Football

Five forgotten Premier League stars set to shine again

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In recent seasons, clubs across the Premier League have drafted in countless players to fight in the immortal battle against fans' expectations and club ambitions. During every season, some of these players find unexpected fame and glory through impressive performances.

Conversely, there are also those who fall out of favour due to various reasons - squabbles, lack of commitment, poor performances or something else. As a result, we hear many of these names fade away, and forgotten by most. But, as circumstances change, these players sometimes receive a second chance.

Therefore, I look at which of these outcasts could see their return to action during the incoming 2014/15 Premier League season.

5) Charles N'Zogbia

The flying Frenchman was bought from Wigan for a fee of £9.5 million by Aston Villa during the summer of 2011. He was bought with a reputation of being a fast, direct and skilful winger with a keen eye for goal, after scoring a total of 15 goals in 83 games.

Despite his reputation and obvious talent, he has failed to live up to expectations with a string of poor performances and lack of goals. Though an Achilles injury hindered his chances even further, as he was forced to undergo a lengthy rehabilitation process. Ever since then, N'Zogbia hasn't managed to force his way back into Lambert's thinking.

The 28-year-old may now have chance due to the club being put up for sale by chairman, Randy Lerner - forcing Lambert to look at loan signings and free agents. This could mean N'Zogbia could be giving more game time as Lambert may struggle to bring in quality reinforcements in his position.

4) Jack Rodwell

On 5 August 2014, Sunderland agreed a reported £10 million fee with Manchester City to sign the once-heralded youngster. Sunderland fans will be hoping that Rodwell can avoid another injury-plagued season, and return to the form he found during his Everton days.

The combative midfielder saw his chances at Manchester City vastly diminished by a combination of injury and his role as cover for their world-class midfielders, like Yaya Toure.

A move to Sunderland could help the 6ft 2 powerhouse become the top defensive midfielder that he was previously heralded to be. Regular game time could see his value soar rapidly, whilst seeing his England chances increase.

3) Erik Lamela

Seen as a replacement for the mercurial Gareth Bale, the £25.8 million maverick arrived from Roma as part of Tottenham's ambitious summer spree, which Levy and Andre Villas Boas hoped would turn the club into a true Premier League force.

Burdened by his status as the club's most expensive signing ever, the pressure and cultural change were perhaps too much to cope with for the Argentinian. A lack of chances and poor performances meant that the 22-year-old winger was starved of more game time. He then suffered a back injury which ended his season.

But, Pochettino's appointment may see the tricky winger thrive under careful management - his technical abilities are very highly-rated by the club's management team. More game time could see Lamela become a key component of Pochettino's masterplan.

2) Jores Okore

On June 2013, Aston Villa managed to capture the promising centre-back on a four-year deal - who represents Denmark, despite being born in the Ivory Coast. Dominant in the air as well as the ground, the club saw Okore as the defensive lynch pin for a number of years to come.

This was seen as quite a coup, as Okore himself said that Chelsea were also after his signature - which Aston Villa managed to purchase for £4 million - ahead of Mourinho's men. But, unfortunately, the 6ft 0 defender suffered a season-ending injury only a month into his debut Premier League season.

However, the 2014/15 season should see his full recovery. Therefore, the Aston Villa fans could see him form a solid partnership with the powerful Dutchman, Ron Vlaar (affectionately known as 'Roncrete' to their fans). Okore would be like a new signing, and could be the man to help steer the club away from relegation.

1) Ashley Young

Having been a player for Manchester United for a number of years, their fans know what the English winger brings to the team, Despite this, a collection of ridiculous diving antics and poor performances has meant that the Hertfordshire-born player has seen his game time reduced.

In spite of this, newly-appointed manager, Louis van Gaal, seems destined to adopt a 3-5-2 formation - in which Young has been playing in a left-sided wing-back role during their pre-season. 

Although questions remain over his defensive capabilities, the Dutch manager has been impressive with his industry and attacking qualities. So much so, that many believe Young may have just rescued his Manchester United career from the jaws of failure. 

Whether the £15 million player will serve as the team's main left-sided wing-back, or as competition for Luke Shaw, remains to be seen. Nevertheless, it is very likely he could see his game time increased significantly.

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Topics:
Ashley Young
Jack Rodwell
Premier League
Football
Charles N'Zogbia

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