Top Ten Overrated Footballers

The Premiership is full of world-class talent. Players like Nemanja Vidic, Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie makes our domestic league a really special arena to play football. However, there also those who really don’t cut the mustard. And yet still get a gig at the highest level. For some reason, someone, somewhere, must rate them, despite every man and his dog realising their grandmother could do a better job. Here are the Premiership’s Top Ten Over-rated players.

  1. Andy Carroll – A bold selection first up, and one I admit is based purely on his price tag from his move to Liverpool. I mean £35 million?! Come on, surely it wasn’t just me that thought Sky Sports News had made a giant blunder when they printed that. Was the full stop button broken on the computer, as surely they’d missed out the decimal point between 3 and 5. But no, on the back of just 80 appearances and 31 goals for Newcastle, a good proportion of which came in the Championship, Kenny Dalglish made him the most expensive British player ever. He’s hardly exploded onto the scene at Anfield either, as Carroll is able to down more jaegerbombs in a night than he’s made appearances in a Red shirt, whilst scoring just 3 goals, 2 against Manchester City and 1 against minnows Exeter City. In fairness, he’s only young and has already been struck by injuries, but Fabio Capello has already offered a warning against his lifestyle whilst the mutterings about his recent form are growing louder. It could well be Carroll turns out to be the expensive mistake in England since the Millennium Dome was built.
  1. John Arne Riise – He made 234 appearances for Liverpool under Gerard Houllier and Rafa Benitez, filling the left back spot for the best part of 7 years. So why then did no-one realise he wasn’t very good? To describe his defensive abilities as questionable would be rather kind, his 95th minute own goal in the Champions League semi-final against Chelsea had his former Liverpool mentor Phil Thompson going berserk, (look it up on YouTube) and this was just one of a number of high-profile errors. The only thing saving him from relegation to the reserves was his cannonball of a left foot, and once Liverpool found another of those, Fabio Aurelio, Riise was shipped out to Roma, where he spent a decidedly average 3 years as Roma went from European heavyweights to also-rans during his time at the club. This was enough to secure him back to England, to Fulham, who’s mid-table standard are probably more befitting to Riise’s ability.
  1. Michael Carrick – Carrick really is a special case, not many footballers have been clever enough to hoodwink Sir Alex Ferguson. Although Carrick has begun the new season amongst the United substitutes, he signed a new 3 year contract recently and has made 150 appearances for the club. Which is mystifying. Everyone talks about Carrick’s supposed passing ability, yet whenever I’ve watched him, the only passing ability he appears to possess is the one that goes straight to the opposition. It’s no wonder United’s midfield was so thoroughly outclassed by Barcelona, as whilst Xavi and Iniesta produced displays that were magnificent to watch, Carrick resembled a figure in the Terracotta Army, as he appeared to be glued to the Wembley pitch, in awe of the Spanish magicians. Not quite good enough for the Champions…
  1. Cameron Jerome – Jerome announced himself on the Premiership stage by scoring 7 goals in 33 appearances for Birmingham in the 07/08 season, their first year back in the top flight. Despite Birmingham’s relegation, this appeared a fairly decent return for a man who had never featured in England’s highest league. However, just 23 goals followed in the next three seasons, and a man who was once earmarked as a future England international became a scapegoat for Birmingham’s horror show last season. Fans couldn’t understand why Alex McLeish continued to pick him, despite Cameron’s obvious ineptness at the highest level. To put it frankly, he couldn’t hit a barn door. Bizarrely, this form then earned him a £4million to Stoke City, who needed him for Europa League reinforcements. Following in the footsteps of James Beattie, Ricardo Fuller and Jon Walters, Jerome is just adding weight to the fact Tony Pulis wouldn’t recognise a decent striker if they slapped him across the face (something James Beattie did attempt.)
  1. Emile Heskey – Finally I hear you all say. The one we’ve all been waiting for. Surely any list featuring hopeless, overrated footballers is bound to feature the much maligned Heskey at the top. After all, he’s tricked countless Premiership and England managers into picking him at the highest level for over a decade. I actually happen to be a Heskey sympathiser and recognise the value his work-rate can bring to a side, but you can’t defend someone who’s well publicised goal-scoring record for his country is lower than Rogerio Ceni, and Jose Luis Chilavert, both of whom are goalkeepers. Unfortunately for a man who tries so hard, his career can only be remembered as a full-time joke, one that certainly isn’t funny for England fans and his recent club form for Aston Villa isn’t doing anything to dispel this notion. To put it frankly, he’s been woeful.
  1. Fabricio Coloccini –Newcastle fans must have been delighted when they picked up a defender who’s won 34 caps for one of the best footballing nations in the world, Argentina, even if they paid £10million for him. Erm, think again. His arrival coincided with the shock relegation of the Toon Army in 2009, and a familiar sight that season was seeing Coloccini’s mop of hair look up from the floor in disappointment after he’d been beaten all ends up yet again. Coloccini is living proof that international caps for great countries don’t necessarily make you the bees knees, ranking himself alongside former Brazilian defender, Roque Junior, who was abysmal for Leeds on loan back in 2003, as one of the most disappointing Premiership signings. To prove my point that Coloccini is an overrated waste of space, you only have to see how many offers came in for the Argentine when Newcastle were selling off their squad following relegation. None.
  1. Phil Neville – This man has played consistently for two of the Premiership’s best clubs, under two of the best managers we have seen in recent times, making 650 club appearances and 59 for England. The question is, why? Do people really feel that sorry for him that he has Gary as a brother? He is literally hopeless. You could always identify the loud groan that went around the pub when England games were on as the fact that England had just announced the starting 11 and Phil Neville was in it. One moment in his England career can prove exactly why this happened. In the 89th minute against Romania in England’s crucial Euro 2000 group match, Viorel Moldovan broke into the area. Attacking from the by-line, the threat looked minimal as Moldovan ran out of space, only for super Phil to save the day with a tackle so ugly it wouldn’t have looked out-of-place on the Jeremy Kyle show. Penalty duly awarded and England crashed out early in another major tournament. Thanks Phil, thanks a bunch.
  1. Theo Walcott – Stormed onto the scene with a big money move to Arsenal and a place in the England World Cup squad in 2006 at the age of just 17. Theo appeared to have the world at his feet, especially after a hat-trick in Croatia, and fans were drooling over the potential of seeing him and Rooney lead England’s line for the next decade. Except it hasn’t quite happened like that. Whilst Rooney has gone from strength to strength, becoming a talisman for club and country, the only talisman Walcott has become is why not to spend so much money on young English players. Left out of the 2010 World Cup squad, Walcott is unbelievably frustrating to watch. So much pace, yet so little end product, essentially making him a clone of Shaun Wright-Phillips. Bafflingly both Wenger and Capello still rate him for club and country, and although Pep Guardiola once said “you would need a pistol to stop him,” in my opinion a by-line usually does just as good a job. After all, he fires 99% of his aimless crosses straight over it and out of play.
  1. Peter Crouch – I once heard a great joke that probably summarises why Crouchy makes this list. Here goes: ‘Fabio Capello walks into the England dressing room after a hard training session, only to find a great steaming turd on the floor. Thoroughly annoyed, Fabio shouts “who has shit on the floor” (well via his Italian translator of course.) There is silence, until Crouch finally stands up. “Me boss, but I’m not bad in the air.” To describe Crouch as ungainly would perhaps be kind, I’ve seen Bambi on ice move less awkwardly than he does. A man so thin, you’ll be seeing him in action as the pole for Pole Vaulters in next summers Olympics, people often say, ‘yeah but what about Crouchy’s England goal-scoring record? 22 in 42 is a cracking effort.’ Which would be true, if they hadn’t all come in meaningless friendlies against countries you didn’t even know existed…
  1. David Beckham – Before you ask, no I wasn’t on drugs when I came up with this choice, I genuinely did just write David Beckham. Because he is genuinely overrated. There was a time when yes, Goldenballs was the best thing since sliced bread and Bobby Moore that had happened to our country, but post 2002, quite frankly Beckham didn’t live up to the hype. Firstly there are his free kicks. Yes, I’ve seen a few beauties. But I’ve also watched the vast majority of England matches Beckham played and heard the excitement in the commentators’ voice when Beckham placed the ball for a free kick anywhere in-front of the halfway line. Which inevitably hit the wall. Admit it, you know its true. His penalties are so bad, he made the rest of England look good. He blazed two over the bar for crying out loud. Even the famous one against Argentina, he shut his eyes and smashed it. Fergie knew what he was doing when he shipped Becks out for a cool £23million, Capello knew what he was doing, dropping Beckham for his title-winning Real Madrid side and Steve McLaren knew what he was doing dropping Beckham for the start of his England regime. Or maybe not…Being the most famous man on the planet has contributed to his career success, as shirt sales pay his wages alone, but the fact Beckham is still playing in the U.S suggests he secretly knows the true level of his abilities. When a player is picked for his free kicks, corners and good looks, you know something has gone wrong. Which is why, as much as I love Beckham to pieces, he has to be included in the top 10 overrated footballers.
P.S – Fernando Torres is very close to joining this list, he’s making Andy Carroll look good value.

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