Following England's recent centre back crisis in the recent World Cup qualifiers, it got us thinking about the most injury hit players to grace the England setup. Below is a list of five of the best, but injury prone players in recent years.

Ledley King

It's a well-known fact that a chronic knee problem forced Ledley King to avoid training during the week with his teammates, but the former Spurs centre back still managed to play at Premier League level on the weekend. 

To be able to play a Premier League match without any training highlights King’s outstanding ability. When he did play, the Spurs captain led by example- in 264 games for Spurs, he picked up just eight yellow cards - remarkable for a centre-half. King decided to hang up his boots last summer at the age of 31, but there’s no doubt he could have played for many more years if it wasn’t for his knee.

Owen Hargreaves

Owen Hargreaves is one of few players in the Premier League era to play for Manchester United and Manchester City. After joining United from Bayern Munich in a deal worth £17million, he enjoyed a successful first season, winning both the Premier League and Champions League. 

However, he managed just five more appearances in his next three seasons following a patellar tendinitis problem. There's no doubt he would have went on to have a promising international career too; he made 39 England appearances before joining Manchester United. At the age of 32 and with no club to play for, it looks as though Owen Hargreaves footballing days are over.

Kieron Dyer

Perhaps the most injury hit player this century, Kieron Dyer's career has been plagued with long-term absences. He was considered one of the hottest teenagers in the country when he burst onto the scene as 17-year-old playing for Ipswich. However, Dyer has made just 35 Premier League appearances since August 2007 and has scored just one league goal in that time. 

After signing for West Ham in August 2007, he broke his leg in two places just ten days later and didn't play in the first team again for 17 months. Dyer never played a full 90 minutes for The Hammers and was released in 2011. He injured his foot after three minutes on his debut for QPR. He is now currently playing for Middlesbrough in The Championship.

Dean Ashton

A record of 111 goals in 280 football league games proves that when Dean Ashton was fit, he was a dangerous forward. However, persistent ankle problems forced Ashton to retire at the tender age of just 26. Whilst on International duty in August 2006, he broke his ankle just a day before he was set to make his England debut against Greece. He missed the entirety of the 2006-2007 season as a result of the injury. 

The next campaign was an impressive one for Ashton, he scored 10 league goals, including a blistering overhead kick at Old Trafford, but perhaps more importantly played over 30 games. In September 2008, injury hit again as he sprained his ankle during a training session with West Ham; he made just four appearances that year. He was forced to announce his retirement the following season after playing no games in over a year.

Michael Owen

The list wouldn't be complete without the former Ballon d'Or winner Michael Owen. Rightly or wrongly, a lot of supporters remember Owen more for his injuries rather than his goal-scoring ability. With 118 goals in 216 Liverpool league games, Owen joined Real Madrid in 2004 as one of the best strikers on the planet. He returned to England just a year after and joined Graeme Souness's Newcastle United side. In December 2005, he broke a metatarsal bone in his foot, restricting him to only one substitute appearance for the rest of the campaign. 

With less than a minute gone, Owen damaged an anterior cruciate ligament in a World Cup game with Sweden in June 2006, which kept him out of football for 10 months. He moved to Manchester United in 2009 and scored nine goals in his debut season, until a hamstring injury in the Carling Cup Final ruled him out for the rest of the term. Since then Owen has featured in just 18 Premier League games, six for new club Stoke City, and announced that he would retire at the end of the 2012-2013 campaign.

What do you think of the list? Have we missed anybody off? Tell us in the comments below! 

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