7 Top Players Who Have Made Surprisingly Few International Appearances in Their Careers

Being English in the Premier League is sometimes the only requirement to get called up by the national team these days, as Watford’s Nathaniel Chalobah can probably attest to after his latest Three Lions call-up was the result of just four minutes of Premier League action this season.

It’s not quite the same for other national teams, where even top class individuals playing for good clubs are far from guaranteed to represent their countries on a regular basis.

Here’s a look at seven current players who have played far less international football in their respective careers than you thought…

7. Alexandre Lacazette (France)

International Caps: 16

Debut: 2013

Alexandre Lacazette has only played 16 times for France in five seasons as a senior international player. That is less than Ousmane Dembele, Anthony Martial and Kylian Mbappe, all of whom are at least five years younger than the Arsenal man.

He scored 113 goals in his final four seasons with Lyon and certainly didn’t have a bad debut campaign after moving to London in 2017, yet has only ever been on the fringes for Les Bleus.

6. Nelson Semedo (Portugal)

International Caps: 8

Debut: 2015

Being deemed good enough to play club football for Barcelona hasn’t helped Nelson Semedo to establish himself as Portugal’s premier right-back.

In fact, since joining Barça in a €30.5m deal from Benfica last summer, Semedo has only played in two of Portugal’s 13 games. He was actually much more regularly involved prior to making the switch to Camp Nou, which is the opposite of what would be expected.

5. Cesar Azpilicueta (Spain)

International Caps: 23

Debut: 2013

Given his age (29) and the fact that he has been such an important player for an elite club like Chelsea for a number of years, it comes as a shock that Cesar Azpilicueta should have so relatively few internationals caps to his name.

The defender has been included in Spain’s last four tournament squads, although he has rarely made it off the bench. Only eight of his 23 caps have been in competitive games.

4. Wissam Ben Yedder (France)

International Caps: 1

Debut: 2018

Wissam Ben Yedder could have been a seasoned international by now had he accepted one of the many calls from Tunisia, the country of his parents. Instead he held out for a call from France that finally came earlier this year at the age of 27.

Four years of consistent goalscoring for Toulouse in Ligue 1 hadn’t been enough to get a look in, while even a high profile move to Sevilla in 2016 didn’t immediately get him in either.

3. Alex Sandro (Brazil)

International Caps: 11

Debut: 2011

Juventus defender Alex Sandro is considered one of the best left-backs in the world and has been talked about as a €60m target for Chelsea and Manchester United over the last 12 months. That makes it bizarre to think he has only played 11 times for Brazil since 2011.

A major reason for that is the enduring presence of first choice Selecao left-back Marcelo for much of that time, while the likes of Filipe Luis and Maxwell have also kept Sandro out.

2. Marco Reus (Germany)

International Caps: 36

Debut: 2011

Borussia Dortmund forward Marco Reus is one of the most highly rated players in Europe but unfortunately has injury to thank for his stop/start international career with Germany.

Reus made his debut in 2011 during his time with Borussia Monchengladbach and was soon included in Die Mannschaft’s Euro 2012 squad. However, he had to wait until this summer for his next major tournament after missing both the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016.

1. Mauro Icardi (Argentina)

International Caps: 5

Debut: 2013

The regular omission of Inter forward Mauro Icardi from the Argentina national team over the last few years has been a point of much debate, mainly because the striker has scored over 100 goals at club level since August 2014.

The 25-year-old was overlooked for World Cup selection in the summer and Argentina struggled. He’s in the current squad, though, and will be looking for his first international goal.

*Number of caps accurate on date of publication

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