The seven players who managed to play for their country before their club

Javier Mascherano & Alex Iwobi face off in a friendly

It's every footballer's dream to be called up to play for their country.

For many players from the bigger footballing nations, receiving the call is not easy to come by. The wealth of competition at the likes of France, Germany, Spain and Brazil is pretty ridiculous.

As such, some of football's biggest stars fail to ever really make a mark internationally - Eric Cantona and France being a famous example, all thanks to Zinedine Zidane.

Then you have the likes of Aymeric Laporte - one of the Premier League's top defenders - who have failed to even get the call, such is the talent available to Didier Deschamps and France.

But do you always have to prove it at club level to make it for you country? Not always. Seven players have actually got the nod internationally before making an appearance for their parent club.

1. JAVIER MASCHERANO (ARGENTINA)

Before he arrived on English shores with West Ham in 2006, Mascherano was already a full Argentine international.

He made his bow against Uruguay on August 16, 2003 - His exploits at youth level under Marco Bielsa earning him the call - before making his River Plate debut two weeks later.

Mascherano in action for Argentina in 2003

2. ALEX IWOBI (NIGERIA)

Being Jay-Jay Okocha's nephew certainly helps, with Iwobi fast-tracked into the Nigeria first-team setup 19 days before his first official Arsenal appearance on October 27, 2015.

He stepped out on the pitch against Democratic Republic of Congo, before taking on Sheffield Wednesday for the Gunners - not a bad few weeks for Iwobi.

Iwobi on the run vs Iceland at the 2018 World Cup

3. MAURICIO ISLA (CHILE)

Quite a familiar name after his exploits in Italy with Udinese, Queens Park Rangers and the Chilean national side, who have won the last two Copa America trophies.

He earned his first senior international cap - ironically under Bielsa as well - on September 7, 2007, 12 days before his Udinese bow.

Isla controlling the ball vs Germany at the 2017 Confederations Cup

4. VINCENT THILL (LUXEMBOURG)

Okay, this one is quite understandable. Luxembourg is one of the smallest countries in Europe, so any half-decent player in an academy across the continent is likely to get the call.

Thill got the international nod in March 2016, before Metz gave him a run out six months later. He was also the first player born in the 2000's to debut in one of Europe's top five leagues.

Thill in action for Luxembourg vs France

5. HARRY WILSON (WALES)

Liverpool's Welsh starlet is part of a very exclusive club. He actually got his first international call way back in 2013 due to a bit of an injury crisis for Chris Coleman.

Four years passed before he got the nod for Liverpool, playing against Plymouth Argyle in an FA Cup replay in late 2017.

Harry Wilson takes a shot vs China

6. CHRIS IKONOMIDIS (AUSTRALIA)

The only player on the list yet to actually make an appearance for his parent club - which is Lazio. He's not exactly a household name, but the Socceroos have capped him six times.

He's currently back in his homeland on loan at West Sydney Wanderers and it's likely that he'll never earn a senior appearance for the Serie A side.

Ikonomidis playing in a friendly vs Macedonia

7. EMANUEL MAMMANA (ARGENTINA)

Just like Mascherano, Mammana made his international debut before River Plate gave him the privilege - nearly six months after in fact.

And who did Mammana replace in that friendly against Slovenia on June 7, 2014? Only Mascherano himself. Spooky.

Mammana in Argentina training News Now - Sport News