Football

Uncapped Premier League stars XI

West Ham legend Paolo Di Canio never represented Italy (©GettyImages)
West Ham legend Paolo Di Canio never represented Italy (©GettyImages).

With the international fixtures forthcoming, GMS looks at a team of current and former Premier League stars who were and still are unfortunate enough to never earn a cap for their country. 

Some of the players on show surely deserve/deserved a chance that their talents warranted while others will just wish they were a different nationality after failing to force their way into a star-studded international team. 

Anyway, here we go...

Goalkeeper - Carlo Cudicini 

Former Chelsea and Tottenham shot-stopper Carlo Cudicini can consider himself very unlucky to not appear for Italy. 

A consistent performer for both clubs with fantastic shot-stopping ability, it was never going to be easy to force his way onto the international scene with Gianluigi Buffon standing in his way but even so Cudicini was definitely good enough to at least make a few appearances for the Italians. 

Right-back - Steven Taylor

Die-hard Newcastle defender Taylor has been widely overlooked by various England managers over his career. 

This in my opinion is a little strange really. Versatile along the back four and unspectacularly solid at what he does, Taylor has been and still is potentially a good back-up/squad player for the Three Lions. 

A passionate and committed player who gives it his all, Taylor has in fact made an appearance for the England 'B' side but we're not counting that!

Centre-back - Steve Bruce

Largely regarded as the most unfortunate player not to have won an international cap, Bruce captained Manchester United to their first Premier League title in 1992/93, even scoring two late goals in a win against Sheffield Wednesday late on in the season which proved decisive.  

Bruce formed a partnership with Gary Pallister at United that was the backbone behind three Premier League and FA Cup successes among other triumphs yet this was strangely overlooked on the international scene as Bruce found himself down the pecking order with the likes of Earl Barrett, Steve Bould and Colin Cooper even being preferred instead. 

Centre-back - Sylvain Distin

A big powerful defender with a vast amount of Premier League experience, Distin has never been called up to play for his native France. 

Despite being a household name in the top flight of English football with Manchester City, Portsmouth and now Everton, Distin has been overlooked on the international front with others seemingly preferred. 

In 2011, Distin was approached to play for the non-FIFA affiliated nation of Guadeloupe as his father was born in Guadeloupe. However, Distin turned down the approach to focus on his career at Everton. Bit of a wasted talent if you ask me... 

Left-Back - Jose Enrique

Competing with buckets of talent in the Spanish squad, full-back Jose Enrique has never really had a chance for the current European and World Champions. 

Largely unproven in Spain at Valencia and Villareal, Enrique has been a steady performer in the Premier League since joining Newcastle in 2007 and has most recently been winning rave reviews for his displays for current team, Liverpool. Maybe there is still hope for the Spaniard in challenging current Spain left-back Jordi Alba...

Right-midfield - Steed Malbranque

French winger Steed Malbranque made his name in the Premier League with Fulham, Tottenham and Sunderland and not without reason!

Gifted with technical ability and with the knack of popping up with a few goals, Malbranque can find himself very unfortunate not to represent the French national team - especially considering some of the players and squads France have had recently!

Centre-midfield - Kevin Nolan

Probably the most established player in the Premier League without an international call-up, Kevin Nolan must wonder to himself what he has to do to pull on a Three Lions shirt. 

With bags of experience and widespread recognition of being a goalscoring midfielder who pops up with crucial goals, Nolan has captained Bolton, Newcastle and current club West Ham in his time without ever being asked to join the England fold.

Nolan's absence on the international scene is quite astonishing really considering some of the England players who have had at least made one cap...

Centre-midfield - Mikel Arteta 

Nolan is joined by another player who has established himself in the Premier League over the years, Mikel Arteta. 

A creative midfielder with an eye for a pass, Arteta possesses an array of technical ability which he has displayed time and time again for Everton and current club Arsenal. 

What is unfortunate for Arteta is that he is Spanish and that means competing against the likes of Xavi, Andreas Iniesta, Xabi Alonso, and Sergio Busquets among others for a place in Spain's midfield - and that leaves him with no chance. 

Left-midfield - Paolo Di Canio

The Italian maestro delighted and amazed the Premier League for numerous years during his playing days. 

Never short of a controversial moment but possessing a host of outrageous silky skills that wooed fans of Sheffield Wednesday, West Ham and Charlton over the years as well as general football fans alike, the Italian was amazingly never given a call-up to the senior side.  

Arguably most successful at Upton Park, I can't write anything about the current Sunderland manager without mentioning his exquisite volley against Wimbledon which is widely considered to be one of the best ever goals in Premier League history. You can see the goal here: 

Striker - Michu

Spaniard Michu has won a host of plaudits for his recent explosive goalscoring abilities. 

The 27 year old Swansea City player, who can play as a striker or just off the frontman, has always scored goals wherever he has been - not least Rayo Vallecano, where he netted 15 La Liga goals in 37 appearances before moving to Wales.

And his reputation has only increased further at the Liberty Stadium as his goals (22 in all competitions) helped Swansea achieve a fantastic ninth place in the Premier League last season as well as Capital One Cup success.     

Striker - Kevin Campbell

A target-man centre-forward with an extensive Premier League career over the years, Campbell was never called upon by the England senior side. 

Despite playing for the 'B' team and under-21s, Campbell never quite made the grade to the first-team. Quite surprisingly really as was an integral part of Arsenal's side in his early career as well as Everton, where nine goals in eight games including the winner in a Merseyside derby saved the Toffees from relegation in 1999.

Campbell netted 82 goals in the top flight which makes him the Premier League's top goalscorer never to win an international cap. 

On the bench (Seven substitutes)

David de Gea - Spain - GK

Carlos Cuellar - Spain - RB/CB

Craig Gardner - England - CM/RB

Steven N'Zonzi - France - CM

Mark Noble - England - CM

Jermaine Pennant - England - RM

Yoan Gouffran - France - LM

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