England XI: Wasted Talents
In recent years English football has produced some fantastic talents, some have gone on to forge great careers for themselves while others have fallen by the wasteside.
Among those talents who never were able to live up to their potential is a whole starting XI of england internationals who through injury were never able to get the best out of their careers.
Position : Goalkeeper
Once seen as England's future number one. Kirkland began his career with Coventry before making his big move to Liverpool in 2001. An ankle injury was followed by more injury problems that made it impossible for Kirkland to stake his claim as first choice. He soon found himself playing for clubs such as West Brom and more recently Wigan, where his injury problems continued. He recently signed for Doncaster on loan before returning to Wigan after just one game because of a back problem.
His manager at Tottenham, Harry Redknapp claimed he was Englands best centre back since Bobby Moore. But unfortunately for King he has always been plagued by chronic knee problems, which prevent him for being able to train or play more than once a week. Redknapp described the defender as 'an absolute freak' for being able to perform so well despite not training. With 21 England caps it is a great achievement he has managed so many, but without his injury nightmare who knows how many it would have been.
Highly thought of when he first established himself at Leeds, Woodgate was claimed as the clubs 'Jewel in the crown'. Fans revolted after he was sold to Newcastle and began making himself a regular in the England national side. His form landed himself a huge transfer to Real Madrid for £13.4million. After a disaster debut injuries struck and he was sold to Middlesbrough after just 9 appearances in 3 years. He had a injury hit spell at Spurs before joining Stoke in the summer.
Perhaps not such a well known name to most readers. Sam Hutchinson was a highly rated right back at Chelsea and a regular for England at youth level. His career came to an end at just 21, having only made 3 Premier League appearances for Chelsea. A knee injury had caused him to hang up his boots in 2010 and he is now pursuing a coaching career.
Canadian born defensive midfielder, Hargreaves was England's star performer at the 2006 World Cup. After his form at Bayern Munich got him into the squad, he made the move to Manchester United in 2007. He was an integral part of the side in his first season, with United winning the title. A patellar tendinitis injury restricted him to just 27 appearances in four years at Old Trafford. He was released in the summer and joined Manchester rivals Man City in a bid to restart his career.
Became known at Tottenham as 'sicknote'. A string of injuries stopped him from becoming the International star he was tipped to be, but he still managed to get 30 caps for England. He became a cult figure at Spurs despite his injury problems, before leaving to join Birmingham in 2004. He spent a few years at Wolves and Bournemouth before retiring in 2008.
The child prodigy who received national media attention as a schoolboy. Joe Cole progressed through the ranks at West Ham and became a national sensation due to his flair and attack minded style of play. After being relegated in 2003 with West Ham he joined Chelsea and became known as more of an industrial winger under Jose Mourinho. Injuries blighted his career at Chelsea and despite being a vital player for the club at the start he was soon finding himself on the bench. He joined Liverpool in 2010, but another injury hit spell saw him sign for Lille on a year long loan in the summer, in a desperate to attempt the kick start his career.
Dyer began his career with his local club Ipswich before linking up with Ipswich legend Sir Bobby Robson at Newcastle in 1999. He was a regular in the national side primarily as an impact sub. Injuries at Newcastle saw him forced out of the side despite being a popular figure amongst the fans. He joined West Ham in 2007 but suffered a broken leg on only his third appearance for the club. Scattered appearances over the next four years meant he was known as the worst signing in the clubs history and was released in 2011. He joined QPR and on his first appearance suffered yet another injury setback and he has yet to return to the side.
Considered a major goalscoring talent at his childhood club Leeds. Smith was a hard working no nonsense forward who endeared himself to fans. He joined Manchester United in 2004 after Leeds were relegated but suffered a horrific leg break against Liverpool. This would be the turning point in his career and he never fully recovered. Smith signed for Newcastle in 2007 and despite being converted into a holding midfielder he has never been able to strike the same form he had before his injury. In four years at Newcastle he has still yet to find the back of the net.
A national hero after his goal at the 1998 World Cup against Argentina. It is hard to refer to Michael Owen's career as a waste when he achieved so much, but the fact is he could have done so much more. He scored 118 league goals for Liverpool and 40 goals for England in 89 games. He joined Real Madrid in 2004, but after an injury hit season returned to England with Newcastle. A damaged anterior cruciate ligament injury kept him out for nearly a year. After making a comeback he suffered yet another knee injury at the 2006 World Cup. He failed to re find his form at Newcastle before joining Manchester United in 2009 where he was been something of a bit part player ever since.
Highly regarded as England's most naturally gifted centre forward since Alan Shearer. Having began at Crewe he was soon snapped up by Norwich and went on to score 17 goals for the club in a year. Although the club were relegated, Ashton remained in the Premier League by signing for West Ham United. He played and scored for West Ham in the FA cup final against Liverpool before earning his first call up to the National side. He suffered a horrific ankle break in training due to a late challenge for Shaun Wright-Phillips. Despite making a comeback a year later and even making his long awaited England debut, he would never recover from his injury and retired in 2009 aged just 26.
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