The life of an average footballer is very fickle and promising careers can fade into obscurity within the span of a season or two. Young players who play in some of Europe's top leagues can often find themselves becoming the subject of hype early on in their career, only to be frozen out of first-team action if they do not develop adequately.
The Premier League is far from immune when it comes to this phenomenon, with Premier League academies churning out scores of promising youngsters who eventually become mere footnotes in history. Serious injuries that sideline players for long periods of time can also cause a player's position at a club to dwindle into that of a spectator.
A notable example of this was Manchester United's Federico Macheda, who scored a couple of goals for United in the 2008-09 season. He was almost instantaneously declared to be the future of the club, but the Italian would go on to make only 30 more appearances for the Red Devils in 5 seasons.
He eventually faded into oblivion, and his greatest accomplishment as a footballer will now and forever be scoring the winner in a league match against Aston Villa. This list examines five other Premier League players who have disappeared completely in recent seasons.
#5 James McCarthy - Everton
James McCarthy began his career at Hamilton Academical in the Scottish Premiership, but the midfielder truly came into his own after his move to Wigan in 2009. McCarthy quickly became a first-team regular under Roberto Martinez and his performances for Wigan also earned him a call-up to Republic of Ireland national team. McCarthy's best moment in a Wigan shirt came in 2013 as Wigan beat Manchester City to win the FA Cup.
McCarthy moved to Everton with manager Roberto Martinez in the following season and enjoyed three good seasons at Merseyside, making 113 appearances. A hamstring injury sustained while McCarthy was on international duty has limited his appearances in recent seasons, with the midfielder only making 14 appearances since 2016. Managerial changes, an influx of players and further injuries have made McCarthy a distant memory of sorts.