To many observers, England’s top flight is the best league in the world – but that doesn’t mean that all of those who have played it in over the years are high calibre footballers. In fact, simple logic tells us that the majority of players are, in fact, average – and although most of them find their level in the lower leagues, some slip through the cracks.
Whilst the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Thierry Henry and Ryan Giggs have been responsible for stunning goals and breath-taking skill, the Premier League wouldn’t be where it is today without those bit-part, bang average players (who are needed, if for no other reason, to make up the numbers).
If you’re over the age of 18, and not yet on the books of a professional football team, it’s probably fair to say your hopes of making a living playing the Beautiful Game are slim – but you can certainly derive hope from these 10 players who, inexplicably, ended up in the top flight.
Scotland had a decent scoring record in the Championship, but things went desperately wrong when Roberto Martinez took him to Wigan in 2009. 32 games and one goal later, and he was back in the second-tier. Image source: Twitter
Jay Spearing was a favourite of Kenny Dalgish during the Scot's second spell in the Liverpool dugout. Other favourites of Kenny's included Stewart Downing and Andy Carroll. Image source: Twitter
No-one is really quite sure how Gibson managed to stay on the Manchester United payroll until the age of 24, during which time he somehow made more appearances under Fergie than Pogba managed. Image source: Twitter
Remember when Roger Johnson and Scott Dann were the Premier League's best centre-back pairing? It lasted about five minutes, and Birmingham were relegated shortly thereafter. Image source: Twitter
Playing alongside Giuseppe Rossi in the Man Utd youth set-up, Ebanks-Blake was a prolific scorer tipped for a bright future. Unfortunately, things don't translate so well at senior level - as Wolves fans quickly discovered. Image source: Twitter
Turnbull spent more than a decade on the payroll of Premier League teams, first at Boro and then Chelsea (who were likely prepared to take literally anyone to occupy a homegrown spot in their squad). Image source: Twitter
O'Hara showed some promise in his youth, but seven years as a Premier League player was pushing it. Fortunately, he has reality TV to fall back on. Image source: Twitter
Fortune spent eight years as a Man Utd player, and whilst injuries did hamper his career, the truth is he just wasn't very good. Image source: Twitter
Roy Keane felt hard done by after his demise at Sunderland, but when you sign players like Michael Chopra, you can't really expect any sympathy. Image source: Twitter
Steve McClaren's Middlesbrough deserved to be commended for their commitment to bringing through academy graduates - but Matthew Bates? There's a reason they eventually went down. Image source: Twitter
Just as you can’t have day without night, or joy without sorrow, we wouldn’t be able to call the great players great without a raft of bang average wannabes to which to compare them. For that, we owe all of these dreamers a debt of gratitude.