10. Julian Dicks
Stuart Pearce sort of had the hard, passionate England left-back spot covered during the early nineties (to the extent that Nigel Winterburn gained only two caps). But Dicks, who was West Ham Player of the Year for four years out of seven, must have deserved to transfer his Premier League form to an England side, even in a friendly. Perhaps it was his, shall we call it, ‘over-zealous’ nature, but West Ham’s gain was the international side’s loss.
9. Jose Enrique
When Newcastle were relegated from the Premier League, Enrique did not particularly impress. Since then, he has arguably been Newcastle’s most consistent performer. Joan Capdevila currently has the berth at left-back for the world champions, but given that the Villarreal man is now aged 32, Jose can count himself unlucky to have not received a run out. At least he has more chance than Xisco, Newcastle’s forgotten Spaniard.
8. Kevin Campbell
The top scorer in the Premier League to have not received an international cap, Campbell scored almost 150 league goals in his career. Many strikers were given a chance for England in the nineties, and it seems a shame that Campbell was not amongst them. He might not have had blistering pace or dominant height, but you don’t score 82 Premier League goals without being a top-class striker.
7. Jermaine Pennant
I know, I know, wasted talent and all that. A bad boy attitude that has tagged him throughout his career (quite literally at one point). But Pennant showed flashes of brilliance, and when you start right midfield for Liverpool, you would generally expect to be involved at international level at some point.
Has there ever been anyone else to have been man of the match in a Champions League Final and not been capped?
6. Younes Kaboul
You could almost draw a graph to show the two factors: as the performance of the French national side has decreased, Kaboul’s performances have grown in maturity and quality. When he rejoined Spurs, it was for a reported £9.5million. Called up to the French squad for the game with England after an injury to Philippe Mexes,but still to make his debut. Time on his side at 25, but unlucky not to have taken his bow.
A list of midfielders recently capped by Brazil includes Philippe Countinho, Douglas, Jucinei, Sandro, Elias,Wesley, Giuliano, Hernanes, Ganso, Ederson and Josue. Exactly, me neither. Gets some stick from Arsenal fans but plays in the Brazilian way, and therefore surprising he has not been given an opportunity. Damn, even Kleberson has started recently. Called up in 2006 when aged just 18, and not had a look in since.
4. Paolo Di Canio
Obviously a controversial figure. Moving from Nazi salutes and pushing Paul Alcock to the incredible show of sportsmanship against Everton when Paul Gerrard was injured. Also the scorer of the greatest goal in Premier League history. Italy are an international side that has had an era of classy strikers, but it is strange that he was never tried.
3. Carlo Cudicini
Essentially, for the reasons read above. In an era that included Pagliuca, Toldo, and Buffon, it is easy to see why Cudicini wasn’t capped, but in truth the fault possibly lies at Cudicini’s door. Simply, Carlo has paid the price for settling to be a second choice keeper for the majority of his career. Between 1992 and 2000 and the ages of 19 and 27, Cudicini made just 52 first team appearances. However, one of the best shot-stoppers in Premier League history, and consistently reliable.
2. Mikel Arteta
One of the best players in the Premier League plying his trade outside of the top four. His passing and set-piece delivery is international class, but clearly has paid the price for being born in the wrong Spanish generation. Played at every level for Spain, therefore making him inelegible for England despite media reports, but the fact that Cesc Fabregas is not an automatic starter perhaps acts as the nail in Arteta’s coffin.
1. Steve Bruce
The biggest disgrace of the Premier League era? First English player of 20th century to captain a team to the double, played over 700 games as a central defender, and yet still scored 80 league goals. Can only do Brucey justice by mentioning the following defenders that made appearances for England in the same era: Keith Curle, Colin Cooper, David Unsworth, Neil Ruddock, Earl Barrett, Steve Bould.
As a final aside, in researching this list I found out that Anthony Gardner got an international cap. Jesus.