Grading the Last 5 Englishmen to Play in Serie A
Ashley Cole joined a fairly exclusive group of English footballers to try their luck in Serie A when he recently completed a transfer to AS Roma.
Only 22 other Englishmen have played in Italy's top flight, and there are just a handful who can claim to have made a major impression.
Here we look at the last five English players to have played in Serie A, and grade each of them on their impact.
Club: AC Milan
Glamour boy David Beckham was perfectly suited to the prestigious red and black stripes of Milan. He may have been a fading force as a player, but he made plenty of friends during his time in the fashion city due to his professionalism and hard-working attitude. He proved he was still a world-class footballer, even if his legs were ageing, earning an extension to his initial lone spell and a second stint at the club in 2010.
Troubled Arsenal youth player Jay Bothroyd spent a year at Perugia, where he became a regular first-team player without really setting Serie A on fire. In 28 league appearances he scored five goals in the 2003-04 season which saw the club relegated. These days he is banging them in for Muangthong United in the Thai top division.
Midfielder Lee Sharpe moved on loan from Leeds to Sampdoria in 1998 in an attempt to revive his career, which had shown great promise in his Manchester United days only to be curtailed by a series of injuries. This was one Italy experiment that can be considered a complete failure, however. Sharpe played just three times for a poor Samp side before heading back to his homeland.
Club: Sampdoria and Lecce
Another Sampdoria flop, Daniele Dichio was unable to have much of an impact on the peninsula after moving from Queens Park Rangers. Of Italian heritage, Dichio only played twice in the league for the Genoa outfit before going out on loan to Lecce, where he could only muster 10 appearances.
Joining Inter at the peak of his career, Paul Ince was one of the more recent success stories in terms of Englishmen playing in Italy. Club president Massimo Moratti was not afraid of splashing the cash in those days in order to bring his team back to the pinnacle of Italian football, and Ince was part of his plans to do just that. After taking some time to adapt, the combative midfielder became a regular presence in the team's starting XI. Although he didn't pick up any honours in his two years there, he represented his home country well.