England’s expats: Real top ranking of foreign clubs for Three Lions representation

Ian Watson
David Beckham Michael Owen Ray Wilkins Mark Hateley Harry Kane
England internationals playing for Real Madrid, AC Milan and Bayern Munich.

Al-Ettifaq became the 22nd foreign club to supply England. But no side away from these shores has done more for the Three Lions than Real Madrid.

Here are the non-British or Irish clubs who have provided England with internationals, ranked by number of players, then caps…


1) Real Madrid – 5 players (64 caps)
Before Jude Bellingham, David Beckham also turned out for England while playing for Real, as did Steve McManaman, Michael Owen and Laurie Cunningham. Bellingham will surely take Real’s total of England caps towards the 100-mark.


2) AC Milan – 5 players (54 caps)
Of course Milan have done plenty for England – they have the flag of St George on the badge. Which would be great if it were true. Regardless, the Rossoneri have sent us Beckham, Luther Blissett, Mark Hateley and Ray Wilkins, with Fikayo Tomori currently on their books. If Ruben Loftus-Cheek maintains his start for Milan, he could be their sixth representative.


3) Sampdoria – 3 players (50 caps)
Samp have a half-century of England caps and 10 goals thanks to Trevor Francis, David Platt and Des Walker. Platt scored six and Francis bagged four for the Three Lions while playing in Serie A.


4) Borussia Dortmund – 2 players (46 caps)
Dortmund provided two players who looked set for superstardom but have had contrasting fortunes since leaving the Westfalenstadion. Jadon Sancho and Bellingham both earned England debuts while representing BVB.


5) Bayern Munich – 2 players (40 caps)
Harry Kane became Bayern’s second England international this weekend, following in the footsteps of Owen Hargreaves, who gained 39 caps while playing in the Bundesliga.


6) Marseille – 2 players (24 caps)
Chris Waddle and Trevor Steven were travel companions back to Blighty when they both played for Marseille in 1991-92. That was Steven’s only season in France and the last of three for Waddle.


7) Inter Milan – 2 players (21 caps)
Paul Ince followed Gerry Hitchens, who earned a move to Inter by scoring twice for England against Italy in Rome in 1961. Hitchens was the first player to represent England while on the books of a foreign club. His international career was ended by Sir Alf Ramsey’s preference for home-based players, but Hitchens, a Scudetto winner with Inter, stayed in Italy to represent Torino, Atalanta and Cagliari.


8) Monaco – 2 players (16 caps)
Glenn Hoddle and Hateley shared a plane ride home for England duty when they both played for Monaco – under Arsene Wenger – and won the French title in 1987-88.


9) Bari – 2 players (9 caps)
A strong Villa connection with Bari’s England pair, which featured Gordon Cowans who played in Italy in 1986, blazing a trail for Platt five years later.


10) Hamburg – 1 player (25 caps)
Kevin Keegan scored more than half of his 21 England goals while playing for HSV between 1977 and 1980.


11) Barcelona – 1 player (24 caps)
Until Barca come for one of England’s modern-day superstars, Gary Lineker will remain the only player dispatched from the Nou Camp for Three Lions duty.


12) Atletico Madrid – 1 player (19 caps)
Kieran Trippier was the third-best English player to play in La Liga in the Premier League era. For now, at least.

Kieran Trippier celebrates winning the La Liga title with Atletico Madrid.


13) Cologne – 1 player (16 caps)
A European Cup winner with Nottingham Forest, Tony Woodcock found a home in Cologne, winning 16 caps while playing in the Bundesliga. He later returned to Cologne after initially coming home to play for Arsenal.


14) LA Galaxy – 1 player (14 caps)
Beckham earned 14 caps as an MLS player and the first to represent England while playing for a non-European club.


15) Juventus – 1 player (13 caps)
Platt scored 10 goals in 13 England appearances while playing for the Old Lady, which was considerably better than his club form at the time.


16) Lazio – 1 player (12 caps)
Paul Gascoigne turned out a dozen times for England during his stint in Rome with Lazio.


17) Torino – 1 player (7 caps)
Joe Hart remained England No.1 despite being binned by Pep Guardiola, which prompted his move to Torino in 2016.


18) Roma – 1 player (5 caps)
Two international starts and three substitute appearances so far for Tammy Abraham while flying the flag at Roma.


19) Werder Bremen – 1 player (4 caps)
Dave Watson played more games for his country than his club during an ill-fated spell at Bremen in 1979.


20) Al-Ettifaq – 1 player (1 cap)
Gareth Southgate apparently sees no reason to bin Jordan Henderson despite the former Liverpool midfielder parking his morals to take the Saudi coin.

Read more: The 11 worst answers in Jordan Henderson’s execrable interview explaining his Saudi Arabia move


21) Bursaspor – 1 player (1 cap)
Scott Carson played his last 45 minutes as an international, as a sub in a 1-0 win over Sweden, while on the books of the Turkish club in 2011.


22) DC United – 1 player (1 cap)
Wayne Rooney was playing in MLS when he was granted an unofficial testimonial against USA in 2018, playing the last half hour to bring down the curtain on his international career.