Is it best for English players to go abroad?

As the dust settles on an exciting transfer deadline day, one of the most unusual deals was struck between Manchester City and Fiorentina. The England international defender Micah Richards has swapped the Sky Blues for the Serie A, as part of a rare transfer which sees a young England player move abroad.

It is not entirely unknown for a player to swap Britain for Europe, but it is usually the case that it is done at a later period in the footballer’s career. With Richards, however, the move has been completed with the aim of resurrecting a flagging profile, after a period on the peripherals at the Etihad Stadium.

Ashley Cole is an aging Englishman who has also made the move to Italy this summer, and as he arrived at Roma he called for more of the country’s players to do the same. The idea is that a spell abroad will lead to a greater all-round game, less alienation during foreign tournaments, and fresh ideas within the squad.

It all sounds good on paper, but Richards is one of the first of the current England crop to try it out in practice. A strong, dynamic player, he should be well received in Italy, and he might stand more of a chance for England as a result. It will cost Roy Hodgson a little extra in airfare to go and see the full-back play from now on, but it might just be worth the extra travel time. One thing is for sure, if the move does work out for Richards, then other players will follow suit, and quickly.

Updated: September 2, 2014 — 5:15 pm
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