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Global Superstars: Who are the Top Three Asian Players to Play in the English Premier League?



Global Superstars: Who are the Top Three Asian Players to Play in the English Premier League?

As football continues to expand across the globe, the Premier League has seen several Asian superstars since its creation over thirty years ago.

Here are the top three Asian players to play in England’s top flight.

Park Ji-sung (Manchester United, Queens Park Rangers)

One player that is epitomizes Barclays heritage, Park Ji-sung is best known for his time with Manchester United between 2005-12.

In that period, the South Korean won four Premier League titles, three League Cups and a Champions League trophy during the famed Alex Ferguson era.

The winger did also spend the following season in England’s top tier with QPR, before retiring after a loan spell at PSV in 2014.

Park was a staple in Ferguson’s United side, a club which declined when the Scottish tactician departed back in 2013.

Under new manager Erik ten Hag – the eighth manager since the ‘Fergie’ era – the Red Devils sit fifth in the Premier League.

Ten Hag’s side are only three points off fourth-placed Tottenham with a game in hand.

This means they are among many pundits’ betting tips today to secure a Champions League spot by the end of the season.

Were Ten Hag to have a workhorse like Park Ji-sung in his team, those chances might be even more favorable.

Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur)

The second entry on this list is comes in the form of another South Korea international. Son Heung-min moved to Tottenham from Bayer Leverkusen back in 2015 and hasn’t looked back since.

He doesn’t have any trophies to his name just yet, with Spurs’ last honor as far back as 2008.

However, Son boasts four Asian International Player of the Year awards, as well as the 2020 Puskas Award for his solo effort against Burnley.

The 30-year-old is still very much a pivotal part of Tottenham’s team, proven by last year’s league total.

Here, he finished joint-top scorer with Mo Salah with his 23 Premier League goals from 35 matches.

In total, Son has amassed 245 games in his spell in North London, totaling some 96 goals and 54 assists.

With United hot on the heels of their London counterparts, manager Antonio Conte will need Son to be fully firing again this campaign.

Shinji Okazaki (Leicester City)

Few Premier League fans can forget the team that Shinji Okazaki featured in between 2015 and 2019. In his debut season in England’s top flight, Okazaki’s Leicester famously won the Premier League.

It was one of the most incredible sporting stories of the modern era. The Foxes are one of just seven teams to win the Prem since its inauguration in 1992-93. The Japan international played his part in their triumph.

In 2015-16, the year of Leicester’s famous win, Okazaki recorded five goals and an assist in 36 Premier League matches.

Main man Jamie Vardy rightly got all the plaudits for his record-breaking consecutive goals scored in a single season.

However, Okazaki proved to be a worthy team player and capable substitute when called upon.

The forward went on to play 114 Premier League matches for the Foxes, amassing a total of 14 goals.

These are three standout Asian names in the history of the Premier League. However, stars such as Shinji Kagawa, Takumi Minamino, and Maya Yoshida can count themselves unfortunate not to feature.

What is for sure, though, is that the constant expansion of England’s top flight will help create many more Asian superstars for years to come.

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