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The most unlikely clubs former England internationals have played for

Former Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere should make his debut for Danish side Aarhus on Friday night. Planet Sport looks at some unlikely clubs that England internationals have turned out for.

This week, former England midfielder Jack Wilshere joined Danish side Aarhus on a deal until the end of the season. A huge climb down from strutting his stuff in the Premier League.

Wilshere is due to make his debut for Aarhus in the Danish Superligaen at Vejle Boldklub on Friday night. Seventh placed Aarhus currently sit in the relegation zone, while their bottom-placed opponents have just managed two wins all season. It's hardly Arsenal against Spurs at a packed Emirates Stadium.

Perhaps being out of the spotlight will get his career back on track, as the 30-year-old has been without a club since leaving Bournemouth last year.

This is not the first time a former England international has looked abroad to blow life into a flagging career. Planet Sport takes a look at some of the unlikely clubs where former Three Lions have washed ashore.

Steven Caulker (Alanyaspor, Fenerbahce, Gaziantep)

We start with a one-cap wonder of English football - Steven Caulker. He earns his place on this list having played (and scored) in an international friendly for England in 2012 against Sweden. A match where Zlatan Ibrahimovic stole the headlines with his insane overhead volley.

Caulker, who is still only 30, has had an extremely well-travelled footballing career to date, playing for Spurs, Yeovil Town, Liverpool, Southampton, Dundee and several more. However, more recently he's been attached to three clubs in Turkey.

After falling out of love with football after leaving Scotland, the centre back got his career back on the right path playing for Alanyaspor for two seasons, before earning a move to Fenerbahce. He was swiftly moved on to fellow Turkish Super Lig outfit Gaziantep, without playing a game for Fenerbahce, for the 2021/22 season.
Caulker also made an interesting move internationally too. He switched from England to Sierra Leone (where his grandfather was born) ahead of the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations tournament.

David Bentley - Rostov

Compared to the likes of David Beckham as a youngster, David Bentley had a lot to live up to and even scored a hat trick in a 4-3 win against Manchester United in his time at Blackburn Rovers.

After starting at Arsenal, Bentley's biggest impact came at their bitter rivals Tottenham. He scored his only league goal of the 2008/09 season against the Gunners, with a stupendous long-range goal in a crazy 4-4 draw.
Bentley, though, fell out of love with football and his career went somewhat downhill, spending time on loan at Birmingham, West Ham and former club Blackburn.
However, the winger spent time on loan at Rostov, a Russian team on the Ukrainian border. He became the first English player to appear in the Russian Premier League and went on to make seven appearances for them without scoring.

Bentley hung up his boots the next year at just the age of 29, having lost his love for football...again.

Carlton Cole - Persib Bandung

The move may have been at the end of his career, but the seven-capped striker moved to play in the Indonesian league with Persib Bandung.

Cole played for West Ham and Chelsea, as well as Aston Villa and Charlton on loan, in the Premier League, scoring 51 times in 290 appearances.

After moving to Scottish club Celtic in 2015, Cole signed for Sacramento in the US but only played four times before returning to England. In 2017, Cole made the unusal move to Indonesia to play alongside his former Chelsea teammate Michael Essien, but could only muster five appearances, and no goals, for the West Java-based side.
Cole later said that his relationship with the team manager Umuh Muchtar totally broke down. Muchtar has since been hit with a six-month ban for withdrawing his club from a match against rivals Persija Jakarta.

Lee Sharpe - Grindavik

Lee Sharpe seems to have appeared on almost every reality celebrity show known to man, so much so you forget he once graced the hallowed Old Trafford pitch.

Leaving Manchester United in 1996 sent his career into freefall as he bounced on to Leeds United, Sampdoria, Bradford, Portsmouth, Exeter and the - just to make it interesting - Icelandic side Ungmennafelag Grindavíkur, or Grindavik for those of us who haven't got time to spell it all out.

This move did come ten years after his last England cap and Sharpe was 31 years of age at the time. He agreed a one-year contract at the fishing town club of Grindavik, based 50 kilometres from the capital, Reykjavik, and made a paltry seven appearances for them before announcing his retirement… for the first time.
In 2004, he was coaxed out of retirement by non-league side Garforth Town, on the outskirts of Leeds. But the draw of becoming a minor celebrity was too much and he hung up his boots after just 21 games for the club.

David James - IBV Vestmannaeyjar

Incredibly, former England goalkeeper and current pundit David James followed in Sharpe's footsteps by spending time playing in Iceland.
James was at the ripe old age of 43 at the time and combined playing for IBV Vestmannaeyjar with coaching. He was lured to Scandinavian island by his former Portsmouth team mate Herman Hreidarsson, who was the manager.
The former Liverpool stopper made 23 appearances for the club in 2013 and even played in four Europa League qualifying matches before hanging up his gloves at the end of the season.
Only to come out of retirement to play for another household name, the Kerala Blasters… in India.

David Rocastle - Sabah

Rocastle was a tricky and creative winger who played for Arsenal for the majority of his career, followed by spells at Manchester City, Leeds United and finally Chelsea.
The London-born player, who earned 14 caps for England between 1988 and 1992, decided to move to Malaysian club Sabah, on a free transfer in 1999.

During his playing days he suffered badly with recurring knee injuries. Sadly he lost his life to cancer just two years after his adventure abroad.

It's not just Arsenal and Leeds fans who hold 'Rocky' in high regard. He helped Sabah reach the Malaysian FA Cup final, something that they have not achieved since.

Even though his spell for the Borneo-based club was short, he was still able to make a mark for Sabah and scored from 50 yards out in a 4-1 win against Perak.

Robbie Fowler - North Queensland Fury, Perth Glory, Muangthong United

Fowler's England career may have ended in 2002 but the player capped 26 times by his country turned up in a couple of countries with a slightly different climate to his Toxeth home.

Firstly, Fowler became an inaugural marquee player in Australia's premier football league, the A-League when he signed for North Queensland Fury in 2009. He scored nine goals in the A-League season collecting three trophies at the end of season awards.

The Liverpool legend then terminated his contract to move to fellow Australian outfit, Perth Glory, where he also ended the season as top scorer.

After two years in Australia, Fowler signed for Thai club Muangthong United on a one-year contract. It took him 250 minutes to score his first goal for the club and soon after, following a dramatic turn of events, Fowler found himself being appointed player/coach.
Fowler failed to help his team win the league title in a season that was branded a disappointment and with this effectively came his retirement from playing too.
Fowler went on to manage Australian side Brisbane Roar and then East Bengal in the Indian Super League, before returning to media as a pundit.

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