019/20, where he made 31 appearances while scoring twice.

This time, the ex-Everton right-back is at Hertha Berlin, who currently sit at the bottom of the standings with 22 points, five adrift of safety having leaked 59 goals in 29 matches - he has played 24 times in the Bundesliga since moving to the German capital.

Werder Bremen: Lee Buchanan

At the end of last season, Lee Buchanan left Derby County on a free transfer to join Werder Bremen, with his fee being settled by a tribunal due to being under the age of 23.

The 22-year-old left-back has been used sparingly by Bremen, playing just 353 league minutes, spanning across 18 appearances. However, Buchanan did have a memorable moment back in August last year, scoring the first goal of a dramatic 3-2 comeback win for Bremen away at Dortmund.

Ligue 1

Lille: Angel Gomes

Angel Gomes was expected to become the next star of Manchester United when he came through the Red Devil’s academy, however, the 22-year-old departed Old Trafford back in 2020 to join Lille, where he would then spend a successful season out on loan at Boavista upon his arrival at Stade Pierre Mauroy.

The former United man looks to have settled down and found a home to play football, having made 31 appearances for Lille in Ligue 1 this campaign, scoring twice and creating six assists while playing a multitude of roles, such as defensive midfield, central midfield, attacking midfield, as well as being deployed on either flank.

Nice: Ross Barkley & Joe Bryan

Nice took a rather English-centric approach in the summer as they signed several players with Premier League experience, as Ross Barkley and Joe Bryan joined the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Kasper Schmeichel and Nicolas Pepe.

Barkley’s career had come to a standstill at Chelsea and it was evident that the former Everton man needed a move in his career to reignite his form. The 29-year-old has struggled for minutes though, playing 781 in Ligue 1, scoring three and creating two assists. It’s safe to say that Fulham loanee, Bryan (left-back), has fared much worse, playing 175 minutes in the French top flight. At present, Nice are 10th in Ligue 1.

Rennes: Djed Spence (on loan from Tottenham)

In January, Djed Spence arrived on loan at Rennes having played just three minutes of Premier League action for Spurs.

Following his move to France, Spence started seven Ligue 1 matches in a row at right-back before being benched for each of his last four fixtures with the club, playing just seven minutes in the latter mentioned matches.

Stade de Reims: Folarin Balogun (on loan from Arsenal)

Perhaps the most impressive Englishman abroad is Arsenal loanee Folarin Balogun who currently plies his trade as a striker at Stade de Reims, under the management of Will Still.

Balogun has scored 18 goals and created three assists in 31 Ligue 1 outings for his side, in context, this is three more than Lionel Messi, who he also has a better goals per 90 minutes rate than, while only being four goals adrift of current top scorer, Kylian Mbappe.

Reims are enjoying a good season as far, sitting eighth in the table.

Other Englishman Abroad

Besiktas: Nathan Redmond

At the start of the season, Nathan Redmond joined fellow Englishman Dele Alli at Besiktas, leaving Southampton on a permanent deal after six years at St Mary’s.

The 29-year-old is having a solid season for the Turkish giants, scoring five and creating five assists in 22 Turkish Super Lig appearances. Besiktas are currently battling it out with Fenerbahce for second place in the league, with Galatasaray realistically being too far in the distance to be caught.

Club Brugge: Josef Bursik

Although he is yet to play a game for Club Brugge, goalkeeper Joe Bursik is a player to keep an eye out for in the future, having played 16 league matches for Stoke this season before departing the Bet365 Stadium for Belgium.

With Simon Mignolet being 35 years old, there is the possibility that Bursik (22) could be a long-term replacement for the former Sunderland and Liverpool shot-stopper.

PSV: Jarrad Branthwaite (on loan from Everton)

Jarrad Branthwaite could be a future asset for Everton in the near future, with the 20-year-old Carlisle-born defender impressing during his loan spell with PSV Eindhoven under the stewardship of Ruud van Nistelrooy.

The English centre-back played the full 90 minutes as PSV beat fierce rivals Ajax 3-0 at the weekend to move into second place in the Dutch Eredivisie - this was his 31st appearance across all competitions for the Dutch giants, who he has also helped through to the KNVB Cup final where they’ll meet Ajax once again.

Sporting Lisbon: Marcus Edwards

The final player to feature on this list is Sporting Lisbon winger Marcus Edwards, who has impressed for the Liga NOS outfit since his arrival from Vitoria Guimaraes.

Edwards, who left Tottenham back in 2019 for Vitoria has found his feat in Portugal, scoring 20 and creating 14 assists for his former club before making the switch to Lisbon to play for Sporting.

Under the management of Ruben Amorim, Edwards has shown a lot of promise, as the 24-year-old has scored 15 goals and created 15 assists in 60 appearances, managing 14 goal contributions in Liga NOS during the current campaign.