JACK RODWELL has been given a shock lifeline by Roma – who are hoping to land him on a free transfer in the coming days.
The former Everton and Manchester City star, 28, was let go by Blackburn in the summer with his once promising career seemingly on the scrapheap.
Rodwell won three caps for England between 2011 and 2013 during spells at Goodison Park and the Etihad.
But after injuries and lack of form hampered his chances at City, Rodwell managed just 67 games in four years at Sunderland, before playing 21 times for Blackburn last season.
Now Roma – a new stomping ground for Premier League rejects – want to give him a new chance in Italy in the midst of a major injury crisis.
And Rodwell wouldn’t be the first English star to move abroad in a bid to resurrect his career.
In fact, you could create an entire squad of players – but we’ve settled for simple XI, below…
JOE HART – Torino
AFTER falling down the pecking order at Manchester City, the then-England keeper was desperate to cling on to his spot as national No1.
Hart spent the 2016-17 season on loan at Torino, playing 36 times in Serie A before he was given a chance by West Ham the next year.
His form was patchy by his own high standards, but did bag him a permanent move to Burnley.
Hart’s England chances though remained limited and he is now not even in Gareth Southgate’s top five .
KIERAN TRIPPIER – Atletico Madrid
MOVING only this summer, Trippier was under no illusions his days at Tottenham were numbered.
After his heroics at the 2018 World Cup with England, Trippier had a tough go of things last season, gradually slipping down the Spurs pecking order.
A move to Atletico was just what the doctor ordered for full-back though, who appears to have reestablished his spot as England’s first-choice – ahead of even Trent Alexander-Arnold.
MICHAEL MANCIENNE – Hamburg
TIPPED for greatness by Chelsea in the mid-2000s, Mancienne was unfortunate to be part of the young generation who got away.
Under Frank Lampard in 2019, Mancienne may well have been given the chances needed, like Fikayo Tomori, Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham, to name a few.
But after loan spells at QPR and Wolves, the 30-cap England Under-21s defender moved to Germany permanently, joining Hamburg in 2011.
After three years, Mancienne returned to become a key man in the Nottingham Forest machine, playing 122 Championship games in four years before he hopped across the Atlantic to join MLS side New England Revolution.
CHRIS SMALLING – Roma
DESPITE Manchester United having one of the shakiest defences in the Premier League, Smalling was finding it impossible to earn minutes under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
This summer he was told he would not be part of the Norwegian’s plans and the 31-cap England star, once called “Mike” by Louis van Gaal, was loaned to Roma.
Smalling has enjoyed a positive start to life in Roma, but was left distraught after conceding a penalty in the Europa League on Thursday night after the ball hit him in the FACE.
ASHLEY COLE – Roma
AFTER 15 years and three Premier League crowns at Arsenal and Chelsea, Cole’s days in the Premier League were up.
Knowing he was no longer part of the Blues’ plan, Cole took the plunge and headed to Roma – where he posed for that photo.
The Serie A club became a solid stepping stone for the left-back, who then spent three years at LA Galaxy, earning himself a move back to England.
Cole was snapped up by Derby, where he helped them reach the Championship playoffs final – losing to Aston Villa.
The former England star is now back at Chelsea as a youth coach – and recently won his first piece of silverware.
MARCUS EDWARDS – Vitoria Guimaraes
THE young English midfielder was once dubbed the “new Lionel Messi” by Mauricio Pochettino, his boss at Tottenham.
But three years later, the forgotten man, now 20, was sold to Vitoria following loan spells at Norwich and Excelsior in Holland.
Quickly giving himself the boost he needed, Edwards left Kieran Tierney on the floor with a superb piece of skill before rifling home as the Portuguese side took an early 1-0 lead over Arsenal in the Europa League this week.
Time will tell if heading to Portugal was the best thing for his career, but the early signs are promising.
REECE OXFORD – Augsburg
THE defensive midfielder burst onto the scene with West Ham in 2015 when he marked Mesut Ozil out of the game as the Hammers beat Arsenal 2-0 at the Emirates.
It was an incredible introduction to Premier League football, but Oxford quickly fell out of favour in East London.
He spent three years on loan in Germany, with Borussia Monchengladbach and then Augsburg, before joining the latter permanently earlier this year.
While Oxford is still finding first-team action hard to come by, he is still only 20-years-old and – much like Jadon Sancho – believes Germany is right for him.
JADON SANCHO – Borussia Dortmund
SPEAKING of Sancho, the Dortmund and England superstar is now the poster boy for young Brits heading abroad.
The winger, 19, spent eight years on the youth books of Watford before heading to Man City in 2015.
But after two years at the Premier League champions, Sancho realised he would never be given the opportunities needed and took the brave step of heading to the Bundesliga.
And in just two months, he had made his first-team debut – where he has stayed ever since, even breaking into the England set-up and becoming a key contributor.
CHRIS WILLOCK – Benfica
THE big brother of Arsenal star Joe, Willock failed to make a single Premier League appearance for the Gunners.
Willock left the club after 14 years working his way through the youth ranks to join Benfica – where he has already played 64 times for the giants’ “B” team.
His form in Portugal was so good, Championship promotion-chasers West Brom signed him on loan for the season this summer.
Willock will be hoping to impress enough to either help the club break back into the Premier League or perhaps earn a move to a top-flight club.
STEPHY MAVIDIDI – Juventus
YOUNG forward Mavididi spent eight years at Arsenal, growing up with the Willock brothers among others.
Much like Chris, the Derby-born star got sick of his lack of first-team action and headed off to Juventus in an audacious move following loan spells at Charlton and Preston.
After a strong season in their Under-23s, Mavididi, now 21, made his first-team debut earlier this year,in the 2-1 loss at SPAL.
The three-cap, three-goal England Under-20s star is currently spending the season on loan at French side Dijon, where he will hoping he can really cut the mustard.
ADEMOLA LOOKMAN – RB Leipzig
A CHARLTON product of the same era as now-Liverpool and England star Joe Gomez, Lookman had to go abroad to get regular action.
After leaving the Addicks to join Everton, Lookman was limited to just 36 appearances in two years at Goodison Park, mostly from the bench.
A loan move to RB Leipzig sparked a fire in him though, scoring fives times in just 11 games.
Lookman made his move permanent this summer and is currently hoping to launch a Bundesliga title bid with the club.