Arsenal's First All-Foreign Starting XI: Where Are They Now?

James McNicholas@@jamesmcnicholasFeatured ColumnistFebruary 13, 2015

Arsenal's First All-Foreign Starting XI: Where Are They Now?

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    A decade ago, Arsenal made history. On Valentine's Day of 2005, Arsenal became the first English club to name an entirely foreign matchday squad.

    Although Chelsea had named the first all-foreign XI six years earlier, this was the first time every single player in the squadincluding the substituteshailed from abroad.

    It proved a successful selection policy on the day, with Arsenal running out 5-1 winners against Crystal Palace.

    In this piece, we look back at the starting XI from that day and ask the question: Where are they now?

Jens Lehmann

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    After leaving Arsenal in 2008, Jens Lehmann had a two-year spell with Stuttgart before coming out of retirement for a last hurrah with the Gunners in 2011.

    Since then, he has had assistance from Arsenal in undertaking his UEFA Pro-License with the Welsh Football Association and worked as an ambassador for UNICEF.


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    After retiring as a Cordoba player in 2011, Lauren has continued to reside in Spain.

    When returning to England, he has worked as a pundit for both Sky Sports and ITV.

Kolo Toure

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    Kolo Toure continues to compete at the highest level, playing in the Premier League and Champions League with Liverpool.

    Most recently, he ended his long wait to lift the Africa Cup of Nations, scoring a crucial penalty in the decisive shootout.

Pascal Cygan

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    After spells with Villarreal and Cartagena, Cygan retired from professional football in July 2011 at age 37.

    Now 40, he has returned to former club Lille in a coaching capacity at U-14 level.

Gael Clichy

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    It's remarkable to think that we're a decade on and Gael Clichy is still not yet 30.

    The French full-back continues to play in the Premier League with Manchester City, where he is chasing another title to add to his 2004, 2012 and 2014 medals.

Robert Pires

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    Last year, Robert Pires briefly came out of retirement to compete in the Indian Super League with FC Goa.

    He's still a regular feature at Arsenal's London Colney training ground, turning up to keep himself fit and wow the younger players with his impeccable technique.

    These days, he can regularly be spotted sat alongside Thierry Henry in his box at the Emirates Stadium.

Patrick Vieira

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    After finishing his career with Manchester City, Patrick Vieira is now employed there as the club's reserve team and Elite Development manager.

    The suspicion is that he is being groomed as an eventual Man City manager. It would undoubtedly be galling for Arsenal fans to see a Gunners legend take the step in to management with another Premier League club.


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    Edu is currently the sporting director of the club where he began and ended his career, Brazilian side Corinthians.

    He was also the assistant to Carlos Quieroz during Iran's 2014 World Cup campaign.

Jose Antonio Reyes

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    Like Edu and Pascal Cygan, Jose Antonio Reyes has returned home.

    After a somewhat nomadic career, he finds himself back with Sevilla. He never quite fulfilled the potential he showed upon first signing for Arsenal, but he has still won the Premier League, La Liga, three Europa League titles and a UEFA Super Cup.

Dennis Bergkamp

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    Dennis Bergkamp is currently the assistant manager to Frank de Boer at Ajax.

    Together, Bergkamp and De Boer have won four consecutive league titles. However, that run seems set to come to an end as they currently trail PSV in the league standings.

Thierry Henry

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    After hanging up his boots with New York Red Bulls, Thierry Henry is now working as a television pundit for Sky Sports.

    He has talked openly about his interest in pursuing a coaching career, and now that he is based full-time in London, there is hope that a formal relationship with Arsenal is not too far away.


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    Arsenal's bench that day included Manuel Almunia, now retired but still residing in London. He had hoped to extend his career with Cagliari but the diagnosis of a heart problem during his medical forced his retirement.

    Philippe Senderos is currently playing for the beleaguered Aston Villa after spells with Fulham and Valencia.

    Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie are faring rather better with Chelsea and Manchester United, respectively.

    Only one player from that day is still at Arsenal: Mathieu Flamini, who returned from AC Milan to rejoin the Gunners in 2013.

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