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Five former Premier League players set to light up India this season

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Five former Premier League players set to light up India this season

Over the last couple of years, India has been a surprising destination for several former Premier League footballers. From Robert Pires to Luis Garcia, David James to Florent Malouda, a host of former Premier League players has plied their trade in India. This season has seen an influx of former Premier League stars in India. As the new Hero Indian Super League (ISL) is less than two weeks away, let us take a look at some of these players who were once the regular names at several Premier League clubs.

 

Steven Taylor

A mainstay of the Newcastle United backline for over a decade, Steven Taylor has signed for Odisha FC for the upcoming ISL season. Under manager Alan Pardew, Taylor and Argentine Fabricio Coloccini had formed one of the most formidable centre-back partnerships for the Magpies.

His loyalty to the club meant that Taylor stayed on despite the club suffering relegation in 2009. He helped Newcastle back to the Premier League the following season, after winning the Championship title in 2010. Taylor has amassed close to 200 Premier League appearances and has also represented Newcastle in the UEFA Europa League.

In 2016, he moved to MLS outfit Portland Timbers and after a short spell back in England, Taylor played in the A-League for Wellington Phoenix.

This season Taylor will be the skipper for Odisha FC, having signed an initial one-year deal with an option for a second.

 

Anthony Pilkington

Anthony Pilkington was a key figure for Norwich City in the Premier League during the early years of the previous decade.

The 32-year-old winger had scored his first Premier League goal against Bolton Wanderers in a 2-1 away victory. Pilkington scored eight goals in a stellar debut Premier League season, including strikes against Tottenham Hotspur and a brace against Swansea City. The following season, Pilkington scored the match-winner in a memorable 1-0 triumph over Manchester United. In total, he has made 75 Premier League appearances.

Following spells at Cardiff City and Wigan Athletic, Pilkington is all set for his first ever experience outside the United Kingdom. Pilkington has also represented the senior Irish national team on nine occasions, scoring his only international goal against the USA in 2014.

He will a key player for SC East Bengal this season, in the club’s debut ISL campaign.

 

Gary Hooper

In 2013, Gary Hooper announced his arrival in the Premier League with a Man of the Match performance for Norwich City against West Ham United.

Hooper finished his first season at Norwich as the club’s top scorer with eight goals but was unable to prevent the club from relegation to the Championship. The following season Hooper scored 12 league goals for the Canaries to help them return to the Premier League at the first time of asking.

The former Celtic hero then went onto play for Sheffield Wednesday and Wellington Phoenix, before securing a move to ISL side Kerala Blasters for the upcoming season.

 

Adam Le Fondre

Adam Le Fondre made his Premier League bow in 2012. He scored a 90th-minute penalty to rescue a 1-1 draw for Reading versus Stoke City on his debut. He scored a double to secure Reading’s first win of the season in a 2-1 victory over Everton. Le Fondre went onto score against Manchester United, Newcastle United, West Brom and Arsenal.

In January 2013, he single-handedly helped Reading secure a share of the spoils, scoring two late goals against Chelsea to earn a much-needed point. Five goals in January earned him the Premier League Player of the Month award.

He finished the season with 12 Premier League goals, but despite his best efforts was unable to save Reading from relegation to the Championship. A move to Cardiff City followed and after a series of loan spells, Le Fondre joined Sydney FC in 2018.

This season the 33-year-old will be seen in the Sky Blue of Mumbai City FC, a club under the umbrella of City Football Group (CFG).

 

Danny Fox

On his Premier League debut for Burnley, defender Danny Fox scored the winning goal and provided an assist in a 2-1 win over West Ham. He made 14 Premier League appearances but couldn’t prevent the club from relegation.

In 2011, Fox signed for Southampton. He established himself in the Saints backline at left-back and helped the club earn promotion to the Premier League.

The 2012-13 season saw Fox continuing to be a regular for Southampton in the Premier League. However, the following season he found himself competing with Luke Shaw for the left-back slot. He eventually suffered a hamstring injury that sidelined him for several weeks.

Following stints with Nottingham Forest and Wigan Athletic, the 34-year-old has put to pen to paper for SC East Bengal for the upcoming ISL season.

 

Special Mention: Robbie Fowler

The Liverpool legend and former England international will be seen in the dugout of SC East Bengal as the head coach for the new ISL outfit.

Fowler scored 120 Premier League goals and is an Anfield fan favourite. It will be interesting to see if he can replicate the success he achieved during his playing days with SC East Bengal, one of the most widely supported football clubs in India.

 

We hope you enjoyed this article on ‘The five former Premier League players set to light up India this season’. Who do you think will have the biggest impact in ISL this season? Let us know!

 

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Shibajee graduated in English Journalism from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), Delhi. He then completed the FIFA-CIES Executive Programme in Sports Management. Shibajee has worked for IMG-R and the K League, and his columns have also appeared in BabaGol.

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