Micah Richards will go down as one of those players who failed to deliver despite once being considered England’s brightest young defender.
The 29-year-old burst onto the scene at Manchester City in 2005, his physical attributes immediately standing out.
In 2006, then-Manchester City manager Stuart Pearce dreamed of seeing Richards becoming the club’s captain for the next decade.
“I would love to see Micah stay here, captain the club, and maybe be here for 10 years and carry the club on his back if he can,” Pearce said.
"He is good enough to do it. I have not worked with anyone so good and so young."
Twelve years on and it’s safe to say Richards has let Pearce down.
What's going on with Richards at Aston Villa
Having failed to prove his worth at Man City, Richards, via a loan spell at Fiorentina, signed for Aston Villa in 2015.
He remains at the club but this week, he passed 500 days without making a competitive appearance, despite being fit.
The Daily Mail have explored Richards’ demise at Villa Park and it makes for a pretty sad story.
The former England international’s last competitive appearance came on October 15, 2016, when a calf injury forced him to exit Aston Villa’s match against Wolves early.
The Mail claim that Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce doesn’t trust Richards to cope with two games a week, and also refuses to play him for fear of disrupting Villa’s rhythm.
Yet he trains fully with the first team each day and is very popular among teammates and staff, according to a source.
“He's probably the nicest player I've worked with, the staff love him,” the source said. “He is very popular, and always has a smile on his face.”
Perhaps the most saddening line in the Mail’s report is the following: “He keeps turning up at Bodymoor Heath, undertaking all that is asked of him, yet knowing his name will not feature on the teamsheet when the meaningful action takes place.”
Apparently Richards’ enthusiasm remains and he often hands out advice to Villa’s young players.
Yet he’s had personal meetings with Bruce on two occasions this season.
In the Carabao Cup tie against Wigan in August, Richards was disappointed not to be given a chance to play when other fringe players were handed an opportunity with transfer deadline day approaching.
And Bruce decided to no longer play Richards in a series of behind-closed-doors friendlies after the defender admitted it was hard to be motivated for such matches, knowing they wouldn’t result in first-team appearances.
For a player who appeared in the Champions League for Man City less than five years ago, and represented Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics, that’s some fall.