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Most Notable Asian Footballers Who Won Silverware in the English Top-Flight

Several Asian footballers have won silverware while competing on English soil. The Premier League has been the top destination for footballers around the world to develop their skills, mentality, and careers, including those from Asia. There have been several players from that continent who have plied their trade in the Premier League. Yet, only a few became the mainstay before eventually lifting trophies for their team. Last season, Liverpool’s Wataru Endo earned a medal after winning the EFL League Cup. He could be lining up to lift more trophies, should the Reds’ transition work seamlessly under Arne Slot.

Recently, another Asian player just arrived in England to join Crystal Palace next season. The Japanese international, Daichi Kamada, has agreed to switch sides to London after his disappointing spell at Lazio in the 2023–24 campaign. Kamada instantly grabbed the opportunity to reunite with his former boss in Frankfurt, Oliver Glasner. Both were instrumental when they won the Europa League in 2022. Their collaboration is expected to bring positive results and probably silverware at the end of the season. Such would improve the sale of Crystal Palace tickets next season. Should Kamada be able to win a title, he will be joining the players below who have enjoyed the silverware while playing for EPL sides. Check out who they are.

Lee Young-Pyo

For Spurs fans, his name might have been as popular as that of Son Heung-min. Son might be a prolific goalscorer and even have won the Premier League Golden Boot. Yet, when it comes to silverware, Lee Young Pyo is better. He was part of Juande Ramos’s squad when Tottenham clinched their last silverware to date, the EFL League Cup, in 2007/08. Unfortunately, they only sat 11th on the table, which was a drastic decline compared to Martin Jol’s tenure. Dimitar Berbatov and Co. finished fifth in two consecutive seasons. Lee featured in 30 games in all competitions and earned the medal despite missing out on the final in that campaign. Overall, he made 92 appearances for the Spurs but failed to contribute with goals or assists.

Lee opted to leave White Hart Lane in the summer of 2008 to sign for Borussia Dortmund. Yet, the versatile wingback who could be deployed on both flanks was only fielded in 22 matches and was unable to help them finish in the top three. Die Borussen missed the European spot after only sitting sixth in the final standings. That was his last club in Europe. After plying his trade to Eredivisie with PSV, Premier League, and Bundesliga, the wing-back who rose to prominence in the 2002 FIFA World Cup returned to Asia by joining Saudi Pro League side Al-Hilal before flying to North America and ending his career with MLS’s Vancouver Whitecaps.

Shinji Kagawa

The 35-year-old attacking midfielder was once the most wanted one in the transfer window after his glorious stint with Borussia Dortmund under Jurgen Klopp. Kagawa was instrumental when Die Borussen won the Bundesliga back-to-back in 2011 and 2012. He then chose to move to Manchester United in the summer of 2012 to work under Sir Alex Ferguson.

The current Cerezo Osaka man had the luxury of winning Premier League 2013, which is United’s last EPL title to date. He was fielded in 26 games, scoring six and providing five assists in all competitions. His EPL season debut was not as impressive as expected. In his second season at Old Trafford, he was even declining. Despite playing 30 games, Kagawa only contributed three assists under David Moyes. He was eventually sold back to his former club, where he could regain his confidence and improve his form again.

Takumi Minamino

The current Monaco man might not have been a mainstay during his stint at Anfield. He was merely a clutch player rather than the first choice in the starting XI. Minamino joined Liverpool in 2020 and made 10 appearances in the Premier League without any goals or assists, which was enough to receive a Premier League medal as his team won the league in the 2019/20 campaign. In the following season, he was loaned out to Southampton in the middle of the season. His form was once again not as remarkable, as he only contributed six goals and two assists in 27 games, a poor record for a winger and forward.

The 29-year-old Japanese international made his return to Anfield, hoping that the predicament has been improving. He finally became an instrumental figure as Jurgen Klopp’s side won the FA Cup and EFL League Cup in 2022. Minamino bagged three goals in the former and four goals, plus he set up one in the latter. Overall, the former RB Salzburg man netted 10 goals and one assist in the 2021/22 campaign, which turned out to be his last season in England.

Shinji Okazaki

The former Japanese international striker was certainly the most notable Asian player in Premier League history. Despite never signing for an elite club like the others, he won the prestigious silverware, the league title, with Leicester City in 2016. Okazaki was not only a secondary name in the pecking order but the mainstay under Claudio Ranieri. He was Jamie Vardy’s duet partner upfront in the 4-4-2 formation. However, the former VfB Stuttgart and Mainz man had a more challenging role that needed better physical fitness as he was deployed to play deeper to help put pressure on the opponent’s midfielder to win the ball and initiate a counterattack.

Okazaki made 39 appearances during that season and only registered six goals, way less than Jamie Vardy’s. The former England international scored 24 goals in 2015/16. The forward with 119 international caps remained with King Power until 2019 before switching sides to Spain and Belgium. He is set to hang up his boots this year.

Park Ji-Sung

He is undoubtedly the most successful Asian player in the Premier League to date. Park was part of Manchester United’s second golden era in the mid-2000s. He joined the Red Devils in 2005 after his incredible spell at PSV Eindhoven. The versatile midfielder soon enjoyed his trophy-laden years at Old Trafford. He won four league titles, three EFL League Cups, the Champions League, and the FIFA Club World Cup in 2008. Overall, the South Korean star in the 2002 FIFA World Cup made 204 appearances for United, registering 28 goals and assists each.

Most Notable Asian Footballers Who Won Silverware in the English Top-Flight