Among EPL players coming from better-known countries, there are also a few who represent obscure countries that aren’t known for football. Here’s a look at five of these players.
5. Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Manchester United & Armenia)
Mkhitaryan will probably go down as the greatest ever Armenian footballer. He’s already the record goal scorer for the international side than any other player and his accomplishments both internationally and in club football will be very difficult to match.
Football is among the popular sports in Armenia, but the level isn’t very good. The national team has never qualified for the European Championships nor the FIFA World Cup and is currently ranked 90th in the world with not many players playing abroad.
Mkhitaryan is making the country proud of his performances across Europe. Last season, Armenia became the 96th nation to have a Premier League goalscorer.
4. Victor Wanyama (Tottenham Hotspurs & Kenya)
The 26-year-old defensive midfielder went to Europe in 2007 to play for Swedish side Helsingborg; it didn’t take long before he was playing in the Champions League. After signing for Celtic, Wanyama became the first Kenyan to score in the Champions League in 2012.
After a good spell in Celtic, Wanyama was snapped up by Southampton and he later signed with Tottenham in 2016.
Kenyan football as a whole hasn’t had any kind of success, though. They are currently 111th in the FIFA rankings and haven’t even made it past Round 1 in the African Cup of Nations. They last qualified for the tournament in 2004.
3. Ragnar Klavan (Liverpool & Estonia)
The captain of the Estonian national team was signed by Liverpool last year after stints in the Netherlands with Alkmaar and in Germany with Augsburg. The 32-year-old central defender has failed to keep a regular starting spot, but he’s had some good spells in the team.
It worth noting that Klavan isn’t actually the first Estonian in the Premier League. The country with a population around 1.3 million produced its first Premier League player in the 90’s when goalkeeper Mart Poom signed for Derby County. He later also played for Sunderland and Arsenal in the league.