England face Australia in a friendly fixture at Wembley this evening, as the Three Lions take on the Socceroos under the arch.
Australia as a nation might have ‘soccer’ down their list of favourite past times, but there’s been a number of names from Down Under who have made a big impression in the Premier League.
Ahead of England vs Australia, we’ve remembered five of the best Premier League Australians.
Five of the best Premier League Australians:
Harry Kewell is often called Australia’s greatest footballing export, at least in terms of talent.
Kewell signed for Leeds United as a teenager and soon established himself as one of the most exciting young players in the Premier League. The winger was a shining light in David O’Leary’s youthful side at Elland Road, one which upset the odds to reach the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup and Champions League across the turn of the millennium.
Kewell was named as the PFA Young Player of the Year in 1999/2000 after scoring 17 goals in all competitions for Leeds, earning the nickname the ‘Wizard of Oz’ from the club’s fanbase. He scored 63 goals in 242 games for Leeds, before departing as financial issues began to tear apart their talented squad.
— Premier League (@premierleague) September 13, 2018
The Australian signed for Liverpool in a cut-price deal in 2003 but, despite flashes of the talent he showed at Leeds, struggled to make a consistent impact as injuries took their toll.
Kewell won the FA Cup and Champions League – becoming the first Australian to win the latter trophy – during five seasons at Anfield.
Leeds boasted a strong contingent of Australians during the early noughties after agreeing a £6m deal to sign Mark Viduka from Celtic.
The forward had scored 30 goals in 37 league appearances for Celtic, winning the SPFA Players’ Player of the Year in 1999/2000, before moving to the Premier League.
Viduka made an instant impact in English football with 22 goals in all competitions during his debut campaign at Leeds, one which included a stunning four-goal haul against Liverpool and a run to the Champions League semi-finals.
— Premier League (@premierleague) November 4, 2019
Viduka scored 72 goals in 166 appearances for Leeds and remained with the club until relegation from the Premier League in 2003/04, despite interest from rival sides as the club’s financial crisis stripped the side of leading assets.
Viduka signed for Middlesbrough and formed part of the team that reached the 2006 UEFA Cup final, where he struck up an excellent partnership with Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink at the Riverside. He scored 42 goals in 106 appearances for ‘Boro, before a short spell at Newcastle.
He is the leading Australian goalscorer in Premier League history, with 92 goals.
Lucas Neil made the move to England as a teenager in pursuit of his Premier League dream and made 279 appearances in the division for three different clubs.
Neil signed for Millwall after arriving from Australia and his performances took the attention of top-flight Blackburn Rovers, who signed the combative defender for an initial fee of £600,000.
Neil made 227 appearances for Rovers across six seasons at Ewood Park, before spells at West Ham and Everton. The defender made 96 appearances for Australia during an international career that spanned almost two decades, with only two players having ever appeared more for the Socceroos.
Tim Cahill became one of Australia’s all-time greats during a record-breaking career with the national team.
Cahill rose to prominence as part of the Millwall team that reached the 2004 FA Cup final, before signing for Premier League Everton in a £1.5m deal. That fee proved one of the Blues’ best bargains, as Cahill spent eight seasons at Everton and became a firm fans’ favourite.
The midfielder’s tenacious work and goal threat, including an exceptional leap and heading ability, saw him score 68 goals in 278 appearances for the Toffees.
— Premier League (@premierleague) July 23, 2021
Cahill’s record on the international stage was even better, as he scored a record-breaking 50 goals in 108 appearances for the Socceroos and became the first Australian to score at a FIFA World Cup in 2006. Cahill added further goals at the 2010 and 2014 World Cups, including a sensational volley against the Netherlands that was nominated for the FIFA Puskás Award.
Australia’s all-time appearance holder, Mark Schwarzer spent the bulk of his club career in the Premier League.
Schwarzer has made more appearances in the Premier League than any other overseas import, with the goalkeeper the only non-Briton to have reached 500+ games in England’s top flight.
Schwarzer signed for Middlesbrough from Bradford City and went on to feature 446 appearances in all competitions for the Teesiders, where he formed part of the side that won the club’s first – and to date only – major silverware with the 2004 League Cup and reached the UEFA Cup final in 2006.
The Socceroos shot-stopper was allowed to leave when his contract expired, aged 35, but suggestions he was on the slide proved premature. Schwarzer signed for Fulham and was named as club’s Player of the Year in his debut campaign, before reaching a second European final as the Cottagers reached the Europa League decider in 2009/10,
He spent five seasons at Fulham before short stints at Chelsea and Leicester, where he holds the record as each club’s oldest ever player. Schwarzer is also the oldest Australian international of all-time after winning his record 109th and final cap aged 40 years and 336 days, while his 20-year international career is the longest in the nation’s history.