Playing for your country’s national soccer team is typically considered an honor even if you’re picked just once. There have been dozens of fine Premier League players who have represented England, but have somehow been forgotten by many fans. This list features 10 Premier League stars you may have forgot once played for England.
These players were, or are basically household names in the Premier League due to their fine play. However, for one reason or another they never really shined for England or just didn’t get the chance to prove how good they really were. Either way, they deserve recognition for representing England to the best of their ability.
10. Joey Barton
As a player, midfielder Joey Barton was usually always in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. He was labeled a thug by many and his stint in jail would seem to justify that tag. Barton was unpredictable on the pitch as he could lose his head at anytime, even assaulting his own teammates. However, he did have pretty good skills and England recognized this by calling him up to the national squad. But it was just on one occasion mind you. Barton suited up for the Three Lions in 2007 after playing twice for the Under-21 Team. His international career lasted just 12 minutes though as he came on as a sub for Frank Lampard in the 78th minute in a 1-0 home loss to Spain.
9. Rickie Lambert
Striker Rickie Lambert knew how to put the ball in the net as his three Golden Boots and 241 goals in various divisions would attest to. The 35-year-old free agent was called up by England in August of 2013 while he was playing for Southampton. England looked like geniuses as Lambert not only scored on his debut, but headed the ball into the net against Scotland with his first touch. Lambert was one of the best Premier League strikers at the time and would eventually be bought by Liverpool. He impressed with another goal and two assists in his second match and was named to the England squad for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. However, he’d play just 11 times in total for England with three goals to his name.
8. Adam Johnson
Winger Adam Johnson is just 30 years old and had a fine footballing career going for him. He had played for Middlesbrough, Manchester City and Sunderland in the Premier League after kicking off his pro career in 2004 at the age of 17. He had also represented England at the Under-19 and 21 levels between 2005 and 2009. Johnson’s fine play saw him called up for England in 2010 and he scored a pair of goals in 12 appearances with the team. Johnson’s now incarcerated at HM Prison Moorland though as he received a six-year sentence for sex offenses with an underage girl. He was released by Sunderland and in March of 2016 was sentenced. He’s appealed his case twice, but lost on both occasions.
7. Micah Richards
At one time, Micah Richards was thought to be one of the best defenders in England and the potential answer to problems in their own end. Richards, who’s still only 29 years old, is now playing for Aston Villa alongside John Terry in the second-tier Championship League. The first decade of his pro career from 2005 to 2015 saw Richards win a Premier League and FA Cup medal with Manchester City. He represented England at the Under-16, 19 and 21 levels and was the youngest defender ever to play for the senior team in 2006. He has played 13 games for England with a goal to his name, but fell out of favor under former manager Fabio Capello. Richards was also named to the Great Britain team that played in the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
6. Alan Smith
Yes, Alan Smith is a pretty common name in the UK and there have been a pair of Alan Smiths who played for England. We’re focusing on the 36-year-old who’s still playing for Notts County. The tough midfielder/forward made a name for himself as a youngster at Leeds United between 1998 and 2004 and then spent three years with Manchester United before moving on to Newcastle in 2007. Smith played with the England Under-21 and B squads before being called up to the senior squad in November of 2000. However, he pulled out of the side and then scored his first goal in September of 2002 against Portugal. Smith’s international career featured a lot of gaps and he ended up playing 19 times with England up until 2007, with the lone goal to his name.
5. Aaron Lennon
Speedy winger Aaron Lennon is still playing Premier League football with Everton, but his international career appears to be over. Lennon has been on Merseyside since 2015, but became a Premier League star with Tottenham Hotspur between 2005 and 2015 after spending the first two years of his pro career with Leeds. The 30-year-old has represented England at all levels since he was 16 years old, including the England B Team. He was picked for the senior squad for the 2006 World Cup even though he hadn’t made his debut and was just 19. However, his England career stalled between March 2007 and 2009 and he was left out of the squad. He was recalled and named to the 2010 World Cup side in South Africa, but has played just twice with England since then. Lennon has 21 caps so far, with no goals to his name.
4. Dion Dublin
Dion Dublin was quite versatile as he played both centre-back and centre-forward during his career, but was best known for scoring goals as he netted over 230 of them. He played for numerous English clubs including Aston Villa, Manchester United, Coventry City, Leicester, and Norwich. In fact he was the Premier League’s Golden Boot winner for the 1997/98 season with 18 goals in 36 games. Dublin was quite a character who went on to become a television pundit and part-time musician. His goal-scoring prowess was snubbed by England though as Dublin played just four times for his homeland. He made his debut in February of 1998, but was left out of the World Cup squad that year as Les Ferdinand was chosen ahead of him. Dublin’s last match for the Three Lions came a few months after the tournament and he went goalless in his four outings.
3. Stan Collymore
Striker Stan Collymore set a transfer record for an English player when Liverpool bought him from Nottingham Forest in 1995 for the princely sum of £8.5 million. He had also played with Crystal Palace and Southend before the move and would go on to play with sides such as Aston Villa and Leicester after just two years at Anfield. Collymore’s pro football career would last just over a decade, but he netted 125 goals in 259 games before dabbling in acting and becoming a television personality. Collymore was called up to England after his first Premier League campaign and made his debut against Japan at Wembley in June of 1995. However, he would go on to play just two more times with the squad, against Brazil and Moldova and didn’t register a goal.
2. Peter Crouch
Striker Peter Crouch is the player with the most caps on this list as he’s played 42 times for England and has 22 goals under his belt. He made his debut in 2005 after playing several games with the Under-21 and B Teams. The 36-year-old is still playing in the Premier League with Stoke City after starring with numerous other clubs including Tottenham, queens Park Rangers, Portsmouth, Aston Villa, Norwich, Southampton and Liverpool. Crouch is 6-feet-7-inches tall and is one of the best players ever in the air, but his ball control and skillful goals on the ground are what has surprised many people. Crouch, who’s known for his robot dance celebration, played in the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, but hasn’t played for England since 2010. As of September 20th, he had 199 club goals in all competitions.
1. Matthew Le Tissier
One of the most talented and purely-skilled players of the Premier League era was definitely Matthew Le Tissier, who was born on the Channel Island of Guernsey. He spent his entire pro career with Southampton from 1986 to 2002 and then became a television presenter after retiring. Le Tissier was a regular with the England Under-21 side and also played half a dozen matches with England B. However, his senior career lasted just eight goalless games between 1994 and 1997. He was the Premier League’s first 100-goal midfielder and had a knack for taking penalties by converting 47 of his 48 spot kicks. Le Tissier was an excellent playmaker and finisher who scored 209 goals in his club career and won several personal awards. He also scored a hat trick for the B squad, but for some reason was never given a fair chance with the senior side.