Top TEN who could have achieved so much more

Posted: June 10, 2011 in Uncategorized
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Injuries are a part of the beautiful game and we all accept that but it doesn’t stop them being any less frustrating or painful. I remember those horrendous images when Henrik Larsson broke his leg at Celtic, no matter how many times I saw them I still winced, but somehow the former Manchester United player’s career wasn’t ruined, but some have not been so lucky. Whether it be reoccurring injuries, horrific challenges or freak incidents so many gifted players have drifted out of the game due to injuries cutting short their promising careers or at minimum hindered them achieving their potential.

Michael Bridges

Emerged as a promising young striker in the 1996-97 for Sunderland with many touting Bridges for a long and successful career. After four years at Sunderland, Bridges moved to Leeds and scored an impressive 19 Premiership goals in his first season for the club. However in the same season the former England international was injured against Besiktas in the UEFA Cup and this was the beginning of four seasons at Elland Road mainly spent in the treatment room. An unsuccessful loan spell at Newcastle followed before his release by Leeds, and the former promising youngster went on to play for Carlisle, Hull City, Sydney FC, MK Dons and Newcastle Jets before announcing his retirement in April of this year at the age of 32.

Michael Owen

Even now I still get downbeat at how Owen’s career has dwindled, a truly superb goal against Argentina in World Cup 98 showed promise of a superb career, and by all means Owen has had an impressive and successful career, but it could have achieved so much more. The signs were there after a couple of injury hit seasons at Liverpool, and after a a disappointing spell with Real Madrid and an injury prone stint at Newcastle, Owen now plays fourth fiddle to Berbatov, Hernandez and Rooney at Old Trafford; something that is hard to comprehend after scoring over 150 goals for Liverpool.

Norman Whiteside

Whiteside broke various records and promised so much when he broke into the Manchester United side in the 1981/82 season and became famous for his aggressive and physical style of play. The former Northern Ireland striker’s career didn’t live up to expectation though with long spells on the sidelines with major injury problems, and with the return of Mark Hughes, Fergie decided to sell Whiteside to Everton. After a good start at Goodison, Whiteside was again affected by injuries and after having 13 operations on his knee during his career he decided to call it a day at the age of 26.

Dean Ashton

The former England international joined West Ham in January 2006 from Norwich City, after a very impressive season with The Canaries. The former Crewe player went away on international duty with England after impressing in his eleven appearances since he had moved to Upton Park but subsequently broke his ankle. Ashton did return for the 2007/08 Premier League season and had a relatively successful one scoring ten goals, however a few games into the following season the former England international suffered another ankle injury, one he never recovered from forcing his early retirement in 2008 at the age of 26.

Luc Nilis

Aston Villa signed Belgium international Nilis after his formidable form for PSV which saw him net 110 goals in 164 games. The former Anderlecht player did score a rather superb goal against Chelsea but in his third appearance for The Villians the striker collied with Richard Wright, which resulted in a leg break that meant Nilis could never play again.

Owen Hargreaves

The Canadian born Englishman established himself as consistent and solid centre midfielder in his time at Bayern Munich and after surprisingly being one of England’s few positives from the 2006 World Cup with his impressive displays, he was signed by Manchester United. The former Bayern player’s Old Trafford career was hampered by persistent injuries and Hargreaves failed to make even forty competitive appearances for the Red Devils and Fergie has recently taken the decision to let Hargreaves’ contract to expire in the summer, with many predicting that the former England international will retire.

Jonathan Woodgate

After impressing for Leeds United and Newcastle United, Woodgate made a surprising move to Real Madrid despite not being fully fit. A risk that didn’t pay off for the La Liga giants, with the Englishman making no appearances in his first season and only twelve overall when he left the Bernabeu after an injury ravaged spell in Spain. Ever since leaving Madrid Woodgate has continued having injury problems firstly with Middlesbrough and now Tottenham Hotspur.

Fernando Redondo

Spent a decade in La Liga, mainly with Real Madrid before moving to AC Milan for £11 million and after only three minutes into his first Italian training session Redondo’s Milan career was all but over, when he injured his knee. The Argentine didn’t make any appearances in his first two seasons for the Serie A giants and eventually retired in 2004 after making only 16 appearances.

Gianluigi Lentini

In 1992 Lentini was signed by AC Milan for £13 million, making him the most expensive player in the world at that time. The Italian’s career promised so much and was just getting under way for Milan when he was involved in a car crash, which left him in a coma and a fractured skull. Although he did recover, Lentini never recaptured his form and eventually ended up seeing out his playing days for Italian clubs’ lower down the leagues’.

Andy van der Meyde

Rose to prominence at Ajax and was signed by Inter Milan but failed to maintain a starting place at the San Siro so the Dutchman moved to Everton in 2005. During van der Meyde’s time on Goodison he suffered with alcoholism, disciplinary problems, as well as various injuries, which limited the former Netherlands international appearances for The Toffees’. In 2009 he was released by David Moyes and spent six months without a club, before signing for PSV but made only one appearance before announcing his retirement.

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