Stewart Downing and the Most Disappointing World Football Stars in 2012
Stewart Downing's inclusion in England's Euro 2012 team had many scratching their heads—largely because many felt he was one of the more disappointing players in the Premier League this season.
And after finishing the season without a goal or assist next to his name, they'd have a fair point.
Let's not be unfair to Downing here—there were several other disappointing players in world football in 2012 and many that failed to live up to the expectations we all had.
Here's the list over the most disappointing players that either flopped, fell, or never quite off the ground at all.
Adel Taarabt (Queens Park Rangers)
After starring in the Championship for Queens Park Rangers, Adel Taarabt was nothing but a disappointment in the Premier League this season.
The former Championship Player of the Year and captain of the Rangers' side that won the nPower Championship, Taarabt was expected to big things in the Premier League and lead QPR's attack throughout the year.
However, Taarabt finished the season with just two goals and three assists next to his name despite leading the team in shots taken per game. He was dispossessed more than any other Rangers player and finished top three in turnovers for the season.
Throw in to the mix his early departure against Fulham, which saw him storm out of the ground and catch a bus home before the match had finished, Taarabt was without doubt one of the biggest disappointments of the season.
Edin Dzeko (Manchester City)
Despite scoring the equalizer in Manchester City's thrilling 3-2 victory over Queens Park Rangers, Edin Dzeko has been largely disappointing in 2012.
With the dominance or Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez, Dzeko has not been able to force his way in to the starting lineup since City's 3-3 draw with Sunderland.
His national coach is urging him to leave the Etihad—stating that he simply won't get a start at Manchester City in the near future.
Yet maybe the problem isn't that Manchester City has an abundance of riches, but rather that even when given game time, Dzeko hasn't done anything to inspire confidence and hasn't proved anything close to his £27million transfer price.
Per Mertesacker (Arsenal)
Once regarded as one of the toughest defenders in the Bundesliga, Per Mertesacker's transfer to Arsenal was tauted as a brilliant move by Arsene Wenger to sure up the Gunners back line with some defensive stability.
However in 2012, Mertesacker didn't show anything close to the defensive stability that many expected.
The 27-year-old made 21 appearances for the Gunners this season and averaged just 0.8 tackles per game—ranking him a disappointing 19th across the club. His average match rating was one of the lowest in the Premier League and simply didn't come close to meeting expectations in 2012.
Stewart Downing (Liverpool)
We've already briefly touched on it, but Stewart Downing's incredible year of no goals and no assists surely makes him on the top candidates for most disappointing footballer of the year. Let's try and find the positives from Downing's otherwise unspectacular season for the Reds.
Downing finished in Liverpool's top three for shots per game, key passes per game and dribbles per game as well as in the bottom three for turnovers and times dispossessed per game.
However, that unfortunately meant that Downing finished with more key passes and more shots without getting a goal or assist than any other player in the Premier League.
Which surely won't sit well with his huge price tag.
The Entire Genoa Team
There were so many players that could have found their way on to this list, but I feel it's appropriate to round out the most disappointing world football stars with the entire Genoa football team.
Why? Did they get relegated from Serie A? Did they get defeated in spectacular fashion?
The answer to both those questions are no.
Genoa make this list because of a spectacular instance that occurred when the home side were trailing 4-0 to fellow battlers Siena. The fans—clearly fed up by poor performances from a star-studded lineup—decided to storm the field and demand players hand over their shirts.
Why? Because they weren't worthy to be playing for Genoa. They were that disappointing that they didn't even deserve to finish the match.
The match would continue, with Genoa winning the second half to walk away with a 4-1 loss.
The goal they scored? An own goal from Siena defender Cristiano Del Grosso.
At least they got to keep their shirts.
Who do you think was the most disappointing player in 2012?
Comment here or hit me up on Twitter: Follow @dantalintyre