Many of football’s greatest talents have graced the top flight of English football in the past but not all have managed to maintain a similar stature throughout their careers. A single bad season could possibly tarnish a player’s reputation which results in them either departing the club or they risk spending the rest of the careers on the sidelines. Long-term Injuries in the past is another reason that results in players being forced to make due with a bench role.
With new and exciting talent being discovered every year in England, it is also quite common for many of the Premier League veterans to fade out of the limelight, in order to allow more youth to develop.
More and more players tend to leave England towards the end of their careers in search of more playing time, while some choose to fight for their place. We look at some of the current players that are struggling to find playing time but are still very much part of the Premier League.
#1 Stephen Ireland (Stoke City)
Stephen Ireland has been playing football in England since joining Manchester City’s youth setup in 2001. After progressing through the club’s ranks, Ireland was called up to the first team in 2005 and made an instant impact. He went on to score 23 goals in more than 150 appearances for The Sky Blues before transferring to Aston Villa in 2010.
Disappointing spells with The Villans and Newcastle, saw Ireland move to Stoke City under former manager Mark Hughes, where he started off well. But a combination of poor form and badly timed injuries has led to the 30-year-old making just over 30 appearances in all competitions since the start of the 2014 campaign.
The midfielder is yet to make an appearance this season after breaking his leg in training, at the end of the last campaign. Ireland might still have a few years left in him in top flight football, if he manages to regain and maintain his fitness.