Picking an All-Time Overseas Premier League XI

Dan Renfro@danrenfroCorrespondent IIIJanuary 24, 2012

Picking an All-Time Overseas Premier League XI

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    The English Premier League has had some great players over the years.

    For this list, I have compiled 11 players that have had a significant impact on the Premier League. Preferably, they have played at least five years and (obviously) played well.

    To qualify for this list, the player must be an international player from the west side of the Atlantic Ocean. Essentially, I counted "overseas" as the Americas and the Caribbean.

    In addition, the players must fit into a formation, and I limited it to a two-player maximum for each country. Some players were left out simply because their position was filled or were trumped by fellow countrymen.

    Feel free to tell me what you think of my list and let me know if I missed anyone.

GK Brad Friedel, United States

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    Brad Friedel has played in over 400 matches in the Premier League.

    The American has played for four clubs now, and he keeps adding to his illustrious career.

    Friedel had a tough time getting playing time for Liverpool, his first club. Luckily, he went to Blackburn Rovers of the First Division.

    Soon, he was back in the Premier League and eventually played more than 260 Premiership matches for Rovers. After eight years with the club, Friedel went to Aston Villa.

    Friedel played well at Villa for three years, and he is now the full-time starter for Tottenham Hotspur. In his great career, Friedel has more than 125 clean sheets, which puts him in the all-time Top 10—and climbing.

    Friedel is a legend, and he only continues to add to that legend.

RB Nolberto Solano, Peru

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    Over the course of 11 seasons, Nolberto Solano played in over 300 Premier League matches.

    Whether it was Newcastle United, Aston Villa or West Ham United, the Peruvian made a name for himself across the pond.

    Solano was known for his days at Newcastle, but he also played well at his other stops. He didn't come to England until he was 23 years old, and it can be quite the culture shock. However, Solano didn't seem bothered, because he was on the first team straight away.

    He played in both the midfield and defense, making him an extremely versatile player. He had the skills to attack, but he also had the intangibles to defend. Either way, Solano got the job done.

CB Frank Sinclair, Jamaica

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    Frank Sinclair has played hundreds of games in England.

    The London-born Jamaican played 169 matches for Chelsea in the 1990s. He was a regular for the Blues, and he was a solid centre-back for most of his time in London.

    After his time at Chelsea, Sinclair played for both Leicester City and Burnley, bouncing back and forth between the Premier League and Championship. He picked up some notoriety for his own goals, which were much more prevalent than one would like.

    Nevertheless, Sinclair was a very solid defender, and he was able to play well over 200 matches in the Premier League.

CB Emmerson Boyce, Barbados

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    Between his time at Crystal Palace and Wigan Athletic, Emmerson Boyce has accumulated more than 150 appearances in the English Premier League.

    Boyce was born in England, but he chose to play for the Barbados national team. He considers himself a Barbadian, which led him to declare his eligibility for the CONCACAF country, recently becoming the team's captain.

    Boyce has played on some pretty bad teams at Wigan, but he has always managed to help keep them in the top flight. Things look dire again this year, but Wigan have consistently found a way to stay afloat.

    Boyce will have to play extremely well this year to keep the Latics from relegation, but I wouldn't rule it out.

LB Julio Arca, Argentina

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    Julio Arca played for both Sunderland and Middlesbrough in the Barclay's Premier League.

    When you tally up his appearances for both clubs, he has nearly played 150 matches in the Premier League. He's still playing for Middlesbrough, which means he could be back in the top flight soon enough (Boro are currently fourth in the Championship).

    Arca has played mostly in the midfield, but he came to England as a left-back. As a result, he's being included on this list as a wing-back.

    The clubs brought Arca in to play left-back, but his versatility has allowed him to play all around the pitch. Nevertheless, he still has the ability to defend when necessary and can fall back into an aggressive left-back role.

RM Antonio Valencia, Ecuador

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    Antonio Valencia is quickly closing in on 150 appearances in the English Premier League, and he's playing as well as ever.

    The Manchester United man was a standout at Wigan Athletic before moving to United in the summer of 2009. He scored in his club debut in an exhibition against Boca Juniors, instantly providing an impact.

    Since then, when healthy, Valencia has been one of the most dynamic wing players in the EPL. He can attack as well as anyone, and he is a smart enough player to defend.

    Although he is more comfortable as a winger, Valencia can also play right-back. Wherever Sir Alex Ferguson needs him, Valencia can be used, and that is a true sign of greatness.

CM Gilberto Silva, Brazil

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    Gilberto Silva was one of the best defensive midfielders in Premier League history.

    The Brazilian was a surprise standout at the 2002 World Cup, for he was not expected to play much. After an injury, he was inserted into the lineup and played spectacularly, which prompted Arsene Wenger to bring him to Arsenal.

    As a Gunner, Silva helped the club go undefeated and win two FA Cups, while playing in over 230 matches (164 in the league).

    Silva was one of the first really successful Brazilians in the Premier League, which should count for something. When healthy, Silva was a regular for Arsenal, and he made things a lot easier for the likes of Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry.

    Silva saw great success with Arsenal, and he is definitely one of the all-time greats in the defensive midfield role.

CM Lucas Leiva, Brazil

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    Lucas Leiva is already one of the best defensive midfielders in Premier League history, from overseas.

    Known as Lucas, the Brazilian made the transition from an attacking midfielder to holding midfielder seamlessly. He learned to play the position quickly, for it seemed to come natural to him.

    He is very strong on the ball, but he also has the creativity and vision necessary to facilitate attacks. Lucas is not a one-dimensional player, and his versatility makes him even more dangerous.

    Lucas is closing in on 125 league appearances for Liverpool, and he just turned 25 years old.

    Not too shabby.

    He suffered a knee injury in November, which will cause him to miss the rest of the season. Hopefully, he can come back at full strength.

    Lucas is already one of the greatest players to come overseas and play in the EPL. Moving forward, if he comes back at full strength, Lucas has a chance to become the greatest.

LM Clint Dempsey, United States

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    The United States is known for its goalkeepers in the English Premier League.

    Clint Dempsey is trying to change that.

    The American has made an impact since his very first season at Fulham. The Cottagers brought him over in January 2007, and he immediately started playing. His first goal for Fulham saved them from relegation and instantly made him a favorite amongst the fans.

    Dempsey has since gone on to score more than 50 goals (in all competitions) in a Fulham jersey, and he has the seventh-highest goal tally so far this year, with nine.

    He is a fierce competitor, and he is arguably the most skilled American player of all time. When you look at goals like this, it's tough to argue against that.

F Robinho, Brazil

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    Just kidding.

F Juan Pablo Angel, Colombia

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    Even though he was inconsistent, Juan Pablo Angel has scored the second-most Premier League goals in Aston Villa history.

    The Colombian scored double-digit league goals for the Villans on two separate occasions, and he was one of the most dangerous strikers in the Premier League for the 2003-04 season.

    Unfortunately, he couldn't quite maintain that type of play for an extended period of time. As a result, his Villa career slowly wound down before he eventually came back across the Atlantic.

    Nevertheless, Angel scored 44 goals in the Premier League, and he helped Villa to a top-six finish in 2004.

F Carlos Tevez, Argentina

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    Carlos Tevez is easily one of the most important English Premier League players of all time.

    I say that because he is the perfect example of what can happen when a player lets off-the-field issues overshadow his spectacular play on the field.

    After refusing to play for Corinthians, West Ham United bought him, in hopes of avoiding relegation. He scored seven goals for the Hammers, including a game-winner against Manchester United late in the season, ensuring West Ham's survival.

    Then, that summer, Tevez rejected a move to Inter Milan. But in July, Tevez was reportedly on his way to Manchester United. After West Ham tried to block the move, Tevez ended up heading to Manchester, with the help of a FIFA ruling.

    After consecutive Premier League titles at United, Tevez informed Sir Alex Ferguson that he no longer wanted to play for United. Soon after, he was on his way to Manchester City.

    After scoring 23 goals in his first season at City, Tevez was made captain.

    Then he handed in a transfer request halfway through his second season. The club rejected it, and Tevez went on to win the Golden Boot, while helping the squad win the FA Cup.

    In September 2011, Tevez was named a substitute and allegedly refused to go on. While he denied the claim and said it was a misunderstanding, Mancini vowed that the Argentine would never play for City again.

    Tevez hasn't played since.

    Now, Tevez will most likely be transferred once again. The team that buys him hopes that he will win them a trophy or two before his immaturity shines through.

    Either way, Tevez is a spectacular player, and he is easily one of the best Premier League strikers of all time. Without a doubt, he is one of the best (if not the craziest) overseas player the EPL has ever seen.