Football

Premier League injury prone XI

Darren Anderton: The original 'sicknote' (©GettyImages)
Darren Anderton: The original 'sicknote' (©GettyImages).

Every top footballer has suffered an injury at least once in their career, missing a handful of games or in extreme cases a few months. And while it's an annoyance for both player and club alike, they can take solace in the fact that it won't be long before their career is back on track.

But what of the players that seem to make more comebacks than Robbie Williams? With each return greeted by the classic manager's line: "The lad is like a new signing for us."

Huge transfer fees and blockbuster wages make footballers valuable commodities and for a club to see one of their prized assets rendered lame by constant injury causes extreme frustration for all parties.

Here are a squad of players that would barely be able to take the field each week due to their undeniable injury-proneness. 

Goalkeeper - Craig Gordon

Scottish shot-stopper Craig Gordon was one of the hottest prospects in European football when he signed for Sunderland for a £9m fee in 2007, until recently the British record for a 'keeper.

However Gordon endured a torrid time at the club and was plagued by several major injuries during his tenure at the Stadium of Light. A long-running knee injury suffered in 2008 eventually finished his Sunderland career four years later, while arm problems also helped make the Scotsman one of the unluckiest custodians around.

Centre Back - Thomas Vermaelen

Despite being one of Arsenal's most reliable players for over four years, goalscoring Belgian defender Thomas Vermaelen has suffered horribly with numerous injuries since he signed for the club in 2009.

Currently out with a back injury, the Gunners' skipper has endured niggling problems in every season since he joined the club and only played five matches in his worst affected campaign in 2010/11.

Centre Back - Ledley King

There is a common opinion amongst Tottenham supporters that, but for injuries, Ledley King would have been one of England's greatest defenders.

Whether or not this is true, there can be no doubting King's class when called upon, despite his extraordinary bad luck with injury.

By the end of his White Hart Lane career, the Englishman's knees were so bad that he was forced to skip training to try and make matches on the weekend, before retiring at the end of the 2011/12 season.

Centre Back - Jonathan Woodgate

Another former Tottenham defender, Woodgate has endured a torrid time with injuries throughout his career, despite playing for clubs such as Real Madrid. 

A classy stopper in his Newcastle prime, Woodgate was signed by the Spanish giants in 2004 but made only 14 appearances in three injury-hit years. Currently with Middlesbrough, Woodgate has had trouble with his groin, back, hamstrings and had numerous major surgeries, derailing a once promising career. 

Right Midfield - Darren Anderton

When you think of injury prone players, Anderton won't be far away from the top of the list. The original 'sicknote' was an extremely talented wideman and despite his well-documented injury struggles, still gained a respectable haul of 30 England caps, including scoring in World Cup '98 against Colombia.

Left Midfield - Kieron Dyer

Perhaps one of the most unlucky with injury on this list, Dyer was once an extremely promising young talent in English football and was tipped for great things after emerging at Ipswich Town.

In a 17 year career, he played just over 300 matches and scored 23 Premier League goals in between his numerous spells on the sidelines. Once touted as the solution to England's much talked about 'left-side problems', Dyer's career never got going and he retired in 2013 after a failed attempt to get back on track at Middlesbrough.

Centre Midfield - Abou Diaby

After Abou Diaby's 4000th comeback and subsequent fantastic performances at the start of last season, there was renewed hope that the languid Frenchman could finally overcome his injury worries and become the Arsenal star he was meant to be.

Cue a cruciate ligament injury that has Diaby sidelined to this day and has all but ended any hope of him ever fulfilling his great potential. 

Click here for a shocking graphic of Diaby's many injuries at Arsenal. 

Centre Midfield - Owen Hargreaves

When a free agent has to make Youtube videos of himself in a desperate attempt to try and prove his fitness to prospective employers, you know that he has struggled with injury in the past.

After a big money move to Manchester United in 2007 following some impressive performances for both club and country, Hargreaves seemed to have everything going for him. Four years and just 39 appearances in all competitions later, United cut their losses and released the stricken former Bayern man from his contract.

Centre Midfield - Jack Wilshere

Still in the early years of his career and touted as a future England captain, Jack Wilshere has everything going for him, except luck with injuries.

After bursting onto the scene in 2010/11, Wilshere missed the entire following campaign with a foot injury and has suffered niggling problems ever since, breaking down several times in front of a worried Arsene Wenger. 

The classy midfielder's ankles seem to be made of glass at the moment and England's big hope is now being wrapped in cotton wool at every opportunity.

Striker - Dean Ashton

Just as his England career was starting to take flight following some fine performances for club side West Ham, Dean Ashton suffered a training ground injury on international duty that ruined his career.

A strong challenge from renowned Premier League hardman Shaun Wright-Phillips left Ashton with a broken ankle and caused a succession of further problems that ultimately ended the frontman's promising career.

Striker - Michael Owen

When Michael Owen burst onto the world stage as a teenager, with a famous strike against Argentina at France '98, he instantly became England's golden boy.

In 1998/99 while bearing down on goal in a match against Leeds, Owen collapsed in agony after tearing his hamstring. This would rob Owen of his searing pace and cause the player to suffer numerous follow-on injuries as a result throughout his career.

While still a fantastic goalscorer for club and country due to his prowess inside the box, Owen would never again be as devastating as he had been during his early years at Liverpool and retired at the end of the 2012/13 season following further spells with Real Madrid, Newcastle, Manchester United and Stoke City.

Do you agree with our list of crocked Premier League players? Leave a comment below.

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