Coral’s XI of unlucky injury-prone England internationals
Liverpool and England striker Daniel Sturridge may be out for another six more weeks, new scans show, and it seems the 25-year-old’s career may never live up to his obvious promise. He is ruled out of the Reds’ next Premier League fixture with Crystal Palace, who are now 13/5 chances to claim a draw in his absence.
The news of Sturridge’s continued time on the sidelines got Coral football writers thinking, and we have come up with a Three Lions XI of capped players, whose talent went to waste.
Chris Kirkland – Goalkeeper
Former Liverpool and Wigan Athletic stopper Kirkland, 33, has managed just over 300 career appearances, but a string of injuries meant he could never fulfil his early promise. A sole cap in 2006 earned his place on this list, and his father and family friends a £10k total as part of a syndicate bet made when Kirkland junior was 11. He now turns out for Sheffield Wednesday.
Kieron Dyer – Right back
Another whose career never reached its destined heights, Dyer did manage to play 33 times for the Three Lions and was a squad member at the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2004, but was injured too many times to count. The ex-Newcastle United and West Ham United usual midfielder was also adept at playing at full back.
Ledley King – Centre back
Arsenal legend Thierry Henry once described the defender as the best player he had played against, but Tottenham clubman King had to retire early due to his fragile knees. The current Spurs ambassador was forced to train on his own when ‘fit’, so he would not aggravate any injuries. King earned 21 caps.
Jonathan Woodgate – Centre back
Woodgate is of similar ilk to King in terms of style and injury. Real Madrid even looked past his spells on the sidelines and signed him from Newcastle. However, it took him more than a year to make his debut, which ended in him scoring an own goal and getting sent off! The eight-capped player is now back at his hometown club Middlesbrough.
Kieran Gibbs – Left back
The only current England player in this side, Gibbs, 25, has still yet to make more than 100 Premier League appearances. He has suffered a number of different injuries throughout his Arsenal career, and has six Three Lions caps to date. Remarkably he is fit for his side’s upcoming clash with Manchester United, and is 4/1 to help them gain a clean sheet.
Darren Anderton – Right midfield
A combination of injuries and David Beckham were the scourge of Anderton’s England career (he earned 30 caps). The former Tottenham right-sided player spend so long on the sidelines, that he gained the nickname ‘sicknote’.
Owen Hargreaves – Defence midfield
Canadian-born Hargreaves busted a gut every time he was on a football pitch, but that wasn’t the only thing he busted as a result, sadly. Since his big-money move to Man Utd, the 42-capped star played just 39 times in four seasons, but did manage the full 120 minutes in the Champions League final win against Chelsea.
Jamie Redknapp – Centre midfield
The son of QPR boss Harry captained Liverpool and Tottenham during his career, but should have earned way more than his 17 Three Lions caps. Injury forced him to miss a World Cup and European Championship, among other occasions.
Joe Cole – Left midfield
Described as a wonderkid when growing up at West Ham, he earned a move across London to Chelsea where he initially impressed, before suffering a string of injuries that would ultimately halt any progress to his career. A fractured foot and ruptured cruciate ligament prevented the current Aston Villa man gaining over his 56 caps.
Michael Owen – Striker
Any footballer would be more than satisfied gaining 89 caps for his country but, unfortunately for Owen, he could have broken numerous England records. He stopped playing for the Three Lions aged just 29, but was just nine goals behind Sir Bobby Charlton’s total of 49.
Dean Ashton – Striker
Former Crewe Alexandra, Norwich City and West Ham star Ashton had the world at his feet, but was forced to quit the game aged just 26 after suffering a career-ending ankle injury in England training. Aston did manage a sole cap, though.