By Chris Wright
It’s national Australia Day in Australia today, so what better excuse to throw another shrimp on the dingo, grab a cool Hahn from the Esky and come waltzing Matilda with Pies as we take a look at the ten finest Aussie players to ply their trade in the Premier League over the years.
10. Robbie Slater – A so-so auxiliary winger in his day but Slater sneaks in at the top of the shop by virtue of being the first ever Aussie to actually win the Premier League, as part of Blackburn’s 1994/95 vintage.
9. Stan Lazaridis – One of those rare breed of players (Leeds United’s Gary Kelly being another semi-famous exponent) who put in staunch 6/10 performances every single week, without fail. However, Stan stood out from the crowd by virtue of always looking like he still had the hangar stuck down the back of his shirt whenever he played.
8. Kevin Muscat – Not actually Aussie by birth (he was born in Crawley), Muscat moved down under at a young age and went on to represent the Socceroos on 46 occasions.
There is a particular school of thought which suggests Muscat (who made nine Premier League appearances for Crystal Palace in 1996/97) is the dirtiest player of all time and once you bear witness to filth like this, it’s difficult to disagree.
The man’s an animal.
7. Mark Bosnich – A perfectly decent goalkeeper in his day, though, strange as it may seem, there was also a time when Bosnich was considered a bit of a pretty boy too. Sadly, he seemed to enjoy snorting cocaine and eating crisps a little more than he did, y’know, everything else.
6. Brett Emerton – Though he did have an almost Paul Robinson-esque air of the “man-sized baby” about him, Emerton was a dependable (even slightly underrated) midfield utility man, enjoying eight good years at Blackburn in the 2000s before returning home to the A-League with Sydney FC.
5. Lucas Neill – Another ex-Blackburn Aussie. You could tell he was a bit of a smarmy git, which made him equal parts “above-average tenacious right-back” and “complete and total swine during contract negotiations”.
4. Mark Schwarzer – One of the Premier League’s better ‘keepers during his Fulham pomp and still going (having recently signed for Leicester City) at the grand old age of 60.
3. Mark Viduka – A player you suspect may struggle to make it to the Premier League these days on account of him not weighing 7 stone wet through and boasting “searing pace” as his only attribute, Viduka was a big(ger) lad who could definitely play, with a sweet touch, a clever finish and a sensible haircut.
2. Harry Kewell – He may have become a bit of a half-arsed punchline by the end of his time in England, with his rank hair and perpetual injury issues, but there can be little denying that when Kewell was good, he was very good. In fact, he could’ve been Australia’s finest ever footballing export, were it not for one man…
1. Tim Cahill – Winner of headers and molester of corner flags, spring-heeled Timmy must go down as one of the biggest bargains in Premier League history, costing Everton a paltry £1.45million (from Millwall) in 2004 before going on to become the fulcrum of David Moyes’ side thanks to his steady stream of goals and driving performances.
Honourable mentions: Mile Jedinak, Vince Grella, Brad Jones, John Aloisi, John Filan, Danny Tiatto – the list tails off a bit after that.
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