The Barclays Premier League has seen a variety of players, but only a lucky few have gone onto the summit of becoming household names. The footballing universe however has constantly forgotten the the people who were an integral part of their club’s performances. The likes of Robbie Elliot, who was pivotal for Newcastle United, Les Ferdinand, who induced stability to Tottenham Hotspur, and Jesper Blomqvist, who was an important member of the 1999 Manchester United team that won the treble have always been overlooked.
Here is a look at the most underrated players in today’s era of the Premier League:
He has been the main catalyst behind the success of the Baggies this season. He was initially overshadowed by Joe Hart who was on loan from Manchester City. He made the most of his loan move to West Brom, making 37 appearances whilst keeping 10 clean sheets. He was eventually signed by the Baggies’ boss Steve Clarke for an estimated fee of £4 million. He got his England call up just before his transfer to Birmingham City, but missed out once again to Joe Hart for the spot between the sticks.
The current season has seen Foster make 10 appearances for West Brom, beating rival keeper Boaz Myhill for the number one goalkeeper’s spot. Out of his 10 appearances, he has kept a dazzling four clean sheets.
Despite making it to the national team, Shawcross is one of the most underrated players to be playing in the Premier League. Deemed as a misfit for Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United, Shawcross secured a move to Stoke City, where he was treated with the respect that he richly deserved. Since then, there has been no looking back for the 25 year old. He was named the captain during the 2011-12 Stoke campaign and was named the best performer of the match a number of times. He has been called up to the national team many times since 2010, but to no avail. Despite these setbacks, he continued with his sizzling performances and finally earned his first England cap in the 4-2 loss against Sweden.
The 30 year old Scot came to the fore in the league five months after his arrival at Wigan Athletic. Barring the initial fitness problems he faced, the former Celtic skipper impressed one and all with his outstanding performances against the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea. He was invaluable in his side securing survival in the Premier League. In the 2011-12 season, he scored 3 goals and made numerous assists as Wigan won six of their last eight matches. He was voted man of the match four times in the season which saw Wigan Athletic secure 16th place on the table and once more avoid relegation. Maloney carried his form into the 2012-13 season, with a goal under his belt in 11 appearances.
Maloney might not be a household name, he may not even be compared to the best of the best, but he always gets the job done quietly as ever, which makes him one of the most underrated players in the league.
The immensely talented Canadian was a regular in Steve Kean’s Blackburn Rovers. Seeking a transfer following the relegation of Blackburn, Hoilett was signed by QPR manager Mark Hughes in the summer transfer window, giving him the hope of playing top flight football. He was a key signing for Mark Hughes’ side, and has started a number games for QPR. Despite his club’s horrible luck this season and with his beleaguered manager in a dangerous position, Hoilett has kept his head down and focused on the job at hand. He is far from a household name at both Blackburn and Queens Park Rangers, but in the current season has made 9 appearances, with a goal under his belt.
Perch was signed by Newcastle from Nottingham Forest in 2010 for a fee believed to be around £1 million. Known for his versatile play, Perch is a player who is generally used in an emergency situation. He is also known to be used by manager Alan Pardew when one of the reguplayers are injured or sent off due to which he is popularly known as Pardew’s go-to man. Although he has bailed out his team many a time with his eye-catching performance and consistency, he is not even in the starting XI for Pardew’s men.
The current season has seen the 27 year old make 8 appearances for Newcastle, but a knee injury in the match against Liverpool will keep him out of action for a while.Published 16 Nov 2012, 22:11 IST