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10 amazing players who spend more time on the bench than on the field

Several superstar names find themselves on the fringes of their respective teams
Abhinav Anand
ANALYST
Modified 30 Aug 2020, 14:20 IST
Top 5 / Top 10
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Due to the demands of modern football, clubs these days like to have the requisite strength and depth required to tackle multiple competitions and the rigorous schedule of about 60 games a season.

Managers of top clubs, especially, like to have players of a certain quality on the bench to rotate with the first-team players and replace them if they are injured. Such players might be regular starters for a slightly less ambitious and modest clubs, but tend to be on the bench for the majority of the season at the richer ones.

It is hard to convince a player to sit on the bench and offer him limited football, as players want to play as much as they can. If they are unable to oust the starting players from their position, such players try and leave the club if possible.

We look at 10 amazing players who spend more time on the bench than on the field.


#10 XHERDAN SHAQIRI, LIVERPOOL

Xherdan Shaqiri has found game time hard to come by
Xherdan Shaqiri has found game time hard to come by

When Xherdan Shaqiri joined Liverpool from relegated Stoke City for €15 million in 2018, it was seen as a shrewd acquisition.

A tricky, physical forward with good creativity and an eye for goal, the Switzerland international was viewed as the ideal candidate to complement the likes of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane. Shaqiri had a good start to his Liverpool career as well, scoring a brace against Manchester United among other good performances.

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However, the 28-year old has slowly slipped into the shadows. Shaqiri only made seven Premier League appearances last season, out of which only two were starts. The arrival of Takumi Minamino from Red Bull Salzburg looks to have further dented his playing chances, and Shaqiri looks set to leave this summer.


#9 JUAN MATA, MANCHESTER UNITED

Juan Mata was used as a backup player last season
Juan Mata was used as a backup player last season

While Juan Mata might not play every game for a top club anymore, there is no denying that he can still contribute meaningfully if given the chance.

A David Moyes signing, Mata cost Manchester United €45 million in 2014, and the attacking midfielder was at his creative best as he was a consistent presence under Louis van Gaal and later Jose Mourinho. A technically gifted player, the 32-year old's professional personality has often been appreciated.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's arrival seems to have changed the equation though. Younger and more dynamic players have been preferred to the Spain international, who made 20 appearances last season in the Premier League; 11 were off the bench.


#8 MESUT OZIL, ARSENAL

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Mesut Ozil is Arsenal
Mesut Ozil is Arsenal's highest earner

The highest earner at Arsenal, Mesut Ozil did not play even 50% of the league games last season.

The Germany international has been a source of debate among fans and neutrals for some time now. Arguably the greatest playmaker of his generation, Ozil's decline at Arsenal has not been well-received; especially in relation to his enormous wages.

The 31-year old made just 18 appearances in the Premier League last season, riding the bench on multiple occasions. With the emergence of Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli, Ozil's chances seem extremely limited at Arsenal.


Also Read: 5 reasons why leaving Barcelona could be the right decision for Lionel Messi

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Published 30 Aug 2020, 13:51 IST
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