"Englishman in New York" might refer to a famous song sung by Sting, but in football it may also refer to the in form striker Bradley Wright-Phillips currently topping the Major league Soccer (MLS) goalscoring chart with 18 goals to his name. Shaun Wright-Phillips' younger brother is also a rare example of an English player plying his trade outside of the British Isles.
Earlier this summer, long-time England left back Ashley Cole made the move from London to Rome as he joined AS Roma following the expiration of his contract with Chelsea. After joining Roma, the 33-year old said that most English players are "scared" to play abroad and that they are in their "comfort zone" in England.
"It wouldn't hurt them at all to go abroad"
"We are going to have to accept that some young players - who I think are good enough and can win games for England - will not always be first choice for their teams in England.
"If you're asking me would it be better for some of our players to be playing in good teams abroad rather than warming the bench, then of course, as a national team manager I would like to see that."
For senior English players, a move abroad does make sense especially if minutes are hard to come by and they are left warming the bench. Players like Joe Cole and Joey Barton spent a season in France with a varying degree of success but for the most part got regular minutes, something they probably wouldn't have got had they stayed in England. Earlier this year, Jermain Defoe crossed the Atlantic to join MLS side Toronto FC and was named to England's standby list by Roy Hodgson before the World Cup (some say that Defoe's decision to move to the MLS cost him an England place but staying in the PL warming the bench probably wouldn't boost his chance either).
While for English youngsters the question is whether they prefer to drop down to The Championship or League One in search of regular first-team football (that they wouldn't got with their parent club) or instead move to a top-flight league abroad elsewhere in Europe. Chelsea's Josh McEachran is currently on his fifth loan spell, this time moving to Holland with Vitesse Arnhem, but will he find playing time in 2015/16 after the conclusion of his loan spell? Seems unlikely considering Chelsea's current crop of midfielders which include several established stars.
Personally, I believe that a move abroad will do English players a world of good, as I've written previously here.
Some players from top European countries preferred to stay in their own country because often the national team manager overlooked those who play abroad. However, recent European powerhouses Spain and Germany has several players plying their trade abroad but that didn't hurt their chances of being called up by their respective national teams. Hodgson's latest statement should encouraged English players to try their luck abroad.