As seen with Danny Ings’ injury this past week, injuries really can seem like a never ending cycle for some footballers, potentially ruining careers. This article will look at the top 5 English ‘sicknote’ footballers who frustrated their managers and fans alike with their lengthy spells on the sidelines.
- Ledley King
Prior to the 2006-2007 season, Ledley King was quickly emerging as one of the finest Central Defenders in the Premier League. However, a horrific injury to his knee cartilage meant his career would never be the same. From then on, King could only play every so often, depending on how quickly his knee would stop swelling after every game. Incredibly, his manager at the time, Harry Redknapp, revealed that King never trained in the week and would still play at the weekend. King retired aged 32, with many feeling barring injuries, he could have been one of the best in the world.
“He is the only guy who doesn’t hold players. He will get the ball off you without you even noticing. For me, that is a good defender.”
Thierry Henry on Ledley King
- Kieron Dyer
Once considered as the future of English football, Kieron Dyer’s career didn’t hit the heights that many had expected. Hamstring and knee injuries meant Dyer’s playing time became increasingly limited. Remarkably during his time at West Ham United, he cost the club £450,000 per appearance, and he only cost £6 million! Having only managed to make 77 appearances in his last 9 seasons, Dyer eventually ended his career. After showing so much promise at the start of his career, people will always wonder just how good Dyer could have become if his career wasn’t plagued by injury.
- Francis Jeffers
Prolific for Everton and England youth sides, Jeffers was one of the hottest young properties in English football. He then got his big move in 2001, when Arsene Wenger brought him to Highbury for a then whopping £8 million. Unfortunately for Jeffers the beginning of his spell at Arsenal was ruined by shoulder, ankle and hamstring injuries. Jeffers then failed to ever recover and left Arsenal after just 3 seasons. He then never rediscovered his form from Everton, and niggling injuries left him doing the rounds in the lower leagues of English football, and even Australia!
- Owen Hargreaves
Hargreaves had established himself as a regular for Bayern Munich in the early 2000’s, however his career soon became one of the game’s biggest cruelties. Countless injuries including adductor, thigh, leg, knee and hamstring problems meant that Hargreaves had quickly become the most injury prone player in the world. After just 5 appearances in his last 4 seasons of league football, Hargreaves retired having only made 173 league appearances in his entire career. This was a sad end for a player who had been named as England’s best player in the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
- Michael Bridges
As an 18 year old at Sunderland, Bridges saved the club from relegation and was considered to be one of the most promising strikers in the country. He then earned himself a move to Leeds United; where he went on to score 19 league goals in his first season, guiding the club to 3rd in the Premier League. Unfortunately Bridges dislocated his ankle in 2000, which was eventually the end of his career in the top level of the game. Much like Franny Jeffers, Bridges then began to ply his trade in the lower leagues of England and Australia. Unbelievably Bridges is still playing now, for Australian side Jambton Jaffas in the Northern Premier League NSW.