As the Premier League schedule becomes increasingly compact, teams up and down the table are feeling the strain, with Liverpool being the latest to report a number of injuries to key players such as Luis Diaz and Joel Matip. With that in mind, here is a look at some of the Premier League’s greatest players who suffered consistent injury setbacks in their careers.
Despite a career blighted by injuries, Gareth Bale still became one of the household names in world football. Starting his trade in Southampton before moving to Tottenham, his most successful period came in the Spanish capital. At Real Madrid, the 33-year-old won a staggering five Champions Leagues, three La Liga titles and one Spanish cup. While currently plying his trade in the MLS with Los Angeles FC, Bale’s focus will now be staying fit in time for the captaining Wales at the winter World Cup.
The Dragons have been getting attention from bookmakers, with football odds from Paddy Power of 11/10 to qualify from Group B, meaning they will need their star man Bale fully fit if they are to stand a chance of promotion. Not only is qualification set to be competitive, but the whole tournament is up for grabs, which is why some bookmakers also offer football tips on everything from team performances to outright finishes. Wales will hope to emulate their form at Euro 2016 when they reached the semi-finals of the competition, although this could be a difficult feat to repeat – even with Bale at full fitness.
Gareth Bale scores a STUNNING free-kick for Wales in World Cup qualifying 🏴🔥 pic.twitter.com/X8MAQRqmT1
— GOAL (@goal) March 24, 2022
While Gareth Bale was able to overcome his injury woes, the same cannot be said for the next two entries on this list. Jack Wilshere burst onto the scene at Arsenal with a Man of the Match performance again Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona back in 2011, which saw his side win 2-1. Guardiola, now managing Man City, waxed lyrical about Wilshere’s performance, as he promised to be one of Arsenal’s – and England’s – greatest.
However, during his time in the Red of North London, it was the story of ‘what could have been’ for Jack Wilshere, with a horrific injury record soon putting paids to any sort of promising future. Between August 2015 and August 2017 alone, the 30-year-old missed a staggering 370 days through injuries to his calf and knee. Following spells at West Ham, Bournemouth and Aarhus GF, Wilshere is now retired.
11 years ago today, a 19-year-old Jack Wilshere dominated that great Barcelona midfield of Xavi, Iniesta and Busquets at the Emirates Stadium! 👏🏻 pic.twitter.com/QXN9HA1e9F
— SPORTbible (@sportbible) February 16, 2022
Staying in North London, Ledley King is regarded as one of Tottenham legend’s finest ever centre-backs, and someone who could have gone down in the history of the England national team were it not for his injury woes. Now 41, King was a one-club man, making 268 appearances for Spurs in all competitions.
While this number may seem impressive on the surface, these appearances were spread over a staggering 14 years at the club. King only managed more than 30 Premier League appearances in any given season just twice, mainly due to problems to his knee, but also thigh and groin. Like Wilshere, the centre-back was forced to retire early due to these problems, himself at the age of 31. He now plays a prominent role as an assistant coach for his boyhood club, under the management of Antonio Conte.
#OnThisDay in 2012, Ledley King announced his retirement as a result of chronic knee injuries that limited his playing time.
He left Tottenham after spending 14 years in the first team. pic.twitter.com/DvC0Y3SsAj
— VBET News (@VBETnews) July 19, 2022
With the FIFA World Cup 2022 looming, it remains to be seen which players escape injury to represent their countries on international football’s biggest stage. As fixtures pile up on a domestic level, injuries are sure to have significant ramifications for those battling out in Qatar.