Where injuries got the better of English talent


Daniel Sturridge and players plagued by injuries

When Daniel Sturridge was signed by West Brom in January, a majority of pundits hailing he quality signing. Stating he was a quality addition “as long as he can stay fit”. He came plagued with injuries.

Three minutes into the game against league champions Chelsea, Sturridge was substituted, looking clearly distraught at another setback.

Here’s a look at three English players whose careers were curtailed by the injury curse.

Kieron Dyer

Newcastle fans will struggle to find a player more frustrating than Kieron Dyer.

Dyer came through the Ipswich youth system, his performances at Portman Road, soon capturing the imagination of top sides.

Ruud Gullit signed Dyer for Newcastle back in 1999, with many hailing it Gullit’s best signing. Dyer played his best football under the late Sir Bobby Robson. He was thus seen as a key player in a fresh, youthful attacking outfit. Dyer helped Newcastle to qualify for Champions League and his ability to run with the ball making him a key asset.

England frustration/West Ham flop

Dyer was plagued with varying injuries from shin splints to knee problems. Sven-Goran Eriksson, England manager at the time, saw Dyer as his solution to the famous left-wing problem in the leading up to World Cup 2002.

However, injury again saw him again unfit, limiting him to substitute appearances during football’s biggest competition.

Dyer was also courting off-field controversy, refusing to play on the wing for the legendary Sir Bobby. Famously fighting on the pitch with teammate Lee Bowyer.

After Newcastle, he had a disastrous spell at West Ham, breaking his leg within a month of joining. He was therefore called a ‘financial parasite’ by the owners. High wages and few apperances blamed for the tag. He later retired, he admitting it was a relief to be free of injuries affecting him.

Owen Hargreaves

Hargreaves has won 2 Champions Leagues titles in Germany and England. Not commonly known.

A Canadian citizen with an English father, it was a breath of fresh air when Hargreaves played a part in Bayern’s 2001 Champions League win. Thus making him one of only two English players to have won the Champions League with non-English clubs.

A dream move to Manchester United followed in 2007. The Red Devils saw him as the perfect enforcer to enable Paul Scholes to dictate the game.  Hargreaves was reaching his peak when he played a key role in Manchester United’s Champions League success in 2008.

Patellar tendonitis/England solution

Injuries soon followed that year and a recurrent patellar tendinitis.

Therefore, he rarely played. In truth, injury saw the ending of his career at just 27. With England, he won 42 caps and was named ‘English Player of the Tournament’ during World Cup 2006. His career peaking at this point.

Many feel Hargreaves would have been the perfect foil, enabling Lampard and Gerrard to attack. Without Hargreaves, England managers were attempting  and failing. Trying to create a team in which Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and David Beckham all could fit.

Johnathan Woodgate

Johnathan Woodgate’s talents also warranted a greater return than 8 England caps. Woodgate broke through at Leeds, looking strong and comfortable on the ball.

Widely regarded as the best Leeds youngster to come through the system, earning him critical acclaim for his performances at Elland Road.

Injuries soon began to follow. Then, due to Leeds’s financial mismanagement, Woodgate found himself travelling to Newcastle.

At Newcastle, Woodgate was fantastic. When playing, adopting a leading role. However, it was too infrequent. Fitness was failing him once more, spending more time recovering than playing.

Madrid nightmare

Madrid came calling in a shock transfer in August 2004, but for Woodgate, fitness problems continued. Injuries delaying his debut for 13 months after signing.

His first outing for Madrid is one of footballing legend for the wrong reasons. Both scoring an own goal, and given a red card.

He did manage to break back into Real Madrid side, but again poor fitness prevented him sustaining a first team spot. The Spanish giants lost patience, therefore returning him to home club Middlesborough.

A spell at Spurs saw his career highlight. Scoring the winning goal in the League Cup Final in 2008.

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