The English Football Team’s Caribbean Roots
As a former English colony, some of the most popular sports in Jamaica (football, rugby, cricket) originated in Britain. Football, in particular, is not exempt from the influences that remain visible today. Many of the players in the English national team, past and present, can trace their roots all the way back to the Caribbean. So without further ado, let’s have a look at who they are as they may just be one of your all-time favourites.
In his self-titled autobiography, Andy Cole talked about growing up as a belligerent adolescent in Nottingham, England. He discussed the significance of the city in his personal life as it is where his Jamaican father found work as a coal miner when he emigrated to the UK in 1957. While he was only capped by England 15 times, Cole the Goal went on to become the third highest goal scorer in the history of the Premier League. Nowadays, Andy Cole has been focusing on getting better after suffering kidney failure in 2014 and received a kidney transplant last year.
Being the son of two local personalities, everyone in the Caribbean knows that John Barnes’ soul lies in Jamaica. The former footballer bared the details of his family history in an interview with This is Anfield, where he mentioned that his father served as a colonel in Jamaica. His mother, on the other hand, was a TV and radio presenter in Jamaica whose guests included Bob Marley before, he became truly famous. Barnes was 12 when he left for England where he was named Liverpool’s best player of all time on two separate occasions. He retired in 1999 but not before representing England 79 times.
What Bajan Reporter previously wrote about Raheem Sterling is shaping up to be true— he is well on his way to becoming the best footballer to come out of the Caribbean. Born in Kingston, he and his mother emigrated to London when he was five. Sterling has been referred to as a wing wizard, in an article by Ladbrokes on the Premier League. He was also instrumental in City’s Premier League title win this year. Sterling is only 23 but he already has 46 caps for England and is on his way to a very promising football career.
From the moment he was born, Sol Campbell has always been part of a large team. His Jamaican parents raised 12 children, Sol being the youngest. His youth football career began as a striker for West Ham United but he left a year later to play for Tottenham Hotspur, where he made a name for himself. He was the only player in 2006 to have represented England in six major tournaments including the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cups.
Viv Anderson made history as the first black player to represent England internationally. He owes the first decade of his playing career to Nottingham Forest, during which time he also earned his first 10 caps for the national team. After his transfer to Arsenal, he scored two international goals in the 1986 World Cup and the 1988 European Championships. Since hanging up his boots in 1994, Anderson keeps busy with Playon Pro, a company that he built to help players transition into retirement.
Aside from these five high-ranking players, there are other English footballers with Caribbean roots who have made us proud:
- Laurie Cunningham
- Ruben Loftus-Cheek
- Luther Blissett
- Danny Rose
- David James
- Kyle Walker
- Ashley Young
- Theo Walcott
- Andros Townsend
- Daniel Sturridge
- Chris Smalling
- Aarom Lennon
- Alex Oxlande-Chamberlain
- Mark Chamberlain
- Frazier Campbell
- Darren Bent