When you look for English players playing abroad the grand total is a fair old sum of 307. But in terms of playing ‘abroad’ you wonder just how much the 72 players in the Welsh Premier League, 40 in the SPL and 19 in the Scottish first division really count?
Indeed of that 307 Englishmen abroad 158 play in the UK or Ireland. The remaining 150 mainly play in, with all due respect, lesser leagues such as in New Zealand, Iceland and Malta.
But there it is fair to say that there is a growing trend to play your trade away from the UK as a Brit.
That figure has gained a few new faces in recent months. Allan McGregor moved to Besiktas while fellow Scottish international Alan Hutton has signed a loan deal at Mallorca with a view to a permanent move at the end of the season. Northern Ireland internationals Roy Carroll and Kyle Lafferty are currently playing in Greece and Switzerland respectively; both are chasing domestic titles.
Now a few more Englishman have also joined the list. Anton Ferdinand has joined Scott Carson at Bursaspor while young striker Jake Jervis has left Birmingham to join fellow Turkish outfit Elazigspor.
Meanwhile Joey Barton appears to have paved the way for more players to try France. In the past the likes of Chris Waddle and Tony Cascarino carved out successful careers across The Channel and now David Beckham and Ryan Mason will also ply their trade in Ligue 1; at least until the end of the season.
Add Aiden McGeady as the only Irish representative playing top football on the continent and not even Ireland can bring the total higher than a measly 13.
So while there is certainly more currently deciding to ply their trade abroad at a high level it is still significantly less than the amount of Spanish, French and German talent who have decided to improve on their game outside of their comfort zone.
Hopefully this is the start of a trend and we should see more players from the UK and Ireland playing for top teams on the continent as it can only be beneficial for them as individual players and hopefully will be the start of a positive effect on the Home Nations international regimes.
Should more British and Irish footballers play abroad?
image: © Ronnie Macdonald