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Football: Maitland-Niles joins growing list of Brits abroad

Ainsley Maitland-Niles has become the latest British player to move abroad after completing his loan switch to Roma from Arsenal on Saturday, and it is a trend that shows no signs of slowing down.

It is not that long ago that it was almost unheard of for British players to move abroad, bar the odd high-profile deal that saw the likes of David Beckham and Michael Owen join the Galactico influx at Real Madrid during the mid noughties.

However, in recent years more and more British players, particularly young ones, have taken the plunge and moved to the continent, and some of them are currently starring in La Liga, Serie A, the Bundesliga and Ligue 1.

Maitland-Niles joins English contingent at Roma

Roma head coach Jose Mourinho has taken full advantage of his knowledge of the Premier League since arriving at the Stadio Olimpico over the summer, with Arsenal star Maitland-Niles becoming the third Englishman to make the move to the Italian capital.

Tammy Abraham was Mourinho's big summer signing, with the England international forward arriving from Chelsea in a reported £34million deal and he has certainly not disappointed, averaging a goal every other game since making the move.

Chris Smalling is Roma's other English star, although the centr- back was not a Moiurinho acquisition, as he arrived in 2019, initially on loan, before making the move permanent the following summer.

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Away from Roma, and Fikayo Tomori is another young England international enjoying life in Serie A, as he has established himself as a mainstay of AC Milan's defence since arriving from Chelsea last year.

It is not just English players starring in Italy, as Scottish duo Aaron Hickey and Liam Henderson have been catching the eye for Bologna and Empoli respectively, while Wales' Ethan Ampadu is enjoying a productive loan spell at Venezia.

However, Ampadu's international colleague Aaron Ramsey's time with Juventus appears to be coming to an end, with the midfielder out of favour and tipped for a return to the Premier League.

Bellingham starring in the Bundesliga

Jude Bellingham opted against joining a Premier League giant during the summer of 2020 and instead swapped Birmingham City for Borussia Dortmund, as he felt that was the best place to continue his development.

That has certainly proven a shrewd move, as the 18-year-old has not only established himself as a Dortmund starter, but also one of the brightest young talents in the Bundesliga, as well as a regular in Gareth Southgate's England squad.

Bellingham is certainly the highest profile British star in the Bundesliga, but he is not the only one, with former West Ham United defender Reece Oxford currently enjoying his fourth season at Augsburg.

Omar Richards has featured sporadically in his first season at Bayern Munich, while young talents Keanan Bennetts and Clinton Mola are cutting their teeth at Borussia Monchengladbach and Stuttgart respectively.

Gomes and Mavididi catching Ligue 1 eye

Angel Gomes was a player that Manchester United did not want to lose in 2020, but he opted against signing a new contract at Old Trafford and instead made the move to France by joining Lille.

The 21-year-old spent his first season on loan at Portuguese club Boavista, but since returning to Lille last summer he has established himself as a regular.

Former Arsenal star Stephy Mavididi was another English player that opted to move from the Premier League to Europe at an early age, swapping the Emirates Stadium for Juventus in 2018.

Mavididi managed just one cameo appearance for Juve, but following a loan spell at Dijon, he joined Montpellier in 2020 and has not looked back since, netting six goals in 18 appearances so far this season.

Troyes may not be the first place you would expect young British players to rock up, but the Ligue 1 club's link with Manchester City means that Patrick Roberts is currently on loan at the Stade de l'Aube, although his game-time has been limited.

Roberts is not the only Englishman at Troyes, as former Crystal Palace and Leyton Orient winger Levi Lumeka is also part of Bruno Irles' squad.

Colchester-born Etienne Green has the perfect name for his club as he also plies his trade in Ligue 1 and is currently the first-choice goalkeeper at Saint-Etienne, while Scotland under-21 star Fraser Hornby is at Reims.

Bale waving British flag in La Liga

The British flag may be flying in Italy, Germany and France, but in Spain it is less prominent, with Kieran Trippier's departure from Atletico Madrid meaning there is just one Brit left in La Liga.

That one player is a certain Gareth Bale, although his high-profile struggles at Real Madrid over recent seasons have been well documented, with the Wales international having been limited to three league appearances to date this term.

With his contract expiring in the summer, Bale will almost certainly move on to pastures new and may even retire completely, but despite the seemingly infamous end to his Bernabeu career, he will leave Real having won four Champions Leagues and two La Liga titles during his time with the club, as well as scoring over 100 goals. Not bad for a player that allegedly prefers golf!

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