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English Premier League: Australian XI

In the next instalment of Jordan Lim’s English Premier League XI series, he proposes an Australian XI; a side made up of some of our best footballing exports to grace the English turf. 

Crystal Palace captain Mile Jedinak is set to become the 44th Australian to played in the EPL, after his side gained promotion with a 1-0 extra time win over Watford. Although the number of Aussies in England’s top tier competition is slowly dwindling, some of the Socceroos’ greatest stars are still (or previously have) plied their trade in what is – arguably – the best league in the world. Here is a best XI of Australians who have represented us in the EPL.

 

Goalkeeper: Mark Schwarzer

Middlesbrough                      1997-2008

Fulham F.C.                            2008-2013

Socceroos Caps (Goals)         108 (0)

Mark Schwarzer is a national icon. He is our record holder for most international caps, as well as holding the record for most games played by a foreign player at one club. He sits ninth on the list of Premier League appearances, and on top of all that, he is still playing at the top of his game. The 40 year old shot stopper holds off a number of top quality Australian keepers to have played in the EPL such as Mark Bosnich, Adam Federici and Brad Jones. With his contract up at Fulham, the veteran keeper is looking for a new club, with a preference to remain in England.

 

Left Back: Stan Lazaridis

West Ham United                  1995–99

Birmingham City                   2002–06

Socceroos Caps (Goals)         60 (0)

Another Socceroos legend, the hard working Stan Lazaridis was a fan favorite at St. Andrews. With the ability to play at left-back as well as in a more advanced position down the wing, the Australian racked up 166 appearances in the Premier League.

 

Center Back: Craig Moore

Newcastle United                  2005-2007

Socceroos Caps (Goals)         52 (3)

Tough as nails centre back Craig Moore earns a spot in this team, despite not showing his best form in the years he was in the Premier League. Making 25 league appearances for the Toon, battling injury and poor form, he became the first Aussie to play for the club. Despite this, Craig Moore remains one of the best out and out centre backs Australia has ever produced.

 

Center Back: Lucas Neill

Blackburn Rovers                  2001–2007

West Ham United                  2007–2009

Everton                                  2009–2010

Socceroos Caps (Goals)         91 (1)

Current Socceroos captain Lucas Neill had a decorated career in the Premier League, one that saw him turn out for three different clubs. He is most fondly remembered as a Blackburn Rovers player, where Neill partnered up with fellow Australian Brett Emerton. It was here where Neill played his best football, racking up 188 league appearances for the club. Although deployed regularly as a right back during his football career, it is in the centre where Neill has flourished for the national team, scoring his first international goal against Jordan mid-last week.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjF8k0NrEM0

 

Right Back: Brett Emerton

Blackburn Rovers                  2003-2011

Socceroos Caps (Goals)         95 (20)

Workhorse Brett Emerton was a fan favourite at Blackburn. A versatile player, he enjoyed spells playing as a right back, right winger and even in the centre of the pitch. His loyalty to Blackburn was rare, notching up 247 league appearances and 13 goals in his nine season stint at the club. The veteran Socceroo currently plies his trade in the A-League, and still has his hand up for selection in the national team.

 

Left Midfield: Harry Kewell

Leeds United                          1996-2003

Liverpool                                2003-2008

Socceroos Caps (Goals)         58 (17)

Arguably the greatest footballer Australia has ever churned out, it’s scary to think of the player he could have been if not for an incredibly poor injury record. Making his Premier League debut for Leeds at the tender age of 17, he quickly established himself as one of the brightest prospects not only in the EPL, but in the world. He earned a big money move to Liverpool in 2003, where in five injury plagued seasons, played in 138 games, including a Champions League final, for which he took home a winner’s medal. The veteran midfielder has recently signed for A-League club Melbourne Heart.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=haGdTfVmwdU

 

Center Midfield: Robbie Slater

Blackburn Rovers                  1994-1995

West Ham                              1995-1996

Southampton                         1996-1998

Socceroos Caps (Goals)         44 (1)

One of the first Australians to play in the EPL, Robbie Slater also became the first Australian to be a part of a Premier League-winning side. The midfielder with an eye for goal played for three different Premier League clubs in his five-year career in England. A member of the FFA hall of fame, as well as a job commentating football, Robbie Slater remains one of Australia’s favourite sons.

 

Center Midfield: Josip Skoko

Wigan Athletic                       2005-2008

Socceroos Caps (Goals)         51 (9)

Another member of Australia’s golden generation, Josip Skoko enjoyed a short stint in the Premier League with Wigan Athletic. Skoko didn’t enjoy his best footballing years in England’s top flight, making a measly 45 appearances in three seasons, without troubling the scorers. He was however held in high regard nearly everywhere else he played, in a career which saw him turn out for many European top tier clubs. He was a vital member of the Socceroos squad, making his way to the 2006 World Cup, where he unfortunately didn’t make an appearance.

 

Right Midfield: Brett Holman

Aston Villa                              2012-13

Socceroos Caps (Goals)         61 (9)

Signed by Villa on a free transfer at the start of last season, Brett Holman has had a mixed 12 months at the Midlands club. Starting the season as a member of the first XI, injury troubles saw him slip down the pecking order by season’s close. His importance to the Socceroos in the last few years has seen him become the latest recipient of the Football Media Association’s Australian player of the year award.

 

Striker: Tim Cahill

Everton F.C.                            2004-2012

Socceroos Caps (Goals)         63 (28)

The man who scored Australia’s first goal in World Cup history, Tiny Tim, as he is affectionately known, is anything but tiny. Whilst small in stature, Cahill is one of the best headers of a ball in the world. His ability to pop up with crucial goals made him a fan favourite at Everton, where he spent eight seasons, scoring 38 goals in all competitions. His goal for the Socceroos mid-last week put him one strike away from equaling Damian Mori’s all time goal scoring record for Australia.

 

Striker: Mark Viduka

Leeds United                         2000-2004

Middlesbrough                      2004-2007

Newcastle United                  2007-2009

Socceroos Caps (Goals)         43 (11)

Powerful Striker Mark Viduka enjoyed a long career in the Premier League. Viduka was an incredibly prolific striker in his early years, scoring 22 league goals in the 2000-01 and 2002-03 seasons. His good form wasn’t enough to keep Leeds from relegation in 2004, but he managed to remain in the Premier League with Middlesbrough and then finally Newcastle. Viduka has been criticized for not backing up his good scoring record with the national team, where he scored a modest 11 goals from 43 games. Regardless, the ex-Socceroos captain remains one of the best players we have churned out.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jRjUYAobZ8

 

Featured image: beerwig/instagram

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