Ranked: Top 5 Englishmen to play in the A-League Men

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The Ashes highlighted the Englishmen that can not perform in Australia, so we had a look at the ones that did.

The A-League Men’s finds itself in the same category as the United States’ MLS in how stars of a bygone era choose the land down under for a holiday-like finale to their careers.

With some of the biggest names in Premier League history, here are the greatest English players that travelled to Australia for the icing on their football career cake.

5. Steven Taylor

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I promise this is not Newcastle bias…

The fifth spot on the list was very open, but with his wealth of Premier League experience, the hearty centre-back from Tyneside scrapes into our list of ALM Englishmen.

Playing his entire Premier League career with Newcastle United, Taylor racked up just shy of 200 league appearances, turning out in the black and white a whopping 268 times across all competitions.

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Taylor featured frequently in the Magpies’ defence during their impressive fifth placed finish in the 2011/12 season. They went unbeaten for their first 11 games, a run eventually ended by the only other unbeaten side: eventual champions Manchester City.

Taylor featured eight times in Newcastle’s resulting Europa League campaign, adding to his 18 European appearances from the UEFA Cup earlier in his career.

Taylor first moved to Wellington Phoenix in 2018, a year later he would earn a spot in the PFA A-League Team of the Season. His shock retirement at the start of this season left him on 61 appearances for the New Zealand side.

4. Michael Bridges

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Bridges is another who never actually played for the England national team, but was an important player for Leeds United in the early 2000s. Third, fourth, and fifth placed finishes from 1999-2002 were all within Bridges’s stint at Elland Road. He was absolutely crucial to their title challenge in his first season, playing 34 times and top-scoring for the club with 19 goals.

A graduate from the famous Wallsend Boys Club, Bridges started his professional career with Sunderland, before returning to the North-East on loan to Newcastle after his four seasons with Leeds.

Brief stints across England and Wales lead to a 2007 loan spell with Sydney FC. Two years later, Bridges signed for Newcastle Jets where he would stay until 2014, playing 63 times and scoring 11 goals.

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With a total of 87 Premier League appearances with 22 goals, the second Geordie on the list grabs the fourth spot. His incredible season with the brilliant 1999/00 Leeds side is too impressive to overlook.

3. Daniel Sturridge

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As fresh and unproven as he may be in the ALM, the Manchester City graduate was one of the in-form strikers anywhere in the world during his prime years at Anfield. From pacy inverted winger at Chelsea to Luis Suarez’s dancing partner at Liverpool, Sturridge has been an entertaining attacking figure since his Premier League days began.

Despite his injury ridden 2011/12 season, Sturridge’s £12 million move to the Reds in January of 2013 was welcomed by the club’s fans. Sturridge excelled in his 30 performances for Chelsea in his 2010/11 breakout campaign.

No one, however, could have foreseen just how formidable he and Suarez would be as a striking duo. Suarez claimed the golden boot with 31 and Sturridge came second with 21. The Englishman recorded nine assists as Liverpool famously finished second in a classic Premier League season.

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Whilst his career admittedly never hit those heights again, Sturridge left England with an impressive list of accolades. A Premier League, UEFA Champions League and two FA Cups won in his time with Chelsea before earning a spot in the PFA Team of the Year in 2014 with Liverpool.

A brief stint in Turkey and a period of sunny off-season training in Mallorca preceded his move to the ALM in a massive coup for Perth Glory. Fingers crossed he can produce the exciting, attacking football we all loved watching in that glorious 2013/14 season.

2. Emile Heskey

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Possibly England’s most underrated footballer of all-time, Heskey joined Newcastle Jets as one third of the ALM triple-headed transfer spree at the start of the 2012/13 season. As Shinji Ono joined Western Sydney Wanderers and Alessandro Del Piero signed for Sydney FC, the Jets gained one of English footballs most experienced campaigners.

Heskey made 516 Premier League appearances in his career, the 7th highest tally in the league’s history. Walking out for Leicester City, Liverpool, Birmingham City, Wigan Athletic, and Aston Villa, Heskey racked up 110 top flight goals. He appeared 62 times for England across 12 years, his name is stamped into football history next to some of the very best to play the game.

Famous among fans and frequently poked fun at for being a striker that does not score many goals, he has often been praised by the higher minds in the game for his importance to any team he plays in.

His ability to hold up play often brought out the best in whoever was lucky enough to line up beside him.

When asked who was the best player he had ever played with, Michael Owen said, “Well, striker wise, I had a great partnership with Emile Heskey. He would be one of my favourites because we were so different and we worked so well together.

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Heskey won the FA Cup, FA Charity (community) Shield, UEFA Cup, UEFA Super Cup, and four Football League Cups. His trophy cabinet rounded out by a Player of the Season double at Birmingham in 2005, Heskey was well decorated by the time he came to Australia.

He scored 10 goals in two seasons with the Jets before returning to England to finish his career with Bolton Wanderers.

1. Robbie Fowler

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After graduating from Liverpool’s academy in 1993, Fowler would play 369 times across all competitions between his two stints at the club, 1993-2001 and his return in 2006-2007. He would finish with 183 goals for the Reds.

The 46 year old is the seventh highest goalscorer in Premier League history with 163 goals, appearing 379 times. In 2001, he won the UEFA Cup, UEFA Super Cup, FA Cup and the League Cup, in which he was given the Alan Hardaker award for his Man of the Match performance in the final.

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Fowler has a relatively underwhelming record for his country, scoring only seven goals despite his inclusion in the 1996 and 2000 European Championships, and the 2002 World Cup. Battling for attacking places with Owen, Alan Shearer, and soon Wayne Rooney, the lack of shine on Fowler’s England record was partially due to the legendary quality of those around him.

The one Anfield calls ‘God’ moved to Townsville in 2009 to play for North Queensland Fury in their first season. Netting nine times in 26 games and scoring the ‘Goal of the Week’ three times in four weeks, Fowler cleaned up on the club’s awards night.

He won Player of the Year, Players’ Player of the Year, and the Golden Boot. He would move to Perth Glory the following season, and be his club’s top goalscorer for the second year in a row.

Feature Image Credit: Kevin Walsh

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Tom Macrae
Tom Macraehttp://medium.com/@macraetomr23
Communications undergrad at Western Sydney University covering Macarthur FC in the 2021/22 season. Newcastle United. Jack Grealish fangirl.

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