Guide to Premier League Players at the Confederations Cup
As Brazil continues to host the Confederations Cup, Premier League teams will have a number of their scouts in the country searching for new players to sign, while also keeping an eye on their own players. Ten years ago, there were hardly any Brazilians and Spaniards in the Premier League, but nowadays almost every team in the top four has at least a Spaniard in their ranks.
The hosts have called up the Chelsea duo of Oscar and David Luiz, but Big Phil has surprisingly omitted Ramires. Another player that should have been included based on his performances this year is Manchester United’s right back, Rafael. The young Brazilian has improved by leaps and bounds compared to his previous seasons and would be quite annoyed at his exclusion. Although relegated, QPR’s Julio Cesar made the final cut and is Brazil’s starting keeper. The perpetually Tottenham linked Leandro Damiao is also included and will be keen to follow Neymar to Europe, so expect some great displays from him. Currently employed by Internacional, he is exactly the type of player that Spurs have been looking for, someone that can combine Adebayor’s and Defoe’s skills into one.
The Spanish national team are World and European Champions, but are also the team with the most amount of Premier League players. As usual, Spain’s midfield includes a goldmine of talent. In Santi Cazorla, David Silva and Juan Mata, Del Bosque has included three of the Premier League’s best midfielders. Santi has unequivocally been Arsenal’s player of the season and with 12 goals and 13 assists, he will be a great addition to the Spanish team. Mata has for a second season been one of Chelsea’s best players and was voted by Chelsea’s fans as the player of the season. He has won the Champions League and Europa League with Chelsea and deserves a place in the Spanish team. Unlike the two other midfielders, Silva did not have a memorable season, but is one of the few midfielders that has had a standing place in the national team.
Surprisingly, Javi Garcia has been included in the squad and that is probably down to the fact that Spain lacks defensive midfielders. Cesar Azpilicueta and Nacho Monreal have both been called up and although Jordi Alba will most likely be Spain’s starting left back, it will most likely be that César Azpilicueta will feature as Spain’s right back ahead of the aging Arbeloa. Fernando Torres received a call up after his strong end to the season. Soldado is his real competition, since Villa has barely played all season and has fallen out of favor at Barcelona, but he is another player constantly rumored to be on the lookout for a Premier League team. And before we forget, Pepe Reina has been included but will remain the understudy to Casillas in the Spanish goal until one of them retires.
Japan come to the Confederations Cup as Asian Champions and they also have two Premier League players in their ranks, both having only spent one season England. Shinji Kagawa is certainly the best Japanese player at the moment and after impressing with Dortmund, winning back to back to Bundesliga titles, his transfer to United was not only seen as a coup but also a marketing scheme. The Japanese had a few injuries along the way, but overall scored 6 goals in 20 appearances for the club. More importantly, he combined well with Van Persie and was able to complement RVP by interchanging positions and runs into the box. The other player is Southampton’s Maya Yoshida, who had a good first season in the Premier League after transferring from Dutch side VVV-Venlo. Quite frankly, there have only been a total of 6 Japanese players that have played top flight English football so far.
The “love him or hate him” Luis Suarez will certainly be playing a big role in Uruguay’s attempt to advance to the final. He’s been the only member of the team that has been actually performing. Currently vying for a move away from the Premier League, he needs to impress his suitors on the world wide stage yet again. Gaston Ramirez has faired well, having arrived as Southampton’s record signing, scoring 6 and assisting in 3 goals. More will be expected from him the next season as Southampton battle to stay in the Premier League.
Uruguay has a pool of talent waiting to be tapped by Premier League teams. The first name on the list has been on the radar of all European top sides, and having guided Napoli to a second placed finish, Edinson Cavani is worthy of all the attention. Rumors are that he won’t be at Napoli next season with the most likely suitors coming from the Premier League and Juventus. Another top player, recently relegated with Palermo, is Abel Hernandez who has the ability to score and set up goals with ease.
With only two Premier League players in their squad, the Nigerian national team doesn’t look to English shores like they used to or rather, the Nigerian players aren’t as skilled as they used to be. The Chelsea duo of Victor Moses and Obi Mikel are both present, and were also the only two Premier League players to be present during Nigeria’s recent African Cup of Nations victory. Under Stephen Keshi, the team doesn’t include all the big names fans are used and he has selected from both African based players and European based players to build a well balanced team. While players will be showcasing their goods, there are few that will attract big Premier League teams.
The last team to include a Premier League based player is Mexico. Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez hasn’t had the best of seasons at Manchester United, but with the likelihood of Rooney’s departure, he may find more opportunities at the club. The Little Pea is Mexico’s star player and one of few European based players alongside Guardado and the Dos Santos. Arsenal reject Vela has been shunned by the national team after ironically rejecting recent call ups.
As for Tahiti, they have the same amount of Premier League based players as Italy, 0. Since Super Mario Balotelli’s departure, the Premier League lacks an Italian national team player, but constant speculations linking De Rossi to England may change that.
To sum it up there, Chelsea is the Premier League side with the most number of players represented at the FIFA Confederations Cup. Let’s hope all of the Chelsea players, and the national team players from other Premier League sides, make it through the entire tournament without getting injured.