Majestic MLS XI of players to have plied trade in Premier League
This summer has been a blockbuster so far for busy MLS clubs, with high-profile names such as Steven Gerrard landing in the USA to much rapture and an upcoming All-Stars clash against Tottenham.
Now two more familiar faces from the Premier League, former formidable Chelsea frontman Didier Drobga and ex-Manchester City wingman Shaun Wright-Phillips, have pitched up in North America.
With that in mind, Coral experts have come up with a cracking XI of MLS soccer stars to have previously plied their trade in the PL…here are our picks.
Goalkeeper: Donovan Ricketts (Orlando City)
Former Jamaica keeper Ricketts was a cult hero for Bradford City in League One, but did spend a significant amount of time sat waiting in the wings on Bolton Wanderer’s bench.
Right back: Tyrone Mears (Seattle Sounders)
Stockport-born full back Mears is quite well-travelled in England’s top-tier, turning out for Bolton Wanderers, Burnley, Derby County and West Ham United with his varied career path, including a detour to France and an accidental cap for Jamaica, before chasing the American dream.
Centre back: Ronald Zubar (New York Red Bulls)
French-born backline marshal Zubar was a mainstay in Wolverhampton Wanderer’s rearguard, but injuries and relegation blighted his stay in Britain, eventually leading the defender to arrive in the Big Apple.
Centre back: Emanuel Pogatetz
Known simply as “Mad Dog”, Austria international and centre half Pogatetz took his tenacious style around Germany and England, where he was a regular for Middlesbrough and a stop-gap for West Ham, before heading across the Atlantic.
Pogatetz in action for Boro:
Left back: DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo)
Now a dynamic defender for Houston Dynamo, left flank threat Beasley spent one season with Man City in his previous Premier League life, way before the Citizens struck it lucky.
Left wing: Shaun Maloney (Chicago Fire)
Rampant wingman Maloney began his career with Scottish giants Celtic, bursting onto the scene during Martin O’Neill’s glory years, yet it never quite happened for the speedy Malaysian-born Scot.
Before seeking pastures new in the Windy City, attacking midfielder Maloney chanced the Premier League with Aston Villa, but made just 30 outings for the Midland men, netting five.
Central midfield: Steven Gerrard (LA Galaxy)
All-action former England skipper Gerrard will always be known best as Liverpool’s captain fantastic, yet the homegrown hero never managed to lift the coveted Premier League title on Merseyside, though the box-to-box midfielder won everything else. His penchant for dramatic goals has already seen him slot straight into Hollywood life.
Gerrard’s debut goal for Galaxy:
Central midfield: Frank Lampard (New York City)
Nobody has scored more goals for Chelsea than long-serving Lampard, whose stay at Stamford Bridge spanned 13 years, yet there was Premier League life before and after the Blues, with West Ham United and Man City respectively, for the all-action midfielder.
Right wing: Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders)
Fresh from being top scorer at the CONCACAF Gold Cup, USA goal machine Dempsey is now striking up a storm at Seattle Sounders, but is most famous for his time tormenting defences for Fulham, before a disappointing spell at Spurs saw him head back to his homeland. Back dangerous Dempsey at 5/1 to score first against his former club in the All-Stars match.
Centre forward: Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy)
Republic of Ireland captain Keane (6/4 in the anytime market to net against Tottenham) toured the nation, making top flight outings for Aston Villa, Leeds United, Liverpool, Tottenham and West Ham United. 255 club career goals in 578 games is certainly nothing to sniff at, and the 35-year-old has hit 81 in 130 for Los Galacticos since arriving in the States.
Centre forward: Didier Drogba (Montreal Impact)
Few forwards can lay claim to as many club honours as Chelsea great Drogba, who lifted four Premier League titles, a Champions League trophy and clinched three FA Cup medals during his two stints at Stamford Bridge.
More warrior than striker, the powerful poacher has bid goodbye to the Blues once more for an adventure with Montreal Impact, after making over 250 appearances in England’s top-tier.