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Famous footballers who went to university

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This beautiful game of football suffers some stereotypical views by many who think that footballers are not very smart and are only famous for dating ‘wags’ and getting into fights. Here, we’ve dug deeper to show that there are smart footballers who have gone to university.



Glen Johnson

Liverpool defender Glen Johnson is a part time student at the Open University, where he is doing a distance learning programme for a Maths degree. Glen said: “I was good at maths in school but I didn’t really think of anything else but football. My teachers used to say that I wasn’t going to achieve anything. So I was thinking that I’ll show them!”


Steve Coppell

Steve Coppell is an ex-England winger who is famous for a nine-year spell at Manchester United, where he set a club record for consecutive number of appearances. Before signing for Manchester United, Coppell began an Economic degree at Liverpool University and he only agreed to move to Manchester United on the basis that he was allowed to finish his studies.



Clark Carlisle

Well-known for his brains rather than his feet, Clarke Carlisle became the first professional footballer to appear on Countdown, a game show in the UK that focuses on word and number puzzles. He was also awarded the title of ‘Britain’s Brainiest Footballer’ and has appeared on the BBC’s politic show Question Time. He has a degree in Professional Sports Writing and Broadcasting from Staffordshire University.


Oliver Bierhoff

One of Germany’s most celebrated strikers of the 90s, Olivier Bierhoff has scored 27 goals in 70 international appearances and lifted the European Championship trophy for his country at Euro 96. He has an Economics degree, which he obtained through distance learning.



Living up to the iconic classical Greek philosopher, Sócrates completed a doctorate in Medicine while playing professionally and practised medicine after his retirement. He also held a PhD in Philosophy.


Edwin van der Sar

Edwin’s most prized possession is his Sports Management degree which he obtained after he hung up his gloves. On the back of his degree, Edwin has secured a role at his former club Ajax as director of marketing and he said: “You thought as a player you had it tough but it’s nothing compared to working in an office doing a proper job.”



Arsene Wenger

Nicknamed Le Professeur, Arsene Wenger has a reputation for a studious approach to football and meticulous management. The Frenchman has a masters in Economics from the University of Strasbourg and speaks seven languages, having worked in France, Japan and England.


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An aspiring journalist with a passion for investigative journalistic work. Also a self-declared masterchef.

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