Premier League All-Time Top Appearances XI of Foreign Players

16 June 2020 06:05

While Britain has produced some of the Premier League's finest talents since its inception, there can be no denying that it has often been the foreign stars that have brought that sprinkling of brilliance.


Some foreign imports have enjoyed fleeting success in English football - like say Zlatan Ibrahimović - yet it's the players with a lasting attachment to the Premier League that every football fan adores and that we are interested in here today.


Those cult figures who stuck around for years in top-flight football, not necessarily the greatest of talents, but absolute stalwarts who you could rely upon.


Here's look then at a Premier League all-time top appearances XI of foreign players, in a very British 4-4-2 formation.



Goalkeeper - Mark Schwarzer


Schwarzer is an impressive eighth on the all-time appearance list.

The Aussie stopper played for a number of English clubs, most notably as the undisputed number one at both Middlesbrough and Fulham.


The former Bradford City man has been somewhat of a lucky charm in England, playing his part in both Boro and the Cottagers reaching the UEFA Cup/Europa League final, while also 'winning' the Premier League with both Chelsea and Leicester - despite not playing a game in either league victory.


The 47-year-old spent 20 years in English football, and played his part in that much-loved mid-2000s era of Premier League football.


Premier League Appearances: 514



Right Back - Stephen Carr


Spurs Legends v Inter Forever - Legends Match

Another absolute throwback, the Irishman was a mainstay in the Premier League for a number of years, beginning his career with Tottenham Hotspur.


The Dublin-born defender may not have been the most talented or high profile of names, but he was a relentless and aggressive full-back that few wingers ever wanted to face.


Such was his impressive performances, he was named in the PFA Team of the Year in both 2000/01 and 2002/03.


Premier League Appearances: 377



Centre Back - John O'Shea


O'Shea spent 12 years at Manchester United

He may have lost every yard of the little pace he had in the last few years of career, but there's no denying that prime John O'Shea was a real asset to Manchester United in their pomp.


The versatile Irishman regularly popped up with a moment of magic, like his Cantona-esque chipped finish against Arsenal in 2005 or that time he nutmegged Luis Figo.


Legend.


Premier League Appearances: 445



Centre Back - Sylvain Distin


Distin spent the 2015/16 season at Bournemouth

A perhaps surprise inclusion for some, but the Frenchman was around for a long, long time, only retiring in 2016 at the age of 38.


A captain of both Manchester City and Everton, the 42-year-old was a real dominant force in his prime.


Premier League Appearances: 469



Left-Back - Denis Irwin


Dennis Irwin scored 33 times of United in all competitions

While it's Gary Neville who receives the attention in the Premier League record books, even Neville himself would have to admit there was an even greater full-back at Old Trafford - Denis Irwin.


Mr. 7/10 was incredibly reliable, with Sir Alex Ferguson famously stating - after Irwin had made a crucial error against Arsenal - that (quotes via Pundit Arena): "Well, he’s been with me for eight or nine years and he’s never made a mistake. I think we can forgive him one.”


The Irishman is the definition of unsung hero.


Premier League Appearances: 328



Right Midfield - Antonio Valencia


The former Wigan and Manchester United man may have developed into a somewhat solid defender in his later years, but it was breathtaking speed on the wing in his early days that alerted the attention on the Red Devils.


Often a source of frustration for having only one foot - he's no Ryan Giggs - Valencia perhaps let himself down with his final ball on occasion, while he was also bizarrely handed the number seven shirt following Michael Owen's departure.


Nonetheless, the Ecuadorian was lightning quick and loved nailing the ball across the box.


Premier League Appearances: 325



Central Midfield - George Boateng


Boateng made four appearances for Holland in his career

Not exactly the first name that springs to mind when you think of foreign talent, but the former Aston Villa man was a consistent presence in the Premier League, despite never joining a genuine top side.


The Ghana-born Dutch midfielder did help Boro win the League Cup in 2004, while he also played alongside Schwarzer in the club's brutal defeat in the 2006 UEFA Cup final to Sevilla.


Premier League Appearances: 384



Central Midfield - Roy Keane


Roy Keane is a Man Utd legend

The first genuine big name on this list, the Irishman is often cited as one of the best players to ever grace the league.


While the box-to-box midfielder is now a dying breed, Keane was arguably the most iconic all-action midfielder ever.


One can only imagine the number of red cards he would have received had VAR been around in his day.


Premier League Appearances: 366



Left Midfield - Damien Duff


Damien Duff spent three years at Chelsea, winning the Premier League twice

Forget Arjen Robben, Duff was the true star winger in José Mourinho's early Chelsea career, and is wrongly not given the credit he deserves.


His 18-year top-flight career took him from Blackburn to Fulham, with spells at the Blues and Newcastle in between, before he left to join Australian side Melbourne City.


Premier League Appearances: 392



Striker - Nicolas Anelka


Anelka scored 125 Premier League goals

The Frenchman may have been a controversial figure at the end of his top tier career, but he certainly knew where the goal was throughout it.


The ultimate journeyman, Anelka somehow made his way around Europe, playing for PSG, Real Madrid, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City as well as enjoying arguably his best spell at Bolton Wanderers.


The sight of Anelka and his butterfly celebration is sorely missed in English football.


Premier League Appearances: 364



Striker - Dwight Yorke


Yorke only spent four years at Old Trafford, before joining Blackburn

Partnering Anelka up top is the prolific former Manchester United man, who was integral to the Red Devils treble success in 1999.


His partnership with fellow United striker Andy Cole was electric, and perhaps the most effective attacking duo that English football has seen for a long time.


While he was no stranger to a nightclub, he rarely let it effect his on-field performances, notching an impressive 123 Premier League goals throughout his career.



Source: 90min