Assimilating yourself in the local culture when moving abroad is easier said than done – as these unfortunate moments by former Liverpool, Manchester United and Tottenham employees demonstrate.
Arguably the most important part of moving away from your home country is showing a willingness to learn new languages and cultural practises, something that your average Briton tends to struggle with.
We’ve identified six occasions when the old tropes of ‘Brits abroad’ rang true for a selection of our most famous footballing figures.
With a moist forehead, stilted attempts at speaking foreign languages undermined by his strong regional accent and the uneasy relationship with his own face, Gerrard was the epitome of your da abroad when introducing himself as Al Ettifaq’s new manager.
Stevie with a message for Ettifaq pic.twitter.com/Z3tweLkg1h
— The Anfield Talk (@TheAnfieldTalk) July 3, 2023
Fifteen years on, McClaren’s Dutch accent remains the best-missed opportunity of Paul Whitehouse’s career.
Had the former England manager indulged in some Amsterdam space cakes beforehand? Sadly, we’ll never know…
Every time the Dutch play I always think of Steve McClaren’s Dutch accent pic.twitter.com/swrMKTVKkj
— Plink2 (@plinketyplink2) June 17, 2021
The cities of Liverpool and Marseille have plenty in common; both are football hotbeds, staunchly anti-establishment and deliberately misunderstood by a large minority of the national population.
Perhaps Barton felt that connection during his loan spell at Marseille in 2012-13, but that doesn’t excuse this interview in a French accent worthy of the BBC sitcom ‘Allo ‘Allo!
His neatly-trimmed moustache and head-nodding mannerisms also contributed to the surreal scene.
That time joey barton put on a french accent in a marseille interview pic.twitter.com/6T5GxaNb9t
— Nicky (@CelticNick) September 14, 2021
During this interview as Real Sociedad manager, Moyes goes for a risky translation and you can instantly see his regret when he forgets the Spanish word for ‘times’.
We’ve all been there, Moyesie.
Need Spanish lessons ahead of your summer holiday? Look no further than David Moyes for some tuition 😎🇪🇸 pic.twitter.com/AnKpnT4Dh5
— Soccer AM (@SoccerAM) July 26, 2019
We were today years old when we discovered Redknapp had managed the Jordan national team for two matches in 2016.
And this interview with a local reporter following an 8-0 win over Bangladesh was everything we hoped it would be; neither party can understand a single word the other is saying.
— Sam. (@sambenno_10) March 25, 2016
Taking a leaf out of McClaren and Barton’s book, Sancho uttered sweet post-match nothings in a curious Anglo-German accent that called to mind an exchange student from Berlin attempting to navigate England’s provincial techno scene.
We regret to inform you that Jadon Sancho has fallen into the Shteve McLaren Dutch/Joey Barton French accent trap 😂pic.twitter.com/ltGT0nuDSQ
— Sport Social Podcast Network (@TheSportSocial) February 21, 2021