This article could have been entitled ‘5 Johnny Foreigners Who Satisfy The Blind Lust For Passion And Commitment From John Bull” and apologies in advance for delving into clichéd stereotypes that are thankfully on the decline.

The fact remains however that, while we no longer pigeonhole oversees players as fancydan tricksters who insist on wearing layers for Stoke away on a wet Wednesday evening there is still the odd Alf Garnett figure dotted around in the crowd who insist on the blood-and-thunder wholeheartedness that only a son of St George can offer.

The fan in question looks on in disgust as a lycra-clad winger with olives in his fridge rolls around in apparent agony from an innocuous touch and regards it as a slight on Bobby Moore and the Queen Mum.

Then there’s James Milner, a personification of English endeavour carved from Yorkshire stone, who throws himself around for ninety minutes as a glorious throwback to the days when football was equally about graft as craft. On just his playing style alone can anyone seriously imagine him being called ‘Hah-mes’ and emerging from his latest supercar with his latest Colombian mistress? Our Jimmy runs off injuries and swaps shirts in blizzards. He’s got the spirit of ‘66 running through his veins that lad.

The days of viewing foreign players as ‘others’ has long gone – thank you Cantona, Bergkamp and Henry for helping us evolve – but certain national characteristics still hold dear. We will always cheer as loudly for a crunching tackle as for a goal and there is still a modicum of surprise if that tackle is committed by anyone not born in Blighty.

But things are changing, slowly but surely we are finally shedding our final stereotype. Here’s five players who are making that happen.

David Silva

On the surface a quintessential slice of foreign flair full of tricks, imagination, and slight-of-build. Those tiki-taka touches from a player blessed with the balance of a Subbuteo figurine are deceptive however. The Spanish magician may have the vision to thread a ball through the eye of a needle but he refuses to shy from the rough stuff, a common occurrence for someone targeted by every oppo’s henchman.

With his endless running, noting-held-back challenges, and a Chumbawamba defiance at getting up again he’s more a ‘Dave’ than a ‘Daviid’.

Alexis Sanchez

A high-voltage bundle of hustle and bustle the Chilean covers every blade of grass with a work-rate that presumably requires a third lung. Sanchez’s series of dynamic displays have routinely saved Wenger’s hide this term, energising a side that too often flatters to deceive. It may have been the searing pace and ability to take on a man that brought the ex-Barca flyer to worldwide attention but it’s his willingness to roll up his sleeves and grab games by the scruff that’s made him special. And a little bit English too.

Muhamed Besic

A one-man war who evidently considers any artistry in the game as merely fluff and nonsense. For the Bosnian marauder there is beauty in battle and we suspect his DVD collection consists solely of the 101 Greatest Sliding Tackles. No slight is intended when we say Graham Taylor would have loved this guy partnering David Batty in the early 90s.

Leroy Fer

Ah the Dutch; all technical adroitness and treating each match like a chess game with your youngest. Why run when you can stroll and why tackle when that only illustrates that your positioning when not in possession is all wrong no?

Someone obviously forgot to hand Fer the manifesto.

The QPR snapper revels in a reckless lunge and scraps with a passion that makes even team-mate Joey Barton doubt if it’s all worth it.

Fabricio Coloccini

Forget the Sideshow Bob hair that would have been shaved off in a drunken prank on a team-bonding piss-up in Gateshead back in the day. Forget the multitude of vowels and his occasional tantrum of homesickness.

With his authoritative stepping out with the ball, refusal to be bullied under any circumstances, a love for aerial duels, and happiness to clear into row z if the situation dictates Fabricio is an old-fashioned English centre-half in all but name.