Football has always been one of the most physically demanding sports in the world. The game requires players to be at peak fitness for 90 minutes per game. They need to repeat this throughout a season during which they have to play an average of 50 games.
The Premier League is renowned for being one of the most physically demanding football competitions in world football. The physicality and speed of the English game has been the downfall of several top-quality footballers.
Possessing qualities such as dribbling, long-range passing, heading ability and speed do not guarantee longevity in the Premier League. Players must maintain consistency in their performances on the pitch and maintain fitness levels to achieve longevity.
Several footballers in the Premier League have displayed the potential to become top-level professionals. Their progress in the game has, however, been hampered due to long-term or recurring injuries.
On that note, let's look at five Premier League players whose careers dipped due to injury.
#5 Owen Hargreaves
The story of Owen Hargreaves' injury-plagued time at Manchester United has repeatedly been told to footballers and fans for several years now. The English midfielder joined Manchester United from Bayern Munich in a deal worth £17 million in the summer of 2007.
Hargreaves was one of the most highly-rated midfielders in the world when he moved to Old Trafford and had an immediate impact in his first season. He made 34 appearances in all competitions, helping Manchester United win the Premier League and Champions League.
However, Hargreaves made just five more appearances for Manchester United in his next three years with the club as he suffered from a recurring patellar tendinitis problem.
United released him upon the expiry of his contract in 2011. Hargreaves joined Manchester City on a one-year deal but could make just one appearance for the club before announcing his retirement in 2012 at the age of just 31.
#4 Michael Owen
The inclusion of a Premier League legend like Michael Owen on this list might come as a shock to most. However, due to recurring muscle injuries, the former Liverpool striker arguably never reached his expected heights.
Owen took the Premier League by storm after making his debut as a fleet-footed 17-year-old in 1996 for Liverpool. Over the next eight years, Owen scored 118 goals in 216 Premier League appearances for Liverpool. He won the Ballon d'Or in 2001 after leading Liverpool to UEFA Cup, FA Cup and EFL Cup victories.
Owen moved to Real Madrid in 2003 but found himself behind the likes of Ronaldo and Raul in the pecking order. He joined Newcastle after just one year at the Spanish capital and was able to find his form again.
Owen, however, suffered several muscle injuries during his time with Newcastle and could never replicate the form that he displayed during his time with Liverpool.
He then spent three years at Manchester United, during which time he was able to score just five goals in 31 appearances. He also spent a year at Stoke City before bringing an end to his career in 2013.