Walking the Costa del Sol

Between Gary Neville’s dismal spell in the Valencia dug-out and Tony Adams’ training ground disco dancing at Granada, it’s fair to say that the recent history of Englishmen in Spain is less than encouraging.

Whilst a great many Spaniards have brought their dazzling skills to the English game in recent years (many of whom, in the shape of David Silva, Juan Mata and Cesc Fabregas, still lighting it up for the Premier League’s leading teams every week), the exchange programme between the two countries has largely been one-way traffic.

Only 19 English players have played in La Liga (and remember, unlike we here in England, the Spaniards were playing long before 1992). What’s more, many of them only lasted a season, with a handful managing just a few games before coming back home with their tails between their legs.

There was, however, the odd success story: a maverick English player, who overcame all the odds and became a star in the Med. OK, there’s like five success stories, but still.

SEE ALSO: Freddie Kanoute: From Premier League mediocrity to Sevilla’s foreign star

With a rich and varied club career, a prolific international goalscoring record, the lead role on BBC’s flagship football show and the best Piers Morgan Twitter put-downs around, it’s little wonder that Gary Lineker is one of the most beloved figures in all of English football. The striker was one of the only English players to have made a mark at a European giant, and many of the current crop would do well to follow his lead. Just, err, don’t mention that incident at the 1990 World Cup.

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