20 Most Injury-Prone Players in the Premier League

Karl Matchett@@karlmatchettFeatured ColumnistMarch 7, 2014

20 Most Injury-Prone Players in the Premier League

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    England's international midweek friendly against Denmark resulted in the unfortunate injury of Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere, who came off worse in a tackle with Liverpool's Daniel Agger.

    Both players involved have suffered heavily with injury problems over the past few years, with the Gunners' midfielder now facing a race to prove his form and fitness ahead of the 2014 World Cup.

    They're far from the only players in England's top flight who suffer from enforced absences with annoying regularity. Here's our collection of 20, headed by the combative duo themselves.

Jack Wilshere

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    Wilshere is a pivotal part of the team at both club and country level, but both have had to operate without him far too often.

    Despite breaking through in the 2009-10 season, Wilshere has reached the 30-game barrier just once in his career so far and amassed only 15 caps—arguably he should be at least 10 further along in his international career by this point.

    Ankle injuries have been his most frequent issue, but this latest foot fracture is another setback for Wilshere.

Daniel Agger

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    Liverpool defender Daniel Agger has had more than his own share of problems and there would have been a few Reds fans wondering if he would come off worse when he went into the tackle with Wilshere.

    In his eight years on Merseyside, he has averaged less than 29 matches a season for Liverpool—long-term injuries essentially meant he missed almost all the 2007-08 season and plenty of long stretches since.

    An improved 2012-13 season on the injury front saw him play more than 30 games in a league campaign for the first time, but this year he has missed out again with a calf injury.

    Rib, knee, back and foot injuries are all counted amongst his previous ailments.

Abou Diaby

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    There may not be a more injury-prone midfielder in the Premier League than Arsenal's enforcer Abou Diaby.

    Now 27 years old, he has been at the club eight years and has amassed only just over 120 league appearances.

    The past year has seen him absent with a cruciate ligament injury after he missed around four months with calf and thigh injuries in 2011-12 and missed the Champions League final in 2006 with a fractured ankle, which needed multiple operations to fix.

    All in all, he has been utterly unavailable for Arsene Wenger to plan around having.

Nemanja Vidic

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    Nemanja Vidic will depart Manchester United this season after nine years at the club and will be largely remembered as one of their best defenders of the Premier League age—but he's also been missing with injury with disappointing regularity.

    Having put two impressive seasons together in 2007-08 and 2008-09, Vidic has only managed one single campaign since then in which he has featured in at least 30 league games, so repetitive have been his strains, knocks and problems.

    In fact, he has managed only 43 league appearances in the last three campaigns combined. A long-term cruciate injury was the worst, but other knee and calf injuries have also played their part.

Stuart Holden

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    Stuart Holden is technically no longer a Premier League player, having been relegated to the Bolton Wanderers, but his quality is such that he would undoubtedly be back in the top flight...if not for a succession of terrible knee injuries.

    In 2010-11, he was caught late in a tackle by Manchester United defender Jonny Evans, which fractured his leg and required a six-month recovery period. Upon returning to the side, he managed only one appearance before further surgery was needed; in total, he spent 16 months sidelined.

    As if that wasn't enough, a cruciate ligament rupture on international duty kept him out for most of a year before he suffered a recurrence of it when making his comeback with his club.

    Now 28 years old, he has managed just six league games in the last three seasons.

Kieran Gibbs

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    For all his ability and promise, Arsenal man and left-back Kieran Gibbs can never quite manage to nail down a long-term place on the team—mainly because of injuries.

    The English international is on course for his best ever season in terms of league appearances, needing just 28 to manage it.

    Thigh problems, calf injuries, ankle knocks, broken foot...you name it, Gibbs has probably had it.

Micah Richards

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    Manchester City right-back Micah Richards was previously thought to be England's next right-back with his 13 caps mainly amassed from 2006 to 2010, but he has fallen out of favour at international and club level since then.

    Injury has severely hampered his progress. A knee operation sidelined him for more than five months in late 2012 and a succession of hamstring injuries more recently kept him out.

    Richards has played just twice this season for City in the league, with another seven games last term.

Andy Carroll

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    West Ham United striker Andy Carroll has suffered significantly with injuries over the past few years; already injured when he moved to Liverpool in 2011, he then suffered knee and hamstring problems and later a significant heel issue.

    He transferred permanently to West Ham in the summer, again already injured, and took until January to recover from that damaged foot problem.

    Carroll also fractured his finger at the weekend, though that injury won't leave him sidelined for once.

Jack Rodwell

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    Manchester City's Jack Rodwell must run Abou Diaby close for the "most often injured" player award in the league.

    The midfielder suffered Achilles tendon problems earlier in his career, but his big issue at The Etihad Stadium has been his hamstrings.

    He has had at least five separate absences as a result of his hamstring muscles and has managed just 14 league appearances so far at City.

Thomas Vermaelen

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    Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen hasn't been in the side this season due to not being first choice, but while the captain was playing, he was still missing games anyway as a result of injury.

    The Belgian missed most of the 2010-11 season with a major Achilles tendon problem, which later required surgery, while his ankle and a stress fracture also sidelined him afterward.

    Vermaelen also missed nearly two months with a knee injury this season, contributing to his meagre total of seven league appearances.

Martin Kelly

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    Liverpool defender Martin Kelly has endured a stop-start career even since his academy days when he missed around two years because of a back problem.

    Since breaking into the first-team scene, he has suffered a series of ankle, hamstring and Achilles problems that have ruled him out for months at a time, particularly his hamstring issues. He also then suffered a cruciate ligament injury in September 2012, which he has found very difficult to recover from.

    Now, almost 18 months on from that, he has still yet to rediscover the power, pace and all-round mobility that he had prior to that injury.

Kun Aguero

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    If Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero was available for all 38 game of the season, City would probably win the league. They may well do so anyway, but it would go a lot easier for them if he were consistently fit.

    As it is, a line of ankle, hamstring and calf issues have made him unavailable for four or six weeks at a time, meaning that since the start of 2013 he has only managed to play a run of 10 consecutive league games on one occasion.

    He has played only two of his team's last 10 league games, and they will want Kun fit and firing for the run-in.

Aaron Ramsey

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    Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey is well-known for one particular lengthy injury lay-off, but the midfielder has suffered other problems along the way too.

    An entire year out with a broken leg was a costly spell on the side for his career, which has taken off again in a big way over the last 12 months, but Ramsey also had groin and ankle problems beforehand.

    A thigh strain has left him out injured over the past three months, though he is closing in on a recovery now.

Sylvain Marveaux

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    Newcastle United signed Sylvain Marveaux in the summer of 2011. Honestly.

    In almost three years, the Frenchman's contribution to the Magpies consists of 13 league starts and less than 1,500 minutes of league football, all told.

    To put that in perspective, that's the same game time as the previous slide's Aaron Ramsey has played this season in the league alone—despite that three month layoff.

    Hernia, thigh and other muscle injuries have ruined Marveaux's time at the club so far.

Younes Kaboul

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    Tottenham Hotspur's centre-back Younes Kaboul has, from time to time, threatened to establish himself as the club's first-choice defender, but injury has ultimately stoppered that ambition each time.

    Since the 2010-11 season alone, he has suffered two knee injuries with one operation, a hamstring tear, another cruciate injury, a hip problem and a long-term calf issue.

    Kaboul has managed just six league appearances over the last two seasons, and only once in seven seasons in England has he managed to breach the 30 games mark.

Darron Gibson

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    Everton's Darron Gibson is currently out of action with a long-term cruciate knee ligament injury that is likely to put him out for the rest of the season.

    It's his first significant extended period out, but he has suffered a number of problems in the past, including a minor knee injury and repetitive problems with his thigh muscles.

    His record league appearances in a season standing at just 23 says as much about his niggling injury record as it does about his relatively late start to establish himself as a regular player.

Robin Van Persie

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    Up until the start of the 2011-12 season, Robin van Persie was one of the most frequently injured attackers in the Premier League, seemingly suffering every time he looked like making a long run in the side.

    He then delivered two years of injury-free excellence—but this year has been a step back in that regard. He suffered a groin injury near the start of this season, then was out with a hamstring problem for around two months.

    Previously at Arsenal, van Persie had suffered with groin, abductor, ankle and knee problems.

Stevan Jovetic

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    Manchester City fans will have been disappointed not to see much of Stevan Jovetic this season, but a look at his record with Fiorentina will reveal this to be a case of same old story—although not to quite the same extent.

    The Montenegrin forward only managed 30 league games in a season once in Serie A and has featured in just seven league games for City this season after moving for more than £20 million in the summer.

    Hamstring and calf injuries have been his main problems this term, while he suffered a cruciate ligament rupture in 2010 and various three- and four-week absences during 2012 and 2013.

Hatem Ben Arfa

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    Newcastle United's Hatem Ben Arfa is a key player for his club, but nagging muscular injuries have hampered his ability to make a consistent, lasting impression.

    Hamstring injuries disrupted his 2012-13 season, leaving him to play in only half of his team's matches, while he suffered a broken leg soon after initially joining the Magpies on loan.

    He hasn't hit the 30 league games mark since 2009 and has never managed it at all with his present club.

Rio Ferdinand

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    Rio Ferdinand has been one of the Premier League's best defenders over the years, but injuries have really taken their toll on the Manchester United centre-back in the last few, perhaps with age and the intense nature of his trophy-laden career catching up with him.

    He missed half of 2008-09 with persistent small injuries, including groin injuries and multiple problems with his back, before missing three months of the next campaign due to his hip and, again, his back. That year he managed just 13 league appearances for United.

    Knee and calf issues also hampered him the season after, meaning Ferdinand totalled just 56 league games in three years from 2008 to 2011, while this season has also seen him absent for long stretches, playing just one league game from the beginning of October until the start of February.