Watching from the Sidelines: The EPLs most Injury Prone Players of the Noughties

Does anyone remember Darren Anderton? A skilled and versatile midfielder, Anderton made his name for Portsmouth before earning a relatively big-money move to Tottenham Hotspur. Here he earned the unfortunate nickname of ‘Sick Note’, sprinkling long absences from the side with performances of brilliance. Strangely, Anderton always seemed to regain fitness in time for a major international tournament, and he managed to reserve some of his finest performances for the Three Lions of England.

Anderton is not alone as a frequent visitor to the treatment room; however, as Premier League history is littered with instances of talented players who struggled to achieve their potential due to recurring injury. These include…

Thomas Vermaelen 

The former Arsenal captain is a colossus of a defender, and the type of centre-half that the Gunners desperately needed to sustain a title charge in recent years. Despite his presence, popularity and undoubted skill as a defender, however, Vermaelen was undermined by a series of injuries that would often sideline him for three or four months at a time. His first season after joining treble-winning Barcelona represented his career in microcosm, as he made just a single appearance at the tail-end of the season and failed to make any sort of mark in the team.

Jonathan Woodgate 

There was an argument to include Jack Wilshere on this list, but in comparison with former Leeds and Real Madrid defender Jonathan Woodgate the Arsenal midfielder is the very embodiment of physical fitness. He would often struggle to complete single games throughout his career, as a combination of niggling injuries and unfortunate impact injuries constantly undermined his development. It is a testament to his outstanding natural ability that he earned a move to Real Madrid despite these issues, although his debut was hardly marked in style with an own goal and handed an early bath from the referee.

Abou Diaby 

It is ironic that while Arsenal have spent years searching for a dominant midfielder in the mould of Patrick Viera, they have a player on their books who has the ability and physique to assume this mantle. This man’s name is Abou Diaby, and it is only an incredible catalogue of injuries that have prevented him from achieving anywhere near his immense potential. Having recently being released by the club after nine tragic and tortured years, it says a great deal about his ability that the club persisted with him for so long. 

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