This one’s a nice contentious subject… We all have players we think are overrated, players you wouldn’t pick for your Sunday league side. On the other hand, your best mate probably thinks he’s mustard and a misunderstood Maradona. So to stoke the fires of debate, here are ten of the most overrated players in the Premier League today.
1. Ashley Young
Right. Don’t get me wrong, Young is by no means a bad player. He is in fact, a good player. However, after scoring a couple of goals against Everton in the 2008/09 season, O’Neil compared Young to Messi. Asked if he thought Young was as good the little Argentine, O’Neil replied:
“Yes. In my opinion. I see a lot of games in Europe, I watch a lot of football, and you see a lot of players in the game who are very functional.
“Some are decent, some are more than decent and some are very, very good. And then you have the players who are absolutely exceptional. And Ashley Young is absolutely exceptional.”
Sorry Martin, no he’s not. His delivery can sometimes be patchy, and his goal tally is yet to hit double figures in a single season. Also, when representing England, he’s looked average. Well done Martin, you talked your player onto the list.
2. Michael Ballack
When he signed on a Bosman from Bayern Munich, it was believed his signature would be one of the final pieces in the jigsaw as Mourinho hunted a Champions League title for Chelsea. In fact, what Chelsea got at the start of the 2006/07 season in Michael Ballack and Andrei Shevchenko were the tools to blow the title race and surrender their crown to Manchester United, which they are yet to recover.
Ballack cost nothing, joining on a free, yet his wages breached the £120,000 a week mark when he signed, and that was four years ago. The most important trophy he has won with Chelsea is the FA Cup, and Chelsea’s midfield now lacks width of any kind. His best league tally for Chelsea is 7, and has done little to justify his reputation prior to his arrival offensively or defensively. Well overrated!
3. Emmanuel Adebayor
Hugely talented striker, and on his day, he’s a handful for any defender. However, that day is so infrequent, you have to wonder whether he’s worth it. His past is also blighted by controversy. He got into a fight with Bendtner when at Arsenal over footwear, and later had an on-pitch scuffle with the same player at White Hart Lane. At Manchester City Emmanuel has already earned himself two silly suspensions, one for throwing an elbow in an FA Cup tie with Stoke City, the other for his now famous goal celebration against Arsenal.
Valued at over £20m and having been linked with the likes of AC Milan and Barcelona leads to just one conclusion. Adebayor, you’re overrated mate.
4. Kenwyne Jones
Kenwyne Jones was was linked with £10m moves to both Tottenham and Liverpool over the last year, and it is for this reason that Kenwyne makes the list. How is a player that has scored just 24 goals in 87 games in considered good enough for the Champions League, and worth a £10m fee? He’s decent in the air, and last season his ten goal haul at Sunderland was a respectable effort. However, this season, he hardly fills opposition defences with fear consistently, and often goes missing in matches.
He looks like a fair player, but every time his name is linked with a top club, I can’t help but shake my head.
5. Luis Nani
Aside from resembling Michael Jackson, I’m not entirely sure what Nani does. He’s scored 5 goals in 2 and a half seasons, his crossing is poor and he’s light-weight. Yet United paid between £14-17 million for the Portuguese, with a view to using Nani as Ryan Giggs replacement. Nani has shown flashes of brilliance, but at 23 years old, I think it’s time to accept that actually, Nani’s just not that good…
6. Joleon Lescott
I like to think the night Moyes and Kenwright sold Joleon Lescott for £24m, the pair asked for it in fiver pound notes and had a money fight, made money angels and lit fine Cuban cigars with bank notes. Lescott’s a good Premier League defender, but for anyone to want Lescott badly enough to pay £24m beggars belief.
He’s a more than capable centre half and he’s left footed too, which means he can provide cover at left full-back. However, he’s not good enough to play as centre half for England, and the team will require a specialist left-back in South Africa. A good defender and utility player? Yes. Worth £24m? No. What’s more worrying however, is that Manchester City raided Everton’s defence and left an even better player behind in Phil Jagielka…
7. Matthew Upson
In a sense, Upson’s slip against Egypt at Wembley might just be a blessing in disguise because if the nation thinks it can count on Upson in the summer, we’re in trouble.
Matthew Upson is handy in the air, powerful, and is a good captain at West Ham. However, links to Arsenal are well wide of the mark. Wenger let the player go because he’s slow and prone to the odd error. Unfortunately, whilst probably a better defender than Kolo Toure was for instance, he’s lacks the agility to recover when he makes silly mistakes.
Upson reads the game well, but is not good enough for England or a top Premier League club, and the fact that he is so often linked with a move to teams in the top four, or with top four aspirations, suggests he’s overrated.
8. Gareth Barry
Barry is a steady performer for England, and played at left back and left midfield before settling into the centre midfield. However, whilst Barry has undoubtedly improved Manchester City’s midfield this season, how could Rafael Benitez have thought Barry was a better bet than Xabi Alonso going in to the 2008/09 Premier League campaign? Alonso’s range of passing is far superior to that of Barry, whilst the Spaniard is also prone to the odd entertaining shot from the half way line.
Barry also lacks a yard of pace, and when teams break on England, the team is often exposed by Barry’s lack of pace and agility. If Hargreaves were fit, Barry would be out in an instant.
In short, Barry is a good player, but he’s not that good. A little overrated in my book.
9. Theo Walcott
At Arsenal and England games, when Walcott gets on the ball, he leaves fans on the edge of their seat, with spectators awaiting a dazzling run at pace, leaving his marker for dead. However, as time goes by, the former Southampton player appears less and less able to set the heart racing. In fact for Arsenal, he sometimes appears simply incapable of even controlling the ball, and beating a player with a trick seems out of the question.
On current form, how Walcott makes the England squad when fit is a question only Fabio Capello can answer, because everyone else is left scratching their head. Walcott is young, going through a bad spell, and will only improve, but he’s never been good enough for Arsenal or England on a consistent basis so far.
10. Peter Crouch
If England only ever played friendlies, you’d want Peter Crouch in the team. Crouchy has bagged a hat trick against Jamacia and a brace against Egypt and Greece in the past. Crouch has also scored vital goals for England against top opposition in competitive fixtures against Trinidad and Tobago, Andorra, Belarus, Estonia and Macedonia.
Sarcasm aside, Crouch does have a good scoring record for England. In the Premier League conversely, his highest goal return is 12, which he achieved for Southampton in 2004/05. He’s never consistently scored against top opposition in the Premier League or internationally, and calls for him to start for England are cringe worthy. He is poor in the air for someone so tall and his lack of pace at international level is criminal. Play him against Spain or Brazil in the finals, and he won’t touch the ball. England need players like Emile Heskey and Carlton Cole to run the channels and occupy defences with movement, leaving space for our best players to flourish.
However, the next time England plays Estonia in a friendly, he’s in.
Well there you have it, ten of the most overrated players in the Premier League. Perhaps you disagree? I encourage you to verbally abuse me in the comment box below…