by Tom Stewart
English footballers have been a bit reluctant to move abroad in the past compared to other European nations. However there is a number of Englishmen successfully plying their trade overseas.
Here are our top 10 players who were willing to step out of their comfort zone.
10. Adam Eckersley- AGF Aarhus (Denmark)
This left-back came through the Manchester United youth system, but never played a game for the Red Devils. He had numerous loan spells away from the club with Antwerp, Brondby, Barnsley and Port Vale, before joining Vale permanently in 2008. He lasted just one season at Vale Park and decided to move abroad. He first moved to Danish side Horsens with whom he played 40 games before moving to Aarhus in 2010. He is now considered to be one of the best left backs in the league.
9. Luke Rodgers- New York Red Bulls (USA)
Birmingham-born striker who had a somewhat nomadic career in England. Now aged 30, he has played for Shrewsbury, Crewe, Port Vale, Yeovil and Notts County, scoring goals wherever he has gone. He’s always been seen as someone who didn’t live up to his potential, with the reputation as a bit of a bad boy. He moved to New York last year, scoring 9 goals in 23 games and was in contention for “rookie of the year” and is enjoying his football. One of MLS’ many novelties means that he plays up front with Thierry Henry.
8. Calum Angus- Gothenburg (Sweden)
A 25-year old centre back, Angus was part of Portsmouth’s youth system before moving to America in 2005. A spell in the minor leagues stateside preceded a move to Sweden in 2009 with Gothenburg. He has played 42 games in Sweden and is considered to be one of the leagues best centre backs. Has been linked with a move back to England recently, with West Ham reportedly interested.
7. Kenny Pavey- AIK (Sweden)
Pavey is a 32-year old winger/wingback. He only played semi-professional football in England before moving to Sweden 1998. He has become somewhat of a cult hero in Sweden with his aggressive style of play. Has played over 200 games in Sweden, 125 of them coming for AIK. He has played in the Champions League and Europa League on numerous occasions.
6. Aaron Hunt- Werder Bremen (Germany)
Cheating somewhat here. Hunt was born in Germany but has an English mother. Was linked with a call-up to the England national team but decided to play for Germany instead, with whom he has 2 caps. Hunt is a winger who has been playing for Bremen since 2004.
5. Michael Mancienne- Hamburg (Germany)
A highly rated centre back who came through the youth system at Chelsea. He is best known for his loan spells at QPR and Wolves however, where he enjoyed very successful times, earning a call up to the England squad. Moved to Hamburg at the beginning of this season, but has suffered from injuries slightly and has played just 7 games for his new club. Still only 24.
4. Scott Sutter- Young Boys (Switzerland)
Born in London to Swiss and Polish parents, Sutter spent time at Millwall, Barnet, Aston Villa and Charlton as a youth, before moving to Switzerland in 2003. Initially playing with Grasshopper Zurich before moving to Young Boys Bern in 2009, with whom he has played over 70 games. A right-back by trade, he has played twice for Switzerland and has recently been linked with a move back to England.
3. Scott Carson- Bursaspor (Turkey)
As a youngster was seen as a nailed on future England number 1 goalkeeper. Has successful loan spells with Charlton and Aston Villa from Liverpool, before signing for West Brom in 2008, where he played 118 games. Had his international reputation tarnished by a nightmarish display for England against Croatia. Since moving to Turkey this season he has earned his place back in the international squad and has a fine season so far.
2. David Beckham- LA Galaxy (USA)
Has spent almost as much time abroad as in England, Becks is one of England’s most decorated players. He is the most-capped outfield player for England, a former captain, a winner of the Premier League, FA Cup, Champions League and La Liga. He had a successful 4 year spell with Real Madrid before a move to the MLS with LA Galaxy. Brought in with the aim of revitalising the sport over there, the MLS has seen a huge amount of growth since D-Beck’s arrival in 2007. Won the MLS title last year. Also had 2 successful loan spells with Milan in 2009 and 2010. Was due to move to Paris St Germain this month but decided to stay in LA.
1. Joe Cole- Lille (France)
A former wonderkid and England international, Cole’s career was stuttering so much after injury and a poor spell at Liverpool. He is a multi-time Premier League Champion and has earned 56 caps for England. This season he moved to French side Lille where he career has been kick-started with a string of impressive performances in northern France.