Top Five: Most Underrated Footballers
GMS Academy member Andrew Butters looks at five players who lack appreciation despite their ability
A lot of players make big contributions to their squads, but are left unnoticed by fans and managers alike despite their immense footballing ability.
Overshadowed by flashier players or simply under-appreciated for any number of reasons, here are five players whose contributions on the pitch have received less attention than deserved.
1. Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez (Manchester United)
Chicharito has been a prolific goalscorer for Manchester United, last season averaging a goal every 106 minutes - which was better than Robin van Persie.
Despite this ruthless goal scoring record he still seems undervalued in the Manchester United camp, as he has only received a handful of appearances under the new management. He had a bright match against Liverpool in the league cup, finding the only goal in a 1-0 victory.
His amazing anticipation and incomprehensible off the ball movement has out-witted defenders and given Manchester United a new dimension in attack. However, he has been overshadowed by Wayne Rooney and van Persie and as a result has not received the amount of attention he deserves.
2. Yann Sommer (FC Basel)
Maybe it's because he plays in the Swiss league, or maybe because he's a goalkeeper, but Yann Sommer has been vastly under-appreciated by the footballing world.
Last season he led FC Basel to a Europa League semi final appearance, and had a fantastic penalty shootout performance in the Quarter Finals when FC Basel defeated Tottenham in a 4-1 shootout.
His impressive reflexes and shot stopping ability has been key for FC Basel in the past few years, and as the team continues to improve and make their name in Europe, then Sommer may gain some of the recognition that he merits.
3. Javi Fuego (Valencia)
He is an absolute beast in his defensive midfield role.
One of the best tacklers in Europe, Javi Fuego's ability to impose himself upon opponent's attacks is pivotal for his team.
In the 2011/12 season Fuego was averaging a phenomenal 7.1 interceptions per game, and winning 4.4 tackles per game, which among Europe's elite was one of the best.
As a ball winning midfielder he has the perfect attributes, and as he continues to impose himself in a Gennaro Gattuso type form fans may begin to give higher value towards his contributions on the pitch.
4. Beñat Etxebarria (Athletic Bilbao)
He may have started for Spain in a different generation, if it had not been for the likes of Xavi and Iniesta then surely Beñat would be featuring as an important figure in the Spanish national team.
However, he has been overshadowed by those players and gone on as an underrated figure in football.
The Spanish midfielder has excellent vision and technique on the ball, and an ability to unlock the defence with a killer pass.
Additionally, he can pitch in with the occasional goal and has been able to find the net already for Athletic Bilbao.
With one goal and two assists in seven matches, Beñat has been an unrecognised figure in the footballing world.
5. Leon Britton (Swansea)
Swansea has been known as a quality passing football side who can string together decades of passes in build up before making a quality opportunity.
However, Leon Britton's role in that play has gone largely unnoticed.
Britton's ability to make simple passes and keep the ball moving has been essential towards Swansea's style of play, and his recognition of his position allows him to sit in spaces where the opposition might penetrate and fill the gaps of Swansea's marauding forwards.
He has developed himself to be a lynchpin for Swansea as his play in the center of midfield has been pivotal for Swansea's rise to the top.
But that role has gone relatively unnoticed by fans as his stability continues to be important for Laudrup and his squad.
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