How many English players have been in Serie A?

The likes of Fikayo Tomori, Chris Smalling and Tammy Abraham help to make up the English contingent in Serie A right now, but how many English players have featured in the Italian top flight over the years?

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There is one historical stereotype in football which, generally, rings true for both Italian and English football. Players from the two nations have generally been less likely to move and play abroad, preferring to stay in either the Premier League or Serie A.

This is an evolving situation and it is certainly more common now for English players to seek playing time in European leagues when they cannot break into a top English team. Italy has been a beneficiary of that, with some great English players currently in Serie A.

There have also been some wonderful, and some slightly more forgettable, English players in Italy over the years. The first of them arrived way back in 1948, but let’s take a wider look at the history of English players in Serie A.

Current English players in Serie A

Fikayo Tomori shows off his Serie A winner’s medal. (REUTERS/Alberto Lingria)

At the time of writing, there are five English players signed to Serie A clubs and they are are all of a high profile, too. The five players are AS Roma duo Chris Smalling and Tammy Abraham, AC Milan duo Fikayo Tomori and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, and Juventus youngster Samuel Iling-Junior. Ironically, four of the five came to Italy from Chelsea.

Smalling is the longest-serving of those five players as he has been at Roma since 2019, when he made the move from Manchester United. The latest edition is Loftus-Cheek, who only signed for the Rossoneri in the summer of 2023 and is yet to feature for his new team.

Tomori was the last English player to win Serie A as he was part of the 2021/22 Milan triumph, whilst Ashley Young was at Inter when they won Serie A the season before.

Highest profile Englishmen to play in Serie A

David Beckham in action for AC Milan. [Getty]

In terms of the biggest historical names from England to feature in Serie A, the most internationally known star has to be David Beckham. His brief spell at AC Milan led to controversy in the United States as he was owned by LA Galaxy at the time who expected him back sooner than ended up being the case.

The other big names hold more weight in the United Kingdom but players like Paul Gascoigne, Paul Ince, David Platt and Ray Wilkins are very notable, along with Ashley Cole, Jimmy Greaves and Lee Sharpe.

You’ll notice that many of the spells lasted for a single season, maybe two. There has not been overwhelming success for English players in Italy, hence why you won’t see them featured in any Serie A goalscoring records.

Every English footballer to play in Serie A

PlayerClubYears in Serie A
Tammy AbrahamAS Roma2021-
Charles AdcockPadova & Triestina1948-50
Joe BakerTorino1961-62
David BeckhamAC Milan2008-10
Luis BinksBologna2021-22
Luther BlissettAC Milan1983-84
Jay BothroydPerugia2003-04
Franz CarrReggiana1996-97
Nathaniel ChalobahNapoli2015-16
Ashley ColeAS Roma2014-15
Gordon CowansBari1985-86
Danny DichioLecce1997-98
Paul ElliottPisa1987-89
Trevor FrancisSampdoria & Atalanta1982-87
Paul GascoigneLazio1992-95
Jimmy GreavesAC Milan1961-62
Joe HartTorino2016-17
Mark HateleyAC Milan1984-87
Gerry HitchensInter, Torino, Atalanta & Cagliari1961-69
Samuel Iling-JuniorJuventus2022-
Paul InceInter1995-97
William JordanJuventus1948-49
Ainsley Maitland-NilesAS Roma2012-22
Anthony MarchiVicenza, Torino1957-59
Stephy MavididiJuventus2018-19
David PlattBari, Juventus & Sampdoria1991-95
Micah RichardsFiorentina2014-15
Paul RideoutBari1985-86
Lee SharpeSampdoria1998-99
Chris SmallingAS Roma2019-
Fikayo TomoriAC Milan2020-
Axel TuanzebeNapoli2021-22
Ronaldo VieraSampdoria, Verona, Torino2018-2023
Des WalkerSampdoria1992-93
Ray WilkinsAC Milan1984-87
Ben WilmotUdinese2018-19
Harry WinksSampdoria2022-23
Ashley YoungInter2019-21
Ruben Loftus-CheekAC Milan2023-

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