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Premier League All Time Worst Injury Plagued XI

Paul ReeceContributor IIDecember 20, 2010

Premier League All Time Worst Injury Plagued XI

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    Nicky Barmby in action for Hull CityJulian Finney/Getty Images

    The Premier League is the biggest stage in the world to show case your talents but for some players life is cruel and their careers have been dashed through no fault of their own.

    Whilst some players have thrown away their careers through arrogance, lack of effort or determination - some have seen their careers blighted with injuries.

    A handfull have seen themselves drop from international stardom to the fringes of the football League, others have thrown in the towel and now find themselves wondering where the careers have gone.

    Some have been forced to call it quits whilst some are still battling their injuries.

    The average career can last into over 15 years but for many of the players in this list that is just a dream - as Xmas take a second to think of what might have been! Enjoy

Goalkeeper: Matt Murray

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    In action for WolvesChristopher Lee/Getty Images

    A former England under-21, Matt Murray spent his entire career with Wolverhampton Wanderers making 87 appearances between 1997-2010.

    Establishing himself in the side during the club's 2002-03 season, Murray was awarded the man of the match award in the play-off victory over Sheffield United after a string of stunning saves helped his side secure promotion to the Premier League.

    Five England under 21 caps followed but the Solihull born shot stopper missed the majority of the club's single season in the Premier League and made just seven appearances in the next three seasons.

    Finally returning to fitness in 2006-07 Murray was named in the Championship team of the year following a string of impressive performances through the season.

    However despite winning player of the year and fans player of the year the season ended on a sour note as he was injured once again - days before the club's vital play off semi final with rivals West Bromich Albion.

    The goalkeeper then struggled to get back to full match fitness with loan spells at Hereford failing to help  Murray gave in on the 26th August 2010 at the age of the 29.

    Current Wolves boss Mick McCarthy told the club's official website: "It's a sad day when anyone has to retire, even more so when it's a 29-year-old goalkeeper that in my opinion would have been one of the England regulars had he been fit."

CB: Martin Laursen

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    Martin LaursenJamie McDonald/Getty Images

    A former Aston Villa captain, Martin Laursen arrived at Villa Park for £3million from Italian giants AC Milan in May 2004.

    However the defender struggled during his first two seasons with a string of injuries slowing his progress in the second city.

    The Danish defender recovered in 2006 and under the guidance of the boss Martin O'Neil began to shine in the Premier League as he was given the freedom to train as he felt suitable to avoid further injuries.

    Suited to the Premier League's powerful nature, Laursen featured in all the club's games during the 2007-08 season only missing League Cup games.

    Struggling with injuries throughout the 2008-09 season, Laursen confirmed his retirement in May 2009 rather then seek further treatment.

     

CB: Jonathan Woodgate

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    'Woody' in action for SpursJamie McDonald/Getty Images

    In my opinion Jonathan Woodgate is the best defender I have seen appear for Newcastle United in the Premier League.

    Arriving from Leeds for £9million in 2003 'Woody' became a fan favorite during his brief spell on Tyneside despite making only 28 appearances during an 18 month spell.

    Powerful, quick, good in the air - Woodgate possesed all the skills needed to be a future England regular and despite his inury problems he left United in August 2004 for Real Madrid £13.4 million.

    The move shocked many, and proved to be one of the few moments of good business from Newcastle as Woodgate managed only 9 appearaces for the Galactico's.

    Finally establishing himself in the side in February 2006, Woodgate was even described as the sides 'true leader' before injuries struck again.

    In 2007 he was voted the worst signing of the 21st century in La Liga recieving 37% of the votes.

    Spurning a return to St James, Woodgate joined boyhood club Middlesborough in August 2006 making 30 appearances - earning him a £7million move in the summer of 2007.

    Rejecting the chance to join United again, Woodgate moved to Spurs in 2008 scoring in the League Cup final victory over Chelsea and winning man of the match.

    His injuries have struck again however and Harry Redknapp has hinted the defender could exit following the 25 man rule and his injury problems. 

    I have no doubt if Woodgate remained fit he would have became an England regular.

CB: Ledley King

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    Ledley kingPhil Cole/Getty Images

    Breaking into the side in 2001 King replaced the outward bound Sol Campbell in the Heart of the Spurs defence.

    A regular up to 2004, King was selected by Sven Goran Erikson for England's Euro 2004 side excelling despite England crashing out in the quater finals against Portugal on penalties.

    King continued to star for spurs but has seen his career blighted by injuries in recent seasons to the point of being forced to miss three games for every one game he plays.

    Speaking on his recent injuries, current boss Harry Redknapp said:

    "There's no cure. There's no cartilage, nothing to operate on. It's just bone on bone. So it's just a question of managing it. It swells up after games and it normally takes seven days to recover but having played on Monday night he's had less time than usual. He rarely trains, he mostly just goes to the gym to keep himself ticking over. But not running or anything like that. But even if he only plays 20 games a season, he's worth having because he's so good we have a much better chance of winning."

    The defender was selected by Fabio Capello for 2010 World Cup in South Africa despite his injuries and started the side's first math with USA but was forced off at half time with yet another injury - ruling him out for the rest of the tournament.

     

RM:: Darren Anderton

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    'Sick Note' AndertonPete Norton/Getty Images

    No injury plagued list would be complete with 'sick note' himself Darren Anderton.

    The third Spurs player to make the list a theme seems to be appearing - however Anderton still managed to make over 300 Spurs appearances and 30 England Caps.

    Despite missing the majority of the 1995-96 season he still played a key role in England's run to the Semi-finals of Euro 1996 and earned a place in the 1998 World Cup side despite struggling with injuries throughout the previous season.

    The Spurs midfielder struggled with further injuries which ruled him out of Euro 2000 but he continued to provide solid performances when fit.

    His injury record shown by the fact his final five England appearances were all under different managers - Glenn Hoddle, Howard Wilkenson, Kevin Keegan, Peter Taylor and Sven Goran Erikson.

    His injuries continued to strike costing him a place in the 2002 World Cup side as he spurned moves to Leeds United under Terry Venables.

    Anderton finally left Spurs in 2004 joining Birmingham City and making 20 appearances during the 2004-05 season before linking up with former England and Spurs boss Glenn Hoddle at Wolves.

    Sick Note, ended his career with Bournmouth making over 60 appearances in his final two years before retiring in 2008.

CM: Kieron Dyer

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    Kieron Dyer in action for the HammersLaurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    Starting his career with Ipswich Town, Kieron Dyer moved to Newcastle United for £6 million in July 1999.

    Scoring his first goal for the club in Ruud Guillts final game - the famous monsoon derby defeat to Sunderland.

    His lightning pace and eye for goal made him a popular player - when fit, but off field problems and on field fights with team mate Lee Bowyer saw his popularity deminish on Tyneside.

    Selected for the World Cup 2002 and Euro 2004 squads Dyer lack of respect towards United boss Bobby Robson also attracted criticism from United fans.

    His injury record saw him restricted to appearances as each season passed and the club granted him permission to speak to West Ham in August 2007 after the clubs agreed a fee of £6million.

    The midfielder has struggled to in his three seasons however with just 27 appearances in three years after breaking his leg in two places against Bristol Rovers in the League cup days after signing.

    In August 2010, Hammers chairmen David Sullivan, who has been cutting the clubs bills since his arrival suggested Dyer should perhaps follow Dean Ashton and retire after sitting on a staggering £83 000 a week wage despite not completing 90 minutes for the club.

CM: Owen Hargreaves

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    The lesser spotted Own HargreavesPhil Cole/Getty Images

    Canadian born Hargreaves came to prominence during his spell with German side Bayern Munich when he became only the second Englishman to lift the Champions League with a foreign side - following on from Steven McManamen at Real Madrid.

    His form in Germany earned him a place in the 2002 World Cup squad in Japan and South Korea where he established himself as an England regular.

    Starring at the 2006 World Cup, his performances persuaded Manchester United to spent £17 million to sign him in 2007 however the midfielder has struggled with Tendinitis since his move which saw him miss over 100 games during a 20 month absence between 2008 and May 2010.

    The midfielder returned for the club's final game of the 2009-10 season to face Sunderland but after missing the 2010 World Cup he was back on the treatment table ahead of the 2010-11 season.

    Returning to the Manchester United XI to face Wolves in November, Hargreaves return was short lived as he was quickly sidelines with yet another injury.

    I can only wonder what impact Hargreaves may have made to England's failed Euro 2008 qualifiers and doomed World Cup finals 2010.

     

CM: Jamie Redknapp

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    The fourth Spurs player to be included on the list - The son of Spurs boss Harry Redknapp and cousin of Frank Lampard, Redknapp's career has been plagued with injury.

    Beginning his career with Spurs he rejected the chance to become a professional with the side instead joining his rather at Bournemouth where he made 13 appearances before joining Liverpool.

    Moving to Liverpool in 1991 at the age of 17 at a cost of £350 000 making him one of the expensive teenagers in the game at that time.

    Establishing himself in the Liverpool side under Roy Evans alongside fellow youngsters Steve McManamen and Robbie Fowler.

    Constant knee injuries saw the midfielder go under the knife with surgery with reknowned knee specialist Dr. Richard Steadman which saw him miss Liverpool's treble winning season.

    Injuries restricted his involved at Anfiel before leaving the club in 2002 for Tottenham on a free transfer where he made almost 50 appearances in two and a half years before moving to Southampton to play under his dad for a second time,

    Struggling to keep his fitness during his doomed 6 months as the club slipped out of the Premier League for the first time in 27 years - Redknapp retired aged 32 with just three major trophies won due to his injuries.

LM: Nicky Barmby

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    Barmby in action for TigersShaun Botterill/Getty Images

    A theme of ex Liverpool and Spurs players appear to be occuring on the list - I promise this is unintentional.

    Barmby is one of football's journeymen with spells at Spurs, Middlesborough Everton, Liverpool, Leeds and Hull City.

    His form at Everton earned him a move to Merseyside rivals Liverpool where he lifted a treble of the FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup.

    However injuries affected his performances at Anfield however and he moved to Leeds United linking up with Terry Venables however further injuries restricted his action and he dropped down to League One hometown club Hull City.

    Expecting to wind his career down in the lower leagues - Barmby made a shock Premier League return in 2008 when Phil Brown inspired Hull City to promotion to the Premier League.

    Still playing as the club struggle in the championship his injuries seem behind him as his career is almost over - another player who may look back and wonder what if?

ST: Dean Ashton

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    Hammers no.9Gary M. Prior/Getty Images

    Arriving at Upton Park in 2006 for £6 million Dean Ashton was considered a future England no.9 and he played a key role in inspiring the club to the FA Cup Final.

    Picking up 'that injury' at just 23, the former Crewe and Norwich City forward broke his Ankle on international duty with England in 2006 which saw him miss the entire 2006-07 season.

    Returning in the 2007-08 the powerful forward netted 11 goals in for the hammers earning him a new 5 year contract with the Premier League side.

    The striker was back on the sickness table and missed the entire 2009-10 season and he was forced to retire at the age of 26 following his failure to recover from his ankle injury with England.

    A powerful forward and solid finisher Ashton had all the attributes of being the next Alan Shearer for England but injuries got the better of him.

ST: Michael Bridges

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    Bridges in action for LeedsAlex Livesey/Getty Images

    A surprise choice perhaps Michael Bridges was one of the brightest young players in the Premier League during his spell with Sunderland.

    His goals failed to help keep the club in the Premier League but did earn him a £5 million move to big spending Leeds United in 1999.

    The young English forward bagged 19 goals in his debut season with Leeds which included a hat trick against Southampton as he helped the club finish third in the Premier League and qualify for the Champions League.

    However the striker picked up a serious injury against Beskitas in the Champions League which saw him plagued with injuries over the next four years as he made just four appearances scoring no goals.

    January 2004 saw him move to boy hood club Newcastle United on loan but the striker managed only 6 appearances scoring no goals.

    Spells with Bolton and a return to Sunderland followed before a move to League Two (the bottom tier of English football) saw Bridges recover his best form as he netted 15 times for Carlise as he helped the club gain promotion earning himself a £350 000 move to Hull City.

    Further injuries and lack of first team opportunties saw him move to Sydney FC on loan before returning to Carlise.

    The striker then returned to Australia with Newcastle Jets where he is currently club captain - That injury against Besiktas arguably changing the course of his career from international to journeyman in moments.

So That Is It!

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    So that is the list all complete and over and done with.

    There are of course as always many people who may agree or disagree with the list.

    Every club has their own list of injury plagued stars - Newcastle (my club) more then most, the likes of Carl Cort and Marcelino spring to mind.

    Would be happy to hear any feed back on the list - good or bad all is welcome :)

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