5 underrated Spanish players to have graced the Premier League

Spain has always been right up there with the very best in Europe when it comes to producing a litany of talented footballers and several hundreds of them have graced the English Premier League over the years. 

Starting from Gaizka Mendieta, Fernando Morientes, Xabi Alonso and Luis Garcia in the early and mid-2000s to Fernando Torres, Cesc Fabregas, Pedro, Diego Costa and David Silva in the current decade, the top-flight of English football has proven to be a happy hunting ground for some of Spain’s golden generation of players. 

Yet, there are many Spaniards who have struggled to accumulate too many caps at the senior international level, despite going on to enjoy a successful career in the Premier League, and that brings us to a version of the underrated Spanish players to have starred in English football.

Here is a list of 5 underrated Premier League Spanish stars placed in ascending order of the number of senior international caps:-

Image result for arteta"
Mikel Arteta clocked up 284 Premier League appearances for Arsenal and Everton (Getty Images)

1. Mikel Arteta

With a staggering tally of 284 Premier League appearances for the likes of Everton and Arsenal, Mikel Arteta was perhaps the unluckiest footballer to not have earned a single senior international cap for Spain over a professional career that stretched for more than 15 years. 

Indeed, such was the dominance of contemporaries, Xavi, Xabi Alonso and Andreas Iniesta, that Arteta never really got a look in from erstwhile national team manager Vicente Del Bosque. 

Arteta, who is currently the understudy to Pep Guardiola in Man City’s managerial ranks, won back-to-back FA Cup titles with Arsenal in 2014 and 2015 before hanging up his boots in 2016. 

Image result for jose enrique"
Jose Enrique won the 2011-12 English League Cup with Liverpool under Kenny Dalglish (Getty Images)

2. Jose Enrique

The Valencia-born left-back made his move to the English shores with Newcastle United back in the summer of 2017 and went on to make 129 appearances for the Magpies in all competitions over the course of four seasons. 

Enrique then moved on to join Liverpool in 2011 and clocked up 99 appearances for the Reds in all competitions while also winning the 2011-12 English League Cup under the stewardship of Kenny Dalglish.

Now 33 and already retired from the professional game, Enrique isn’t one of the most decorated names on this list but he boasts of a strong Premier League CV, nevertheless. That, however, wasn’t enough for him to dislodge the likes of Jordi Alba and Joan Capdevila in Spain’s international ranks.

Image result for ander herrera"
Ander Herrera made 189 appearances for Man United and won the UEFA Europa League during his time at Old Trafford (Getty Images)

3. Ander Herrera

A £29 million acquisition for Man United from Athletic Bilbao back in the summer of 2014, Ander Herrera wasn’t always a regular starter for the Red Devils over the course of his five-year stay at Old Trafford but he still racked up an impressive tally of 20 goals and 27 assists in 189 appearances for the club in all competitions.

The 30-year-old departed United to join PSG this past summer on a free transfer and while that certainly comes as a glowing addition to his CV on the club front,  Herrera has hardly ever been in the reckoning for a substantial role in Spain’s national team.

With the central midfielder nearing the end of his prime and several younger players from the current generation already naming a name for themselves in the international setup, it looks highly unlikely that the FA Cup and Europa League winner with Man United would get a chance to add to his 2 senior caps for Spain. 

Image result for ivan campo"
Former Champions League winner with Real Madrid, Ivan Campo, enjoyed considerable success in the Premier League with Bolton Wanderers (Getty Images)

4. Ivan Campo

Not many fans of the modern generation would be familiar with his name but Ivan Campo was, indeed, a key figure for Bolton Wanderers back in their Premier League days. 

Having represented Spain at the 1998 FIFA World Cup and won two UEFA Champions League titles with Real Madrid over the course of an illustrious spell in his homeland, Campo initially joined Bolton on loan before signing a permanent deal with the Trotters in the summer of 2003.   

The defensive midfielder went on to make 189 appearances for Bolton over the course of six seasons before departing to join Ipswich Town in the Championship.

The former Real Madrid star, though, didn’t enjoy similar kind of success in the international arena and finished his career with only 4 senior caps beside his name.

Image result for monreal"
Monreal won three FA Cup titles with Arsenal but has only earned 22 international caps for Spain (Getty Images)

5. Nacho Monreal

Another left-back inclusion in the list, Monreal came through the door at Arsenal from Malaga back in January 2013 as an accomplished defender in the La Liga and a full international for Spain. 

The Spaniard proved himself to be one of Arsene Wenger’s most successful signings in the latter stages of the Frenchman’s illustrious reign in North London, playing a key role in as many as three FA Cup triumphs. 

Monreal clocked up as many 251 appearances for Arsenal in all competitions over the course of six-and-a-half seasons in the Premier League, largely serving as the first-choice left-back for the Gunners before returning to his homeland with Real Sociedad in the summer of 2019. 

Now 33, Monreal is certainly nearing the end of his professional career, and with just 22 international caps for Spain so far, he is certainly a worthwhile inclusion in the list of underrated Spanish stars to have enjoyed raging success in the Premier League.

Monreal, though, continues to be one of the best January signings for Arsenal in the current decade, a list that also features Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.