Brits Abroad: The 22 British players in Spain, Germany, Italy & France
An increasing number of British footballers are now testing themselves by playing in competitions abroad.
British footballers have stereotypically been cast as reluctant to venture abroad and away from the comfort of the English major divisions.
But we’ve taken a closer look at the 22 British players currently plying their trade in one of the top two divisions in Spain, Germany, Italy and France.
After starring in England’s run to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup, Trippier suffered such a dip in form with Tottenham in 2018-19 that he subsequently lost his place entirely in Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions squad.
A £20million move to Atletico Madrid appeared from the leftfield, but it has already provided the desired effect, as a re-energised Trippier has started Atleti’s three opening La Liga matches, assisting Alvaro Morata’s winner in the opening match against Getafe, and returning to the international fold.
‘Two daggers,’ say Marca as they laud the impact of Kieran Trippier and Renan Lodi.
They are going to be vital for Atletico this season. pic.twitter.com/Fw3OXBcjjy
— Brendy Boyle (@BrendyBoyle) September 4, 2019
A curious career, in which Burke has broken the record as the most expensive Scottish footballer of all time, got even stranger this summer when the attacker left West Brom to join Alaves on loan.
Still just 22, Burke has already experienced life on the continent after spending a season at RB Leipzig.
“He needs minutes,” Baggies boss Slaven Bilic told the BBC. “It will be for the season, but we can recall him in January. And we haven’t given up on him.
“It would be much easier to say, ‘Listen, you’re staying here to cover ourselves,’ but it’s a bit too selfish.”
He’s still there, to everybody’s surprise.
Another former Spurs player who finds himself in Spain, after spending last season on loan at Atletico Baleares, Shashoua left north London on a permanent deal this summer to join Tenerife.
The England youth international is also of Venezuelan heritage, and his younger brother, Armando, remains on the books at Tottenham.
Despite reportedly attracting interest from Manchester United, Appiah made a surprise £8million move from Nottingham Forest to Spanish second-tier outfit Almeria this summer.
Still just 18, the Amsterdam-born England youth international made only eight first-team appearances for Forest, with his one and only game this term coming in the League Cup win over Fleetwood.
A name which will be familiar to many football fans in this country despite never appearing in English football, Harper initially generated hype for his performances in Real Madrid’s academy.
In 2015, he moved to Brighton, only for his spell on the south coast to be disrupted by injuries. He returned to Spain two years later, impressing enough with Malaga to earn a move to La Liga side Getafe, although he is spending 2019-20 at Alcorcon.
He know all about him. He’s f*cking ace.
Since leaving Charlton two years ago, Lookman’s best spell came on loan at RB Leipzig in 2018, when he scored five goals in 11 Bundesliga outings.
That loan spell failed to kickstart his Everton career, and he returned to Leipzig this summer in a deal worth £22.5million. The challenge now is to recapture that form from his previous time in Germany.
Another former Everton man in Bundesliga, Kenny left Goodison Park on loan this summer to join Schalke and recently scored an excellent goal a 3-0 win over Hertha Berlin.
The 22-year-old is being coached by former Huddersfield boss David Wagner but is refusing to be drawn on where his long-term future lies.
“It’s still too early for that decision.” he told the Bundesliga’s official website. “I don’t want to live in the future. Whatever happens, happens. Now I’m definitely giving everything for Schalke.”
One of Chelsea’s perennial loanees, Baker struggled at Leeds in the first half of 2018-19 before a more productive spell at Reading.
The midfielder, now 24, joined Fortuna Dusseldorf on another loan deal over the summer, albeit there is now an option for the move to be made permanent.
An own-goal on his second Bundesliga appearance in a 3-1 defeat to Bayer Leverkusen admittedly not the best of starts.
Having flitted between West Ham and the Bundesliga for a number of years, first with a couple of loan spells at Borussia Monchengladbach and then with Augsburg, Oxford joined the latter on a permanent deal reportedly worth around £2.1million.
Oxford, still just 20, is understood to have taken a pay cut to join Augsburg as he aims to fulfill the enormous potential he showed as a 16-year-old on his Premier League debut at Arsenal.
Now into his second season with Borussia Monchengladbach, who he joined from Tottenham, Bennetts continues to await his first senior appearance for the club and has instead spent the majority of his spell in Germany with their second team.
He has, however, made the bench twice already this term, suggesting the 20-year-old’s bow may soon be on its way.
With 12 first-team appearances to his name at Chelsea already, Ampadu is ahead of many former Blues prospects at the age of 18.
The Wales international is spending the 2019-20 season playing alongside Ademola Lookman at RB Leipzig, although he is yet to make it off the bench so far this term.
Ryan Giggs on Ethan Ampadu: "He makes it look so easy. He's 18, hardly playing, and he produced a very mature performance. All week, he's been brilliant… he's a future leader." pic.twitter.com/ZrVpbFuwQf
— The Blues (@TheBlues___) September 7, 2019
In January, Matondo followed in Jadon Sancho’s footsteps by leaving Manchester City for Germany, joining Schalke in an eye-catching £11million deal.
The winger, 19, made eight appearances for the first team in 2018-19 but an injury has delayed his start to the current campaign.
It will be genuinely intriguing to see how Smalling adapts to the challenges of Serie A while on loan at Roma given he is much older and more experienced than many of the players on this list.
Judging by his recent comments, the centre-back already has one eye on making the deal permanent.
“To be able to have the chance at a big club, and then if it prolongs and the club is happy then I can definitely see a longer-term future in Italy,” he said.
“I’ve always had a desire deep down to experience this [playing abroad] and have an opportunity to come to a big club who has got big aspirations.”
Now into his second season with Sampdoria, the former Leeds United midfielder had a steady if unspectacular debut campaign in Serie A, making 14 league appearances.
“My instinct is to be physical, but here you have to do it with your mind first,” he told ESPN in April. “The style is different in England. There, it’s boom boom, run, be physical, play a little. Here’s it’s play, be clever with your movement. It’s very fixed.”
The 21-year-old has started all three of Sampdoria’s opening fixtures this term, although he is now set for a spell on the sidelines after being sent off in a defeat to Sassuolo before the international break.
After his controversial exit from Liverpool, all eyes will be on how Duncan fares in Italy with Fiorentina.
The 18-year-old pulled on the shirt for the first time last week, replacing Franck Ribery in a friendly victory over Perugia.
Having left Celtic to try his hand in Italy in January 2018, Henderson first joined Bari after a successful trial with the Serie B club.
Bari, however, were declared bankrupt at the end of the season, but Henderson had impressed enough to earn a move to Verona.
Playing under World Cup winner Fabio Grosso, the 23-year-old helped Verona win promotion to Serie A last term as the side overturned a 2-0 first-leg deficit against Citadel.
Having started Verona’s opening two top-flight fixtures, Henderson has become the first Scottish player to appear in Serie A since Graeme Souness turned out for Sampdoria in 1986.
— Home Of Hibs (@HomeOfHibs) October 27, 2018
Yet to play a competitive fixture since injuring his hamstring while still an Arsenal player, Ramsey faces a huge task to establish himself in Juventus’ midfield.
Maurizio Sarri’s embarrassment of riches in that area was highlighted by Emre Can’s omission from Juve’s Champions League squad, Ramsey also has Miralem Pjanic, Sami Khedira, Blaise Matuidi, Adrien Rabiot and Rodrigo Bentancur to compete with.
Still just 20, Maja made the brave step up from League One to Ligue 1 last January, leaving Sunderland to join Bordeaux.
The striker scored once in seven games before a knee injury ended his campaign early, but he is already up and running this term, scoring off the bench to rescue a point against Montpellier.
Mavididi made headlines last season after becoming the first English player since David Platt to represent Juventus.
The forward left Arsenal for Juve last summer but was only expected to feature for their reserve side, and the 21-year-old is spending this season on loan at Dijon, who have the option to make the move permanent.
Now 29, Obadeyi has enjoyed an incredibly nomadic career that has taken him to Portugal, Scotland and now France via eight different clubs in the English Football League.
He is now into his second season with Sochaux, having narrowly avoided relegation from Ligue 2 in 2018-19.