5 players who are criminally misused by their clubs
Let’s be frank; football is no longer a game simply about eleven men. With the huge squads currently being deployed by Europe’s biggest clubs, it’s often stated that it’s a “squad game” and so often, teams have up to 30 top players at their disposal at any one time (even discounting youth players), particularly if they’re involved in a long-winded European tournament like the Champions League or Europa League.
Unfortunately though, this trend of large squads has also caused a negative – the stockpiling of players around a handful of elite clubs, and in turn that invariably leads to some players being misused or frozen out, forced into a permanent spot on the bench or worse, in the reserves.
The reasons can be myriad – a managerial change, or a formation change perhaps – but the bottom line is that great players are often criminally misused. Here are five of the best and most recent examples.
#1 Nathaniel Chalobah
Tipped as a future full England international from a very young age, Nathaniel Chalobah has been plying his trade at Chelsea since moving there from Fulham as a schoolboy in 2005.
He’s one of the most capped England youth players in history, having represented the under-16’s, under-17’s, under-19’s and under-21’s and he most recently starred in England’s run to the U21 European Championship semi-finals.
A versatile player, Chalobah’s best position is probably as a holding midfielder, but he’s also been used as a central defender and a sweeper at times. England manager Gareth Southgate has even spoken of him breaking into the senior squad soon. The only issue holding him back? Chelsea just simply don’t seem to want to use him.
As with many of Chelsea’s youth team stars, Chalobah has seen a string of loans in his career – he’s been at Watford, Nottingham Forest, Middlesbrough, Burnley, Reading and even Napoli for a short stint – but he’s now approaching 23 and he needs first team football.
At Chelsea though, that seems impossible. Despite fans and fellow professionals alike rating him highly, he only appeared ten times in the Premier League last season and started just once – in a win over Watford after the league had already been won.
With Nemanja Matic apparently moving to Manchester United, you’d have been forgiven for thinking Chelsea were finally planning to deploy Chalobah properly – but instead they’re signing Monaco’s defensive midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko – meaning he’ll continue to be misused unless he decides to change clubs.