Many young football players dream of playing in the Premier League when they first start playing professional football. Once they have managed to establish themselves in one of the best leagues in the world, their attention will turn to international football and having the opportunity to play for their country.
Unfortunately, even playing in one of the world’s best leagues does not guarantee you automatic inclusion in the national team.
Players like Manchester City’s Phil Foden will be hoping to maintain the level of form shown during England’s FIFA under-17 World Cup win in 2017. He will be looking to break into the first team at City, the team who have dominated the league so far and are clear favourites in the Premier League odds.
Foden will strive not to end up like the players on our list of the highest Premier League goal scorers to not play senior international football and instead go on to become a legend for both club and country, in a similar fashion to that of Sir Bobby Charlton and Sir Geoff Hurst.
Julian Joachim kicks off our list as a former Aston Villa and Leicester City striker who racked up 42 goals from 156 Premier League appearances. Joachim played for the England under-18s, under-19s and under-21s but was never given the opportunity to prove himself at senior level. Back in 1993 he won the UEFA European Under-18 Football Championships, scoring two goals in the second group game against the Netherlands in a 4-1 win.
His most successful season at club level was in the 1998/99 season where he scored 14 goals for Aston Villa. The striker, now aged 43, is still playing football, at Nottingham club Radcliffe Olympic where he has shifted from striker to defender.
Noel Whelan managed a total of 243 appearances for Leeds United, Coventry City and Middlesbrough in the Premier League, scoring 44 goals in the process. With a lack of proficiency, it is understandable that the English striker was not selected for the senior team. His peak came in the 1998/99 season where he managed to score 10 goals for Coventry City who finished the season in 15th position.
Over a third of Rod Wallace’s Premier League 45 goals were scored in just one season, as the striker managed to score 17 times in the 1993/94 season for Leeds United. During his career, he won the 1991/92 First Division title with the Whites before going on to win two Scottish Premier League titles with Rangers. Despite some success at club level, he was never called up for the England national team but instead played for both the under-21s and the B team.
Having played for the England under-21s, Graham Stuart must have been confident of eventually getting a cap for the senior side. However, despite helping Everton to win the FA Cup in 1995, he was never called up for the England senior squad.
Making 294 Premier League appearances for Norwich City, Charlton Athletic, Everton and Chelsea, he scored 45 goals. Nearly half of the goals he scored he got while playing for Everton and it was at the Toffees that he got his joint-highest tally of Premier League goals, when he scored nine in the 1995/96 season. The first time he did this was for Chelsea in the very first Premier League season.
Mark Bright played for Crystal Palace, Sheffield Wednesday and Charlton Athletic in the Premier League, making 143 appearances and scoring 50 goals. He scored 19 goals in the 1993/94 season, which made him the seventh highest goal scorer in the Premier League.
The English striker also failed to make an appearance for the England youth teams or the England B team.
Former Wimbledon and Bolton Wanderers striker Dean Holdsworth scored 63 goals in 228 Premier League appearances, scoring 19 goals in the inaugural Premier League season for Wimbledon. Only Teddy Sheringham and Les Ferdinand scored more Premier League goals in that season, while Holdsworth managed to outscore the likes of Ian Wright, Matt Le Tissier and Alan Shearer.
Despite continuing to feature near the top of the scoring charts, he was never selected for the England team, even with the national team struggling and subsequently failing to qualify for the World Cup in the United States in 1994.
Italian striker Paolo Di Canio became a legend during his four years at West Ham. He made 190 appearances in the Premier League, for Sheffield Wednesday, Charlton Athletic and the majority for the Hammers. In those appearances he managed to score 66 goals and assist 49, which explains why he was once a target for Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
He scored one of the most memorable goals in Premier League history with a flying volley against Wimbledon, however this goal and talk of a move to Manchester United were not enough to convince Italy’s manager to select him for the senior team, with Di Canio making just a sole appearance for the B team instead.
With 69 goals from 401 Premier League appearances, midfielder Kevin Nolan will be surprised to have never tasted senior football with the England national team. The midfielder was once tipped to be a regular in the England midfield, however that never materialised.
Nolan played for Bolton, Newcastle and West Ham in the Premier League and over half of his Premier League goals were scored while at the Hammers. He captained Bolton from 2006 and was tipped to go to the 2006 World Cup in Germany, but was overlooked. He went on to captain Newcastle and West Ham, but still remained out of the mix for an England call-up.
Chris Armstrong played Premier League football for Crystal Palace and Tottenham and while he experienced some good form for Tottenham, helping them to win the League Cup in the 1998/99 season, he was unable to make an appearance for the England national team. Armstrong was called up to the senior squad, however he was not selected to play and instead played for the England B team on just one occasion.
In 291 Premier League appearances, Armstrong managed to score 71 goals, twice scoring 15 goals in a season. The first of these occasions was in the 1992/93 season for Crystal Palace then three seasons later for Tottenham.
Kevin Campbell has scored the highest number of Premier League goals without playing for England, having scored 83 goals in the Premier League for Arsenal, Nottingham Forest, Everton and West Brom.
The striker won the First Division with Arsenal in 1990/91, however he struggled for form when the Premier League was formed, with his best season being in 1993/94 where he scored 15 goals in the top flight.
Despite never playing for the England senior team, he did manage to make a solitary appearance for the England B team.