The nine British players who left the Premier League for Serie A

Manchester City FC v AS Roma - UEFA Champions League

Remember when 'Football's Next Star' lit up our screens on Sky1? 

Jamie Redknapp would take a group of 40 promising footballers and have them compete for a professional contract with Inter Milan.

Part of the challenge for many of the young contestants was having to adjust to life in Italy, learning a new language and adapting to a new culture. 

To be fair, it's a rare path that few British players have taken over the years even at professional level. 

In fact, since the Premier League began in 1992, only nine players have moved directly from the English top flight to Serie A. 

Well, make that 10 - Ashley Young has just signed for Inter Milan from Manchester United. 

Preceding the former England international are a motley crew of players who were destined for Milan, Rome, Florence and beyond. 

Looking back further, there are some great stories of Brits abroad, like Paul Gascoigne's time at Lazio - but in the modern day, these are the tales of the only nine players who have played in Serie A directly after the Premier League. 

Nathaniel Chalobah (Chelsea to Napoli) 

Chelsea sent Chalobah on loan six times in four years, one of those spells seeing him spend a season at Napoli. The midfielder scored once in the Europa League but made just five league appearances, having to wait four months before making his Serie A debut. 

SSC Napoli v Legia Warszawa - UEFA Europa League

Ashley Cole (Chelsea to Roma) 

On this side of the water, Cole's arrival at Roma is best remembered for perhaps the most awkward team photo of all time. It certainly didn't look like he'd made many friends...

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More importantly, however, his best years were also behind him. While he is undoubtedly one of the Premier League's greatest ever full-backs, he ended up as a bit-part player in the Giallorossi's squad and he ended up terminating his contract with Roma with a year still to run on his contract. 

Joe Hart (Manchester City to Torino) 

Hart was forced to seek pastures new when he was dropped by Pep Guardiola. Unfortunately, with his confidence knocked, the stopper then showed why City no longer rated him by making a number of costly errors and sitting behind the fourth-worst defence in Serie A. That said, Torino did consider making the move permanent but couldn't afford him. 

ACF Fiorentina v FC Torino - Serie A

Stephy Mavididi (Arsenal to Juventus)

The Arsenal striker made a bold move by leaving north London and heading for Juventus, where he initially signed up to their U23's. The 21-year-old only made one appearance for the Old Lady's senior team and he's now on loan at Dijon. 

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Micah Richards (Manchester City to Fiorentina) 

Ricards was at Man City for nine years and was one of the few originals who survived the takeover and went on to win the Premier League in 2012. That was where the luck dried up for the right-back, who found opportunities extremely limited in Florence due to injuries and La Viola's change in formation. He was never quite the same player again and ended up retiring early at 31 after moving to Aston Villa. 

ACF Fiorentina v Tottenham Hotspur FC - UEFA Europa League Round of 32
Chris Smalling (Manchester United to Roma)

United fans have been following their centre-back's progress with an eagle eye this season and many will have been pleasantly surprised by what they've seen. Smalling has acquitted himself exceptionally well and is likely to make his loan move permanent.

FC Internazionale v AS Roma - Serie A

Ben Wilmot (Watford to Udinese)

At just 20 years old, Ben Wilmot has had a fascinating career so far. While still in League Two with Stevenage, the defender was linked with Liverpool and Tottenham. In the end, he made the slightly less glamorous but still notable step-up to Watford, though he was then sent on loan to Udinese. The Englishman only made five appearances and is now back out on the loan circuit with Swansea. 

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Rolando Aarons (Newcastle to Hellas Verona)

The former England U20 international went on loan to Hellas Verona in 2018, making 11 appearances before heading to Czech side FC Slovan Liberec. He's still on the Magpies' books but is currently on loan at Wycome Wanderers. 

Bologna FC v Hellas Verona FC - Serie A

Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal to Juventus) 

The fact remains that Arsenal were mad to let the Welshman go for nothing. The Gunners must have worried they would be left looking foolish when he opened his account for Juventus with a fine strike from just outside the edge of the area. Yet Maurizio Sarri has struggled to incorporate him and he's only started five Serie A games this season. 

Juventus v Hellas Verona - Serie A

Serie A is sometimes hit with the label of 'retirement home' and for someone like Young, it probably will be a place for him to see out his final playing days in a league of slightly less intensity. 

Others have found it to be a real springboard for their careers. 

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