Backup Players Who Should Be Starting at Other Clubs
Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Across the Premier League are a number of benches that must be creaking under the weight of the talent that sits on them every weekend.
Holding up legions of multimillion-pound footballers, it's a wonder they don't collapse.
Moneyed clubs at the top of the table seem to have more than their fair share of these players. Often spotted stretching and jogging up and down touchlines around the country, they rarely make it out onto the pitch.
Perhaps these footballers have chased a big money move and ended up at the bottom of the pecking order, maybe they've fallen foul of a new manager or perhaps they are just surrounded by too many top-quality players.
Whatever the reason, some of these players are good, really good, and would stroll into the starting XI of any other team in the top-flight—even if they were blindfolded and playing with one arm tied behind their back.
Over the following slides, which are not ranked in any particular order, we look at 10 Premier League backup players who should be starting for other clubs.
Paul Thomas/Getty Images
The lure of an offer from the reigning Premier League champions must have proved irresistible for the young midfielder who had impressed for Everton, the club he'd played for since he was a boy.
Rodwell made 109 senior appearances in all competitions for the Toffees. Since making the move to the Etihad Stadium, he has amassed just 15 games.
Injuries have hampered his chances with the Citizens, and the acquisition of Fernandinho over the summer will make a first-team place even harder to come by.
If the 22-year-old had stayed at Goodison Park, he would have been guaranteed football week in, week out. Yet at City, Rodwell is a small fish in a very big pond.
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images
Jermain Defoe did not have a bad season in 2012/13, yet he looks set to be a bit-part player this term.
The forward scored 15 goals for Tottenham Hotspur during the last campaign and also found the back of the net three times in four World Cup qualifiers with England.
The summer arrival of Roberto Soldado looks like it will usher Defoe quietly towards a spot on the bench or even to the White Hart Lane exit door.
With a World Cup on the horizon, the 30-year-old will need playing time, which he could get at a number of other clubs.
Newcastle would benefit from a striker like Defoe, as would the likes of Crystal Palace, Hull City and West Ham. In any of these teams, Defoe would play consistently.
In 2012, Defoe said he wanted to leave the club in search of regular first-team football, as reported by the Daily Mail.
This season, he could really benefit from a switch.
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Javier Hernandez or "Chicharito" would get a guaranteed starting berth at most clubs in Europe.
The 25-year-old is loved at Old Trafford, where he has scored 50 goals in 117 games in all competitions.
Last season, the Mexican started nine Premier League games for Manchester United, was subbed in 13 times and stayed on the bench on 13 occasions.
Chicharito is a class act. His movement and ability to find space is one of his best assets, he's a clinical finisher, can use both feet and is good in the air. He really has it all.
No wonder it's so hard to nail down a starting role.
Jessica Hromas/Getty Images
Due to a knee injury, Micah Richards was on the sidelines for a long time last season.
The defender, who has been at Manchester City since the age of 14, only made seven appearances last term. Now that Pablo Zabaleta has become the first-choice right-back, it's going to be tough for Richards to force his way back into the side.
It's hard to believe that a player of Richards' calibre can be a backup player, but then this is Manchester City. At any other club, he would be one of the first names on the team sheet.
In July, Richards rubbished rumours linking him with a move away from the Etihad, as reported by the Independent, but with World Cup 2014 fast approaching, he should look elsewhere.
Still just 25, he could be a starting player at many different clubs including Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea.
Stu Forster/Getty Images
Now 20, the central midfielder's last appearance for the Blues was in January 2012.
McEachran was given his most first-team opportunities when Carlo Ancelotti was at the helm of the club, the Italian fielding him on 17 occasions.
Under Andre Villas-Boas, McEachran played just five times and, with loan spells at Swansea and Middlesbrough, he didn't feature at all during Roberto Di Matteo or Rafa Benitez's stints as manager.
McEachran is still young, so he has time to develop into a first-team regular. However, it would be a shame to see years of his career wasted when he could be starting elsewhere for another team.
Likened to a young Andrea Pirlo, the boy is obviously special.
Clive Mason/Getty Images
Anderson's career at Manchester United has not gone according to plan.
When he first arrived at Old Trafford as a 19-year-old, he looked like an exciting talent. With confidence bordering on arrogance, Anderson would work tirelessly, harrying for every ball in midfield. His hunger was evident and he looked like a star for the future.
Since then the Brazilian has never reached his potential. Shockingly, he has only managed to finish a full 90 minute game on 18 occasions since joining the side in 2007.
Being played out of position and suffering with injuries have not helped his cause and his fitness levels have been questionable over the years.
As reported on Skysports.com, Anderson has tried to leave the club "many times" in search of regular football.
Last season Anderson started nine Premier League matches, was substituted in eight times and spent a further nine games on the bench. It appears unlikely that he will be anything more than a backup player if he stays at David Moyes' side.
At 25, there is still plenty of time for Anderson to make an impact at another club, and it would be interesting to see if he would find his feet if he took on a playmaker's role.
If he wants to revive his career, all the signs point towards the Old Trafford exit door.
Vladimir Rys/Getty Images
Although he has clocked up 135 appearances for the club, Heurelho Gomes has not started a game for Tottenham Hotspur since 2011.
Yet, at 32, he could still have years in the game.
He recently told Brazilian radio station Gazeta AM, via the Express: "I will only stay at Tottenham if I can play. If I can't show my work, I will seek an organised team with a good project, be it in Brazil or abroad."
Christof Koepsel/Getty Images
It's going to be hard for Victor Moses to force his way back into Chelsea's starting XI.
The Blues purchased Andre Schurrle over the summer and, with the return of Kevin de Bruyne, it's hard to imagine that Moses will be at the forefront of Jose Mourinho's plans.
Moses was signed by the Stamford Bridge outfit last summer, after impressing in the Premier League with Wigan Athletic.
The Nigerian came through the ranks at Crystal Palace, where he became one of the Eagles' most exciting young players.
Now that Palace are back in the Premier League, Moses would walk straight into their team. In fact, the 22-year-old would walk into just about any team.
Last season he started 13 times for Chelsea, was substituted in 11 times and stayed on the bench for four top-flight games. Moses acquitted himself well for Chelsea and even won the Europa league during his first season at the club.
So far, he hasn't even made the bench in Chelsea's first two games of the season. It looks like Moses is going to be a squad player with Schurrle in the side. Though a good backup option for Mourinho, he would be a great player elsewhere.
Victor Fraile/Getty Images
In the position of Gareth we have also [Jack] Rodwell, [Javi] Garcia, Fernandinho and Yaya Toure. I spoke with Gareth. He wants to stay here and he does not have any problems staying here to fight for his position like any other player in the squad.
If he wants to go because he has better options, it depends on what he wants to do.
If that wasn't a warning sign that he would be on the fringes of the team this season, Barry didn't even make the bench for City's first game of the 2013/14 season against Newcastle.
Rumours of a move to Everton have been reported this week by Jack de Menezes in the Independent, who says that Arsenal are also interested in the England international.
At 32, Barry could still have a few good years in the Premier League. He was a hero at Aston Villa, where he made 384 appearances, and he has clocked up almost 200 games for the Citizens since joining the side in 2009.
Capped more than 50 times for England, Barry should leave the Etihad Stadium to keep his aspirations of playing in the approaching World Cup alive.
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Shinji Kagawa could be the future of Manchester United's midfield.
However, the 24-year-old, who came to Old Trafford from Borussia Dortmund last year, has failed to cement a place in the side's starting XI.
Due partly to injury and being played out of position, Kagawa needs more chances to demonstrate what he's capable of.
His best role is as a No. 10 and, should Wayne Rooney depart from the club this summer, he could be a natural replacement to play in the hole behind Robin van Persie.
At Dortmund, he impressed—netting 29 goals in 71 appearances for the Bundesliga club.
Shinji Kagawa is one of the best players in the world and he now plays 20 minutes at Manchester United – on the left wing! My heart breaks. Really, I have tears in my eyes. Central midfield is Shinji's best role. He's an offensive midfielder with one of the best noses for goal I ever saw. But for most Japanese people it means more to play for Man United than Dortmund. We cried for 20 minutes, in each others' arms, when he left.
So far the Japan international has played 27 games in all competitions for United, scoring six goals and registering six assists. Kagawa could be the star player for many clubs across Europe, but maybe David Moyes will give him a chance to shine at Old Trafford.