Football Features

Every Premier League club’s forgotten man

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 13:36, 25 April 2019

The Premier League is full of superstars, world-famous players who everyone knows.

But as much as the clubs are brimming with players known country-wide (if not world-wide) there are players at every club that people have forgotten.

Not players that are unknown, but players who were once known but have for one reason or another become ghosts. No one remembers them or that they play for their current club.

We’ve gone through the Premier League and identified each club’s forgotten man!

Arsenal – Danny Welbeck

Age: 28
Apps: 8

Everyone loves Danny Welbeck, but most of them have probably forgotten he plays for Arsenal. The Englishman was once so associated with Manchester United that the mere sight of him in an Arsenal shirt was almost uncomfortable. Now injuries have taken their toll to the point where he rarely gets to don the red and white, and so many have forgotten about him entirely.

Bournemouth – Emerson Hydman

Age: 23
Apps: 0

Emerson Hyndman was on loan at Hibs earlier in the season and doing reasonably well, so the Cherries recalled him in January and made noise about using him. Except… they didn’t. He has in fact only made the bench on just one occasion. Even if you knew who Hyndman was, you’ve almost certain forgotten about him by now.

Brighton – Jason Steele

Age: 28
Apps: 0

Jason Steele joined Brighton from Sunderland with an eye on providing competition for Matty Ryan in goal. Turns out that never ended up happening and when Ryan did have to drop out it was David Button that took that spot. So Steele is still at Brighton, albeit probably not actually in the Amex stadium all that much.

Burnley – Ben Gibson

Age: 26
Apps: 1

Ben Gibson played every single minute of the Premier League in 2016/17 and was colossal for Middlesbrough, despite their relegation. The former England U21 international spent another year in the northeast in the Championship before signing for Burnley last summer. This season, however, a hernia kept him out for a long time and Burnley have rebounded so well in his absence (they got turfed 1-5 by Everton in his only league game of the season, albeit he did score!) that he’s remained a sub and given how little people think of Burnley anyway, they probably don’t remember Gibson much.

Cardiff – Jazz Richards

Age: 28
Apps: 3

Jazz Richards managed one season at Cardiff where he featured regularly, since then he has slipped from Neil Warnock’s (and everyone else’s) thoughts to the point where, despite having one of the coolest names in football, he has become an afterthought.

Chelsea – Danny Drinkwater

Age: 29
Apps: 0

Danny Drinkwater signing for Chelsea was always a weird one given he was clearly a back-up for a player who was something of a back-up himself (Cesc Fabregas). Yet sign he did. And indeed has stayed at Chelsea despite getting absolutely no game-time this season. He’s so far back in the mind of Maurizio Sarri that the Italian would need hours of intense therapy to unlock him, and it’s probably that way for most football fans too. Remember, this guy won a title not even half a decade ago!

Crystal Palace – Bakary Sako

Age: 30
Apps: 2

Crystal Palace’s forward line has always been a revolving door of mishmash, but for a while there Bakary Sako looked like he could make himself a reliable part of it. Not so this season as he’s spent so much time on the bench that even Connor Wickham seems like an established starter by comparison!

Everton – James McCarthy

Age: 28
Apps: 1

Remember when James McCarthy was a thing under Roberto Martinez? Yeah, us too. Remember when McCarthy last played for Everton? Apparently it was against Manchester United. Do you remember that? We don’t, and no one else does either.

Fulham – Lazar Markovic

Age: 25
Apps: 1

A once hyped-to-the-moon young Balkan genius, the last anyone knew of Lazar Markovic he was failing to cut the grade at Liverpool and being a forgotten man there. Well Fulham brought him in during the January window hoping he could save them from relegation, but he’s played just once and been forgotten in West London. Maybe it’s him? Maybe being forgotten is just his thing? A whole Eternal Sunshine of a player…

Huddersfield – Jason Puncheon

Age: 32
Apps: 6

The Croydon Iniesta had to get old sometime, and that sometime was a year ago. It’s sad to see because he was always so wonderfully gifted and fun to watch, but hey, it happens. He’s probably still warming the bench at Palace right? Wait… he plays for Huddersfield? Huh? Since when? Since January 2019 apparently.

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Leicester – Danny Simpson

Age: 32
Apps: 5

Some things are best forgotten, and perhaps Danny Simpson with his laundry list of documented character flaws is one such person. A title winner who stayed with the Foxes and fittingly became irrelevant as they began to shape a team that plays positive football.

Liverpool – Alberto Moreno

Age: 26
Apps: 2

For years Alberto Moreno vexed Liverpool fans. How could he be so confident in attack yet such a car crash at the back? Moreover, why couldn’t any coach see that and stop playing the rascal? Eventually Jurgen Klopp just cast him aside, and he’s been receding from our memories ever since. The rampaging relentlessness of Andrew Robertson has fully consigned him to the dark recesses of our subconscious.

Manchester City – Danilo

Age: 27
Apps: 9

Part of Manchester City’s big full-back push in 2017, Danilo has basically been a spare part under Guardiola. A semi-useful player who can fill in multiple positions yet is so unremarkable in all of them that you forget he exists. A bizarre fall from grace for a former team-mate of Neymar’s who scored in a Copa Libertadores final back in 2011!

Manchester United – Matteo Darmian

Age: 29
Apps: 5

For two games back in late summer 2015, it looked like Manchester United had signed the next great Italian full-back. Two games. Since then he’s been an ever-increasingly ridiculous defensive presence. Offering as much threat in attack as a class of nervous seven year-olds holding tissue paper. Every successive manager has tried to forget he exists, only to randomly pull him out when they’re desperate and occasionally remind us that hey, this guy, he exists!

Newcastle – Rob Elliot

Age: 32
Apps: 0

Rob Elliot has been at Newcastle for damn near a decade and became a cult figure as a back-up, flirting with starter status in 2015/16 and 2017/18. But thanks to the rise of Karl Darlow, Elliot has lost even the coveted back-up spot and has been out in the wilderness as third choice. Be honest, you forget about him didn’t you?

Southampton – Fraser Forster

Age: 31
Apps: 0

The gigantic Fraser Forster was such a massive presence for Celtic and Saints that he almost became England’s No. 1 – however his confidence plummeted and his performances fell just as sharply. Saints acted quickly and moved on with Alex McCarthy and Angus Gunn, meaning the tall goalie has spent all of the season out of sight and out of mind, to the point where many will have forgotten that he’s still on their books.

Spurs – Vincent Janssen

Age: 24
Apps: 1

Vincent Janssen was supposed to be a big hit for Spurs, a true alternative to Harry Kane that would allow Spurs to rest their star man. He ended up doing well… at taking penalties. Beyond spot-kicks Janssen was useless and he’s proven so hard to shift that he stayed on Spurs’ books all season without a squad number until very recently when he made a 10-minute cameo against Brighton. A twist so shocking it was like M. Night Shyamalan had written it.

Watford – Sebastian Prodl

Age: 31
Apps: 1

Prodl had been a stalwart for Watford upon their return to the Premier League. He wasn’t good or anything but he was reliable. This summer Watford moved on and Prodl has spent the entire campaign sitting in the stands; he’s played just once and been on the bench three other times. Besides that he’s been watching with the rest of us!

West Ham – Jack Wilshere

Age: 27
Apps: 6

Oh, Jackie Boy! It was meant to be so much better than this. You moved away from Arsenal and to a London club with a lot of talent, a brand-spanking new stadium and a pretty damn fine squad. And what’s mad is West Ham have actually been good this season, but Jack Wilshere’s been on the sidelines so much most people probably think he’s still a Arsenal.

Wolves – John Ruddy

Age: 32
Apps: 1

You remember Wolves’ incredible run to the FA Cup semi-final, right? Including their win over Manchester United, yeah? Now be honest, if someone told you Rui Patricio was in goal for all those games you’d believe them, wouldn’t you? John Ruddy was Wolves’ stalwart stopper last season but it’s amazing how easily you get forgotten when a top-class international gets signed to replace you!

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