Happy Thanksgiving: Man City Unsung Hero Tops Our 5 Best Americans To Grace The Premier League


Thanksgiving. A day the English don’t really understand, I mean it’s basically just a dry run for Christmas a month before the big day isn’t it? Just with a bit more pumpkin thrown in.

Either way, once you’ve pulled yourself away from the ball game, the turkey and the sweet potato topped with marshmallow (no, really), we thought this was a pretty good excuse to salute the good old US of A and  take a look at some of their greatest imports to the Premier League.

 

John Harkes

Let’s start with the trendsetter. The man who went forth and grasped the glories of the new, shiny Premier League and all its riches. John Harkes came across the pond in 1990, switching Albany for Sheffield as he joined Wednesday. He played a major role in getting the club to Wembley on three occasions, lifting the League Cup in 1991.

The midfielder was the first American to score in a League Cup final and even made People magazine’s ’50 most Beautiful People’ list in 1994, it’s easy to see why isn't it?

Harkes made 90 appearances for the USA and also represented Derby, West Ham and Nottingham Forest on these shores. He was very much a reverse footballing Christopher Columbus.

 

Tim Howard

Now, the Americans may not have given us some of the most technically gifted footballers but their conveyor belt of goalkeepers is of a pretty high standard. Tim Howard is up there as one of the most iconic stoppers of the Premier League era.

He arrived in England on the biggest possible stage in 2003, joining Manchester United in. He was caught up in the whole post-Schmeichel scene at Old Trafford and despite showing signs of his ability, he was too young to impose himself on such a senior role.

His move to Everton in 2007 has seen him become one of the top-flight’s best known goalkeepers, and he has gone on to make nearly 400 appearances for the Toffees. Howard has 129 Premier League clean sheets to his name and he shows no signs of relinquishing the number one spot at Goodison.

 

Clint Dempsey

The most exciting American player to grace the top-flight, Clint Dempsey became part of the US contingent at Fulham in 2007 and was immediately taken to the hearts of the Craven Cottage faithful. He was a dynamic and attacking player who was always on the verge of something brilliant or something rash, the sort of footballer fans love.

The wannabe hip hop star hit 50 goals for the west Londoners before moving to Spurs under Harry Redknapp. He only spent one season at the Lane before heading off to the MLS but his reputation stayed firmly intact.

No Yank player has scored more Premier League goals. Throw into that the 48 he has for his country and the two-time Fulham player of the year is easily one of the best from across the pond.

 

Brad Friedel

We are back between the sticks again for one of the Premier League’s longest serving and best goalkeepers. The burly American stopper played 450 games in England’s best division and kept 132 clean sheets, no mean feat when you consider most of those came for Blackburn and Aston Villa.

Friedel appeared as fresh faced gentleman with hair - yes he had that once – at Liverpool way back in 1997. He turned out just 31 times for the Reds before a move to Rovers in 2000, a decision that would propel him into one of the best in the country.

The shot stopper even manged to grab a goal whilst in Lancashire, becoming just the second keeper in Premier League history to find the net from open play. Later spells with Aston Villa and Tottenham were just as successful and the Ohio man went on to be the oldest player to represent both clubs.

 

Claudio Reyna

I could have made a list of goalkeepers here and Brian McBride was pushing for a spot but this fella is by far my favourite American import. Reyna is not the most famous or well know but watching him play was, at times, a joy.

The New Jersey-born midfielder was hampered by injury during his time with both Manchester City and Sunderland after his switch from Rangers, but he still showed glimpses of real class.  

Regularly referred to as the greatest player the USA has ever produced, the affable general was the complete footballer, just as happy going in for a tackle as he was threading the perfect pass. He lit up the Etihad at times, despite having to make do with the likes of David Sommeil, Kiki Musampa and Jon Macken around him instead of Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Yaya Toure.