Tag Archives: Injury

Premier League Files: Harry Kewell

Premier League Career: Leeds United (1996-2003), Liverpool FC (2003-2008)

Most recently the manager of League Two club Notts County, Harry Kewell enjoyed a rapid rise in his career in a very energetic and exciting Leeds United side. Kewell won the PFA Young Player of the Year accolade in 2000 and was also part of the Liverpool FC squad that won the UEFA Champions League in 2005, although there was major personal disappointment for the Aussie in Istanbul.

A left winger capable of playing in the no.10 role or even as a second striker, Kewell made his English breakthrough at Leeds, earning a trial for four weeks as part of the Big Brother Movement in Australia. He travelled to England with Brett Emerton who would become a future Premier League player. Both had trials and both were successful but it was only Kewell who was able to take up Leeds’ offer due to his father’s English heritage, which satisfied the visa requirements.

After three seasons in the Leeds youth team which included victory in the 1997 FA Youth Cup final over Crystal Palace, the 1997-1998 season was Kewell’s breakthrough into the Leeds first-team under the management of George Graham. He had already made his Premier League debut under previous manager Howard Wilkinson when he featured in a 1-0 home defeat by Middlesbrough in March 1996 but he began to shine on a regular basis for the Yorkshire side during Graham’s reign. He scored five times in 1997-1998 and also collected the first red card of his career in a 4-3 win over Blackburn Rovers in September 1997. His development continued rapidly in 1998-1999, featuring in every single Premier League match, chalking up six goals and six assists.

Kewell was at his absolute best in 1999-2000. He scored 10 goals; helping Leeds to a third place finish in the Premier League and claimed 13 assists which was the second-highest total in the entire division. His excellent goal at Hillsborough in April 2000 won the Leeds United Goal of the Year award and in the same month, he was selected as PFA Young Player of the Year and placed in the PFA Team of the Year. The only blemish was a red card in the second leg of the UEFA Cup semi-final defeat to Galatasaray – an event overshadowed by attacks on Leeds supporters ahead of the first leg in Istanbul which led to the death of two fans.

Italian giants Inter Milan attempted to prize Harry away that summer but their £25 million bid was rejected, with Leeds believing his value was far too high to sell a prized asset. Kewell continued to shine, helping the Yorkshire side to a place in the semi-finals of the 2000-2001 UEFA Champions League although injuries restricted him to just 17 league appearances in that campaign.

By now though, Leeds’ financial difficulties saw them having to sell many of their key players. Kewell’s impressive return of 14 goals in 31 appearances in 2002-2003 including a scorching effort away at Highbury in May kept the club away from relegation danger. However, the crushing debts being piled up meant he was always going to be one of the stars the club were going to eventually have to cash in on. Over eight years at Leeds, he scored 45 goals in 181 Premier League appearances.

The way he left Leeds angered the supporters. Before his departure, he gave an interview to the BBC, criticising the staff at the club. There were plenty of suitors for him including AC Milan, Barcelona and Chelsea. However, Harry elected to move to the club he supported as a boy – Liverpool FC. His £5 million move in the summer of 2003 also saw Czech midfielder Vladimir Smicer reluctantly give up the no.7 shirt at Anfield to the new arrival.

He started well in a Reds shirt. His first goal came in a 3-0 Merseyside Derby victory over Everton at Goodison Park and he added six further goals including a goal on his first return to Elland Road since leaving in February 2004. 2004-2005 didn’t go to plan. Just one Premier League goal in a 1-1 draw at Aston Villa and chronic time on the treatment table meant he lost his regular place in the team. Arguably, it was his worst-ever season in English football.

So, it was a big surprise when new boss Rafa Benitez selected him in the starting XI for the 2005 UEFA Champions League final against AC Milan ahead of the more defensively-minded Dietmar Hamann. AC Milan raced into a 3-0 lead and Kewell was off the pitch and replaced by Smicer inside 25 minutes, limping off with a torn abductor muscle. He was infamously booed off by many supporters who believed he’d faked the injury. It looked like he was on borrowed time on Merseyside.

However, he defied the critics in 2005-2006, scoring three cracking goals including a matchwinner against Tottenham Hotspur in January 2006. One of his best displays came in a 3-1 victory over Merseyside rivals Everton two months later, scoring the crucial third goal in the process. Kewell virtually started every match in the second half of the season, helping the Reds to the FA Cup final along the way. A torn groin muscle meant he only played 48 minutes in the final at The Millennium Stadium but this time, he received a more sympathetic response from Liverpool supporters on his exit from the contest. They appreciated his contribution to their best-ever Premier League season in terms of points total – registering 82 from 38 games.

Kewell recovered from the injury to play in the 2006 World Cup finals for his country Australia. On a stormy night in Stuttgart which saw Graham Poll dish out three red cards, Kewell scored the crucial equaliser in the 2-2 draw which took the Socceroos into the round-of-16 for the first time in their history. In total, he won 58 caps for Australia, scoring 17 goals. He also remains the youngest player to have debuted for his country when he played against Chile in April 1996, aged 17 years and 7 months.

Unfortunately, injury was never far away and it ruined his final two seasons in English football. Harry was on the sidelines in 2006-2007 until the end of April and made just two Premier League appearances for Liverpool FC, scoring a stoppage-time penalty on the final day against Charlton Athletic. It turned out to be his last-ever goal for the club. He was released in May 2008, moving onto Galatasaray where he spent three seasons before winding down his playing career back in Australia at Melbourne Victory and Melbourne Heart via a brief three-game spell with Al-Gharafa in 2013. He announced his retirement aged 35 in March 2014.

Following his retirement, Harry moved straight into coaching. Married to the former Emmerdale actress Sheree Murphy, he successfully completed his UEFA coaching licenses and took his first coaching job at Watford as Head Coach of their Under-21 team. He left in April 2017 after a poor run of results but a month later, was appointed boss of League Two team Crawley Town, becoming the first Australian to coach a professional English side. After just over a year at Crawley, he was poached by their League Two rivals Notts County in late August 2018, succeeding Kevin Nolan. However, after just 14 games in-charge and with the team still leaking goals near the foot of the table, he was axed in November 2018.

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Premier League Files: Luke Shaw

Premier League Career: Southampton (2012-2014), Manchester United (2014-PRESENT)

In August 2018, Luke Shaw scored the first goal of his professional career and it turned out to be the matchwinner in the first match of the 2018-2019 Premier League campaign. The left-back’s effort in Manchester United’s 2-1 victory over Leicester City was also a personal triumph for a player who is still only 23 but has found the going incredibly tough at Old Trafford.

Although he was a Chelsea supporter growing up, Shaw entered the Southampton academy at the age of eight and became a regular in their Under-18 setup when he was just 15. It was clear that a bright future laid in-wait for him and in May 2012, he was offered a professional contract on Southampton’s promotion to the Premier League alongside fellow graduates Calum Chambers, Jack Stephens and James Ward-Prowse.

He made his Premier League debut in November 2012, starting the 1-1 home draw with Swansea City and playing 74 minutes of the match. In the process, he became the youngest Southampton player to start in the Premier League. He went on to play 24 further matches in the top-flight, setting up Jason Puncheon for an equalising goal at Stamford Bridge in January 2013 in what turned out to be Nigel Adkins’ final match as Saints boss.

Mauricio Pochettino embraced the youth policy when he succeeded Adkins and Shaw was one of the key components to blossom even further under the tutelage of the Argentine. His 2013-2014 campaign was sensational and he was nominated on the shortlist for the PFA Young Player of the Year as well as beating off competition from the likes of Leighton Baines and Aleksandar Kolarov to win the left-back vote in the PFA Team of the Year.

His development was also noticed by England manager Roy Hodgson who made Shaw a shock inclusion in the Three Lions 23-man World Cup squad for 2014 at the expense of the experienced Ashley Cole, who retired on the spot from international football as a result. Shaw was the youngest player to play in the Brazil 2014 competition when he started England’s final group game – the goalless draw with Costa Rica. However, he has seen the likes of Ryan Bertrand, Danny Rose and Ashley Young overtake him in the left-back pecking order and his lack of consistent form along with injuries meant he was overlooked for both EURO 2016 and the 2018 World Cup finals.

Four days after England’s disappointing World Cup 2014 campaign ended, Shaw’s anticipated move from Southampton to Manchester United was finally confirmed. The £30 million fee made him the most expensive teenager in world football for over a year until the same club bought Anthony Martial from AS Monaco.

A hamstring injury delayed his debut for the club until the end of September 2014 when he played the whole 90 minutes of Manchester United’s 2-1 success over West Ham United but he only made 16 league appearances in a frustrating season littered with niggling injuries. He also was red-carded for the first time in his career, receiving his marching orders in the closing stages of the return fixture with West Ham at Upton Park.

2015-2016 looked set to be a much better campaign for Shaw, who exceled in the early season matches, chalking up a couple of assists along the way. He was praised by both captain Wayne Rooney and manager Louis van Gaal but in Manchester United’s opening UEFA Champions League group stage match in Eindhoven, fate gave him a cruel blow. Shaw was on the wrong end of a dreadful tackle from PSV Eindhoven’s Mexican defender Hector Moreno and suffered a double leg fracture. He was given oxygen and treated by nine medical members from both teams in a challenge that was so bad; replays were not allowed to be shown by the match directors. His season was over before it hardly begun.

That summer, Jose Mourinho replaced Van Gaal as Manchester United boss and it started a chequered relationship between the Portuguese and Shaw, who was often on the wrong end of some stinging criticism from Mourinho. Sometimes, it was justified but on other occasions, people couldn’t help but think he was picking on Luke as an easy target. It came to a head in March 2018 when after he featured in Manchester United’s FA Cup quarter-final win against Brighton & Hove Albion, Mourinho said: “Luke – I cannot say much more. It is a relation with personality. It is a relation to trust, it is a relation to class. Luke, in the first half, every time they went in his corridor the cross was coming and a dangerous situation was coming, so I was not happy with the performance.”

Withdrawn at half-time of that match, it seriously looked like he would be completely frozen out of further matches. To Shaw’s credit though, he worked hard in pre-season and worked his way back into Mourinho’s thinking and has been the first-choice left-back for the bulk of the current campaign and one of United’s brighter sparks in what has been an awful domestic season so far, ultimately leading to Mourinho’s sacking before Christmas 2018.

Shaw has admitted the last few years have been tough and he even started seeing a psychologist after his leg break in 2015. However, he has earned himself a recall to the England squad and seems to be maturing into the player we all thought he would be from his early promise shown at Southampton.

Seasonal Stories: Norwich City (1994-1995)

A dramatic collapse

Norwich City’s Premier League season of 1994-1995 was a case of two halves. Less than two years after finishing third in the table, the Canaries slipped out of the top-flight after a dreadful 1995 that saw them win just once after New Years’ Day. Selling star assets such as Chris Sutton, Efan Ekoku and Mark Robins and not replacing them adequately enough eventually caught up with owner Robert Chase and the board.

That was despite sitting in sixth position in the table in December 1994…

Summer concerns

Norwich City went into the summer of 1994 fearing the worst. Only one win in their last nine matches had seen them finish the previous campaign in 12th position, having been as high as third spot in November.

Having scored 25 goals in the previous season, Chris Sutton was hot property and realistically, it was always going to be difficult for Norwich manager John Deehan to be able to persuade Sutton to stay. Sure enough, he did leave in a British transfer record fee for Blackburn Rovers with Norwich receiving £5 million.

Mike Sheron eventually arrived as Sutton’s replacement after finding his chances limited at Manchester City with Deehan trusting on Mark Robins and Efan Ekoku to provide the goals missing from Sutton’s departure. Other new arrivals included midfielder Mike Milligan from Oldham Athletic and a seven-figure fee was paid to Leeds United for defender Jon Newsome.

A strong first half

Norwich had shown in recent seasons that they would often start well and 1994-1995 was more proof of that. The Canaries conceded just two goals in their first five matches and they came in an opening day 2-0 defeat to Chelsea.

At the start of October, Blackburn Rovers and Leeds United were beaten and Queens Park Rangers shipped four goals on their visit to East Anglia. In fact, Norwich would remain unbeaten at Carrow Road until Boxing Day when they lost at home to Tottenham Hotspur.

Ekoku was controversially sold to Wimbledon during October for £900,000. Two weeks on from his departure, he scored the only goal of the game at Selhurst Park for his new club against his old employers infront of the Sky Sports cameras. It was another example of Robert Chase’s seeming desire to cash in on his talents having done the same with both Sutton and Ruel Fox.

Money was spent in December to bring in Ashley Ward who had a great goalscoring record in the lower divisions with Crewe Alexandra. He made a dream debut, scoring twice in a 3-0 victory at home to Chelsea. Ward would finish the season as the club’s top goalscorer with eight strikes. Despite the Tottenham loss on Boxing Day, Norwich were sitting in seventh position at close of play, 11 points clear of danger and ahead of some far more illustrious sides including Arsenal, Leeds United and Tottenham.

BOXING DAY 1994 TABLE

POS TABLE P W D L F A GD PTS
7 NORWICH CITY 20 8 6 6 19 17 +2 30
8 Tottenham Hotspur 20 8 5 7 34 34 0 29
9 Chelsea 20 8 4 8 28 26 +2 28
10 Manchester City 20 8 4 8 31 34 -3 28
11 Arsenal 20 6 7 7 23 22 +1 25
12 Coventry City 20 6 7 7 20 29 -9 25

Season-changing injury

Norwich travelled to Nottingham Forest on Tuesday 27th December 1994 boasting an impressive defensive record. Only the top two, Blackburn Rovers and Manchester United had conceded fewer goals. However, a season-changing injury at The City Ground would change that statistic drastically.

Scottish goalkeeper Bryan Gunn broke and dislocated an ankle whilst blocking a long-range shot from Ian Woan. It was a cruel blow and an injury that would rule him out for the rest of the season. Gunn was a big character, both on-the-pitch and in the dressing room and his absence was instantly felt. 19-year-old Andy Marshall came off the bench and promptly conceded the only goal of the match direct from a corner by Lars Bohinen.

Efforts were made to bring in emergency cover on-loan but nothing happened and Marshall would remain as the number one for the remainder of the campaign. It was another major error in a season that was about to fall apart for the club.

They did beat high-flying Newcastle United 2-1 on New Years’ Eve but that win was followed by an 11-match winless sequence that saw Deehan’s side drop into the bottom half of the table. Robins was the next star player to be sold, departing for Leicester City in January.

There was some light relief in mid-March when John Wark’s dismissal in the East Anglian Derby helped Norwich to a comfortable 3-0 victory over bottom-placed Ipswich Town. It did briefly take Norwich back into the top half of the table but it turned out to be their last win of the season.

Deehan departs

After a 3-0 defeat away to Newcastle United on 9th April, John Deehan handed in his resignation as manager after 15 months in the post. Three worrying defeats in eight days was the final straw. Supporters, growing impatient with both form on-the-pitch and players being sold by the board started to demonstrate against Chase’s running of the club. They even started a petition in vain to try and get their former manager Mike Walker back to the club after his nightmare reign at Everton.

The under-fire owner decided to hand the position of manager to Gary Megson but there was to be no happy ending. On 6th May 1995, Norwich slipped to a 2-1 defeat at Elland Road against Leeds United which confirmed their relegation from the Premier League. It was a seventh successive Premier League defeat. In total, the club picked up just 10 points from 20 Premier League matches in 1995 and that turned this campaign into an absolute disaster.

After failing to keep the Canaries up, Megson quit and Martin O’Neill was chosen as the man to take over in Division One. They would only finish 16th in the season afterwards and didn’t return to the Premier League until 2004.

FINAL 1994-1995 TABLE – THE BOTTOM SIX

POS TABLE P W D L F A GD PTS
17 Manchester City 42 12 13 17 53 64 -11 48
18 Aston Villa 42 11 15 16 51 56 -5 48
19 Crystal Palace 42 11 12 19 34 49 -15 45
20 NORWICH CITY 42 10 13 19 37 54 -17 43
21 Leicester City 42 6 11 25 45 80 -35 29
22 Ipswich Town 42 7 6 29 36 93 -57 27

Premier League Files: Clive Mendonca

Premier League Career: Charlton Athletic (1998-1999)

Clive Mendonca will always be linked with being a prominent part of Charlton Athletic’s sensational play-off final victory over Sunderland in 1998. He scored a magnificent hat-trick in the 4-4 draw which the Addicks went on to win on penalties, with Clive also converting his spot-kick in the shootout.

Mendonca started his professional career with Sheffield United in 1986 and also had periods in his career with Doncaster Rovers and Rotherham United. His best spells though were saved for Charlton and Grimsby Town. At Grimsby, he scored 60 goals in 166 appearances and is widely regarded as one of the club’s greatest forwards.

He moved to Charlton in the summer of 1997, scoring 28 times in an unforgettable campaign which ended with that wonderful day at Wembley against the Black Cats which was the club he supported as a boy. He made an amazing start to his Premier League career too, scoring another hat-trick in Charlton’s first match at home against Southampton. Alan Curbishley’s side won 5-0 and spent the weekend on top of the Premier League table.

He finished with eight goals in 24 appearances but injuries were starting to take their toll on Mendonca. His last game in the Charlton line-up came in December 1999 in the First Division. After over two years of constant setbacks, he announced his retirement in February 2002 after being advised by specialists that a further operation on his hip could leave him with permanent damage and possibly a disability.

In 2012, he was inducted into the Charlton Hall of Fame and now works at the Nissan car plant in Sunderland.

Premier League Files: Christian Ziege

Premier League Career: Middlesbrough (1999-2000), Liverpool FC (2000-2001), Tottenham Hotspur (2001-2004)

German international Christian Ziege enjoyed a glorious career, winning plenty of honours at a young age and only a freakish injury whilst at Tottenham Hotspur cut short a pretty impressive spell in the Premier League.

A left wing-back by trade, Ziege started his playing career with the mighty Bayern Munich. He made his Bundesliga debut in 1990 as an 18-year-old and spent the next seven years winning three trophies with the Bavarians. These were two Bundesliga titles and the UEFA Cup in 1996. Ziege showed his instincts in attack too, achieving double figures for goals in two campaigns with his 12 goals in 29 matches from the 1994-1995 season being his best individual season, actually ending as Bayern’s top scorer.

Capped by Germany for the first time in 1993, he missed out narrowly on the 1994 World Cup squad but was a prominent part of their success in the 1996 European Championships in England. Ziege scored in Germany’s opening group win over the Czech Republic and was one of the six successful Germans to score in the semi-final shootout success against the hosts at Wembley Stadium.

Ziege was a man in-demand by the summer of 1997. He received offers from Barcelona, Juventus, Atletico Madrid and Newcastle United but with Serie A still experiencing a boom of getting many top players, Ziege elected to move to AC Milan. He spent two seasons at The San Siro but faced stiff competition from Milan legend Paolo Maldini in his preferred position. Ziege did win the Serie A championship in 1999 but struggled to settle in the fashionable Italian city and chose to leave for the Premier League that summer.

His first port of call was Middlesbrough. He impressed hugely in his only season on Teeside, scoring six goals in 29 appearances and winning a recall to the German international setup for their doomed EURO 2000 title defence. After returning from their group stage exit, Liverpool FC made a £5.5 million bid to acquire Ziege’s services. This matched a clause in his contract which meant he had to talk to the Merseysiders. Middlesbrough insisted they’d received offers in the region of £8 million for the player but Christian would ultimately move to Anfield. The FA later found Liverpool guilty of making an illegal approach and in March 2002, fined the club £20,000 and the player £10,000.

Liverpool had an amazing 2000-2001 season, winning three cup competitions and earning UEFA Champions League football. However, the improving form of Jamie Carragher meant Ziege was not a guaranteed starter and he admitted in a FourFourTwo interview that for playing purposes, his move to Liverpool had been a mistake. He said: “Unfortunately I had some problems, problems with the manager [Gerard Houllier] and I still don’t know what his problem was with me. He never talked to me. I realised it was a bad move because I really enjoyed my time playing for Boro.”

Ziege played in the League Cup final victory over Birmingham City, scoring in the shootout but didn’t even make the bench for their sensational 5-4 UEFA Cup final success against Alaves in Dortmund. With a World Cup finals looming in Asia, he needed to leave to retain his national team appeal. He moved to Tottenham Hotspur in the summer of 2001 and rediscovered his form from his Middlesbrough days. Ziege scored five times in the Premier League, including a diving header against Manchester United. He linked up well with the likes of Gus Poyet, Simon Davies and Teddy Sheringham as Tottenham reached the League Cup final. Ziege scored in the showpiece but this time, it was a losing cause as Glenn Hoddle’s side lost 2-1 to Blackburn Rovers. His form was enough for him to feature prominently at the 2002 World Cup, reaching the final as Germany lost 2-0 to a Ronaldo-inspired Brazil in Yokohama.

Throughout the years, he developed a reputation as a fearsome direct set-piece taker. This was demonstrated in the North London Derby of December 2002 at White Hart Lane. Less than two weeks later, his career was nearly cut short after two dramatic matches in a few days.

First, despite setting up two goals in Tottenham’s 3-2 victory over Manchester City, he was sent off for two bookable offences in the closing stages. On Boxing Day, he suffered a similar fate in the 2-2 home draw with Charlton Athletic. However, it was the aftermath that left more than his footballing life in the balance.

In the FourFourTwo interview, he revealed: “I was close to dying. I was playing for Tottenham against Charlton and I got a knock on my thigh. It wasn’t a big kick but my leg swelled up really badly after the match. I was in massive, massive pain. They operated on me, and I can’t remember too much about the next few days because they put me on a lot of medication to help relieve the pain. They told me if we’d left it another 30 or 45 minutes, they would have had to cut off the leg as otherwise I would have died.”

Ziege left Tottenham Hotspur in the summer of 2004 and returned to Germany to finish his career with Borussia Mönchengladbach. A persistent ankle injury restricted him to 13 appearances only and in October 2005, he announced his retirement.

Christian has gone into coaching since. He has had spells as manager of DSC Arminia Bielefeld and SpVgg Unterhaching, worked as a coach with the German international junior sides and moved to coach in Thailand in December 2017. However, he departed by mutual consent after just two games.

Premier League Files: Danny Ings

Premier League Career: Burnley (2014-2015), Liverpool FC (2015-2018), Southampton (2018-PRESENT)

In April 2018, Danny Ings opened the scoring for Liverpool FC in their 2-2 away draw with West Bromwich Albion. It ended a 930-day drought without a goal in the Premier League and no-one could deny him the feeling of finding the target again. This is after a horrendous couple of seasons with two serious knee injuries. He decided to return to the team where he started his career in his youth days, Southampton in August 2018.

Released as a schoolboy by the Saints, Ings signed a two-year apprentice contract with their south coast rivals, AFC Bournemouth shortly afterwards and he made 27 appearances for their first-team between 2009 and 2011. He moved to Burnley in the summer of 2011 and linked up again with Eddie Howe, who was Burnley manager at the time and had been the Bournemouth boss whilst Ings was with the Cherries.

His first-team breakthrough looked like it would come in the 2012-2013 season following the departure of Jay Rodriguez to Southampton but after impressing in pre-season, he suffered a serious knee injury, tearing his knee cartilage and forcing him out of action for six months.

Finally, Danny managed to stay clear of the treatment table in 2013-2014 and revelled in the opportunity to play on a week-to-week basis. He ended the season with an impressive tally of 22 goals as Burnley finished second to Leicester City and won promotion to the Premier League. He also held off competition from Leicester’s Danny Drinkwater and Ross McCormack of Leeds United to be voted the Championship Player of the Year at the Football League Awards.

The big question now was whether he could make the step-up successfully to Premier League level. 11 goals in 35 appearances suggested he did in 2014-2015. It took him a while to score his first goal in the top-flight but when it came in a 3-1 home defeat to Everton, it was the lift-off Ings needed for his season. He struck twice in two minutes to ensure Burnley recorded their first away victory of the campaign in November 2014 away at Stoke City and finished as the club’s top scorer for the second successive season.

Ings joined Liverpool FC in the summer of 2015 and was looking to continue his good form from the previous two seasons. His first Premier League goal for the Reds came at The Kop end in September 2015, three minutes after arriving as a half-time substitute in the 1-1 draw with Norwich City. A month later, he opened the scoring in the Merseyside Derby in what turned out to be Brendan Rodgers’ final match in-charge of Liverpool.

Jurgen Klopp succeeded Rodgers and in his very first training session, Ings cruelly suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury and was ruled out for the rest of the campaign. His rehabilitation went better than expected and he made a substitute appearance on the final day of the season at West Bromwich Albion. He began 2016-2017 in the reserves’ side in a bid to regain full match fitness with some sporadic outings in League Cup matches. Unfortunately, he replicated his previous injury in his right knee during a League Cup tie with Tottenham Hotspur in October 2016, keeping him on the sidelines again for a lengthy spell. After 11 months absent he returned in September 2017 to first-team action with a substitute appearance in the League Cup loss to Leicester City.

Ings was well-liked by the coaching staff at Melwood and fitted in well into Klopp’s DNA style of high-pressing gameplay. However, the temptation to play more regularly couldn’t be ignored and Southampton snapped him up on the final day of the 2018 summer transfer window, initially on-loan but confirming they would activate an option to make the transfer permanent this summer.

Ings settled in straightaway with goals against Everton, Crystal Palace and Brighton & Hove Albion and looks set to have a big impact on the south coast in the coming years.

Iconic Moments: Keane’s brutal revenge (April 2001)

Roy Keane was never a player to mess around with and his feud with the Norwegian midfielder Alf-Inge Haaland was one of the most explosive with brutal revenge dished out.

The issue began in September 1997 when Keane was injured at Elland Road against Leeds United. The Irishman had been trying to tackle Haaland and in the process, injured his anterior cruciate ligament. The recently-appointed United skipper was stretchered from the field of play and would miss the rest of the season with the injury. Haaland showed no symphony and suggested Keane had feigned injury in trying to avoid punishment. Four years later, no mercy was shown.

In the Manchester Derby of April 2001, Keane saw his opportunity. He lunged in with a sickening tackle on Haaland’s right knee with Haaland now playing for Manchester City. Referee David Elleray had little choice but to send Keane off for the fourth time in his professional career. He was eventually fined £155,000 and received an eight-game ban after admitting in a biography that it was an act of vengeance over the criticism he received back in September 1997.

Haaland was forced to retire from professional football in July 2003 after failing to regain full fitness. He only played another five club games after the tackle and whilst it seems like wounds have healed since the incident, it remains one of the most dangerous and ugliest tackles and feuds we’ve seen between two opposition players in Premier League history.

Premier League Files: Michu

Premier League Career: Swansea City (2012-2014)

He arrived quietly, became one of Swansea’s most revered players and then left almost as silently as he arrived. Michu will sadly go down as a one-season wonder in the Premier League. He was sensational in 2012-2013, scoring 22 goals in all competitions during his first season in south Wales and being linked with clubs like Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal. He also won one international cap for Spain.

Unfortunately, injury struggles hindered his progress afterwards and in 2017, he decided to call time on his career at the age of just 31. Born in Oviedo, Michu started his career with his hometown club, playing 100 times from 2003 to 2007. He had a good goalscoring pedigree even as an attacking midfielder in Spain and that reputation continued during stints with Celta Vigo and Rayo Vallecano. He even scored twice in the Bernabeu with the latter club, although this did come in a 6-2 loss to Real Madrid.

Michu joined Swansea in July 2012, costing the club £2 million. He was seen as a replacement for the Tottenham-bound Gylfi Sigurdsson, playing in just behind the main striker. He made an electrifying start to Premier League life, netting twice on his debut in Swansea’s excellent 5-0 away win on the opening weekend of the season at Queens Park Rangers. Goals followed in home matches with West Ham United and Sunderland. He didn’t stop scoring for the majority of the season, also netting in Swansea’s 5-0 League Cup victory against League One outfit Bradford City. In total, he scored 18 Premier League goals and 22 in all competitions and swept the awards’ board with both fans and his fellow teammates.

There were high expectations going into the 2013-2014 season and there were early season strikes to save a point at home to Liverpool FC and then, opening the scoring in a 2-0 away triumph at Crystal Palace. However, this turned out to be his last goal in the Premier League. He was loaned to Napoli for the following season but only appeared six times for the Italian giants due to injury and was eventually released by Swansea in November 2015. After one final year back at Real Oviedo, he hung up his playing boots in July 2017, with recurring ankle injuries to blame for his fall from grace. He has since stated he would like to remain in football in a coaching capacity.

Premier League Files: Mikael Forssell

Premier League Career: Chelsea (1998-1999, 2001-2002, 2005), Birmingham City (2003-2004, 2007-2008)

Still playing in his home country for HIFK Fotboll, Mikael Forssell didn’t win any major honours in the English game but he was a talented forward who knew where the back of the net was. He was an example to how fruitful the loan system can be when he scored 17 goals for Birmingham City in the 2003-2004 campaign.

Although he was born in Germany, Forssell came through the youth ranks with Finnish team HJK Helsinki and he made his professional debut for them in 1997. Just when it looked like he would continue his education in the Bundesliga with Bayer Leverkusen, Chelsea were quick to bring him into their team a year later. Managed at the time by Gianluca Vialli, he was the perfect mentor for Forssell to learn his trade, given Vialli’s experience at the highest level. He made his Premier League debut in January 1999 against Arsenal as a substitute and scored his first top-flight goal later that season away to Nottingham Forest.

Vialli’s expensive purchase of Chris Sutton for the 1999-2000 season pushed Forssell down the pecking order. He would go out on-loan for the next two seasons to Crystal Palace, scoring 16 league goals in just over 50 appearances. He returned to Chelsea and figured around their first-team squad in 2001-2002. Now managed by Claudio Ranieri, he featured 22 times that season and scored four Premier League goals. However, he was still largely a substitute with the likes of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Eidur Gudjohnsen and Gianfranco Zola often selected ahead of this raw talent.

He went out on-loan again in the spring of 2003, scoring seven times for Borussia Monchengladbach in just 16 matches and keeping them clear of relegation danger. He returned to England that summer and made another temporary move, this time to Birmingham City. It was here where Forssell really sparkled. He scored 17 times in the Premier League and only Thierry Henry, Alan Shearer, Louis Saha and Ruud van Nistelrooy managed a higher goal tally that season. Birmingham finished in the top 10 thanks to his predatory instincts infront of goal. One criticism was his lack of team play at home to Leeds United in March 2004. Birmingham were already 3-1 up and Bryan Hughes had scored twice. When the Blues were awarded a penalty, Hughes wanted to take it to complete the first hat-trick of his club career. Regular penalty-taker Forssell was not interested and Hughes was seen storming away in frustration at not being given this opportunity. Luckily, Forssell converted the spot-kick.

He returned to Birmingham for another loan campaign in 2004-2005 but sustained a serious knee injury away at Middlesbrough in September. Steve Bruce had little choice but to cancel the loan agreement due to the lengthy spell he was going to experience on the sidelines. He returned to Chelsea to recuperate and even played a part in the club’s final home match of the season, a 1-0 victory over Charlton Athletic. Although he could take part in the team’s celebrations of winning their first top-flight title in 50 years, this was his solitary league appearance for Chelsea, so he didn’t qualify for a championship-winning medal.

Jose Mourinho decided the forward did not fit into his long-term plans and when Everton withdrew from a potential deal because of concerns over his fitness, Birmingham paid Chelsea £3 million to sign him in the summer of 2005. Unfortunately, more knee problems meant he was never quite the same player that scored all those goals in his first loan season in the Midlands. He did score his first hat-trick at club level against Tottenham Hotspur in March 2008 and scored nine times in 2007-2008 but couldn’t stop Birmingham sliding to a second Premier League demise in just three campaigns.

He has since played for Hannover 96, Leeds United and VfL Bochum along with two separate spells back at HJK Helsinki. He won 87 caps for his country, scoring 29 times between 1999 and 2014.

There was talent in Mikael Forssell’s game and it is impressive to see him still playing at the age of 36 but his career could have gone better if it hadn’t been for his constant knee problems.

Iconic Moments: Arsenal’s awful day at St Andrew’s (February 2008)

Arsenal arrived at St Andrew’s in February 2008 as favourites to win the Premier League title. Arsene Wenger’s side were playing some swashbuckling football and had established a handy seven-point lead over Manchester United. They had lost just once all season and were facing a Birmingham side that looked like a team who would be scrapping for survival right until the end of the campaign. They left a broken side and it was a psychological blow they wouldn’t recover from.

The game was just over a minute old when Arsenal forward Eduardo was tackled by Birmingham defender Martin Taylor. It wasn’t a good challenge and a red card was immediately brandished by Mike Dean. As Taylor received his marching orders, Arsenal players and experienced physio Gary Lewin immediately called for the stretcher. Eduardo had suffered a dreadful double leg fracture in the tackle and it was so gruesome, none of the TV companies broadcasting the match live could show what had happened. Although Eduardo would go onto play professionally again, he never looked the same after these events.

The Arsenal players looked haunted by what they had just witnessed and there was more to come. A double from Theo Walcott meant they’d battled into a 2-1 lead but then, they conceded a penalty in injury-time. Captain William Gallas was so disgusted with the decision; he threw a petty strop, walking to the other side of the pitch. James McFadden would convert the spot-kick to earn a share of the spoils for Birmingham. Afterwards, Wenger couldn’t hide his anger at the Eduardo injury, saying: “That is a joke. The tackle was horrendous and I don’t think that Taylor should play again. When these tackles happen, they always say that he is not that sort of player. But you only have to kill someone once and you have a dead person.”

He would later retract those comments on an awful day for Arsenal. They wouldn’t win any of their next four matches and ultimately finished third, four points behind champions Manchester United.

Premier League Files: Jimmy Bullard

Premier League Career: Wigan Athletic (2005-2006), Fulham (2006-2009), Hull City (2009-2010)

Jimmy Bullard was one of the funniest footballers in the last 15 years. You could always see the passion he would have for the game and also, his determination to have a bit of fun whilst doing it. He figured for Wigan Athletic, Fulham and Hull City and has also had a spell in management with non-league side Leatherhead since retirement in 2012.

A West Ham United supporter as a boy, Jimmy was signed by the club in 1999 after some non-league appearances with Gravesend & Northfleet. However, he never managed to make the breakthrough at Upton Park and was given a free transfer two seasons later. He rebuilt his career at Peterborough United, scoring 11 times in 66 appearances, before being snapped up by Wigan Athletic in January 2003 for £275,000.

He helped Wigan secure promotion to the Premier League in 2005 and became an important figure in their debut season in the top-flight. Bullard scored a late winner in a 2-1 success at West Bromwich Albion in September and struck another three goals, including a goal against Arsenal. His antics became almost as common as his play on-the-pitch. In a match against Everton, he famously leapfrogged a pile of players in a goalmouth scramble, resulting in him falling on his face!

Fulham were impressed by Bullard’s performances and triggered a clause in his contract which saw the Cottagers’ pay Wigan £2.5 million for his services in May 2006. He made an instant impact, scoring goals to rescue a point at home to Bolton Wanderers and a free-kick winner to overcome Sheffield United. Sadly, he sustained a dislocated kneecap in the club’s next match away at St James’ Park. He would be on the sidelines for a minimum of nine months with cruciate knee ligament damage. The injury would ultimately keep him out of action until January 2008. A month later, he scored a brilliant free-kick to defeat Aston Villa and his joy was crystal clear. He even hugged referee Chris Foy at the full-time whistle which just showed how happy he was to be back on the football field.

Bullard’s performances in the second half of the season were a crucial part in Fulham escaping relegation on the final day. Despite starting 2008-2009 in arguably the best form of his career, negotiations over a new contract stalled and in December 2008, the west Londoners decided that Jimmy could surprisingly leave the club. A month later, he joined Hull City for a club-record fee of £5 million.

In an interview with the BBC’s Football Focus shortly after his arrival, Bullard said: “I didn’t feel I had the backing from the club, so I felt like it was time to move on. I felt like Fulham didn’t want me and it was as simple as that really. I was in talks with Fulham over a contract and I was told I’m not getting a new contract and I can leave in January.”

He made his Hull debut a week after his arrival against West Ham but sustained further knee damage in that match and this ended his season prematurely after more surgery. After a nine-month absence, he returned to the Hull squad and made an immediate contribution, scoring twice against the Hammers’ in a 3-3 draw and striking the equalising penalty in a 1-1 draw with Manchester City. He famously imitated Hull manager Phil Brown’s on-pitch team talk from the same fixture the previous season in his celebration which luckily went down well with his boss. Another knee injury was sustained in the next fixture against Aston Villa which kept him out for eight further weeks and it became clear the supporters were getting frustrated with his constant injury absences. Hull ended the season in the bottom three and were relegated to the Championship.

Jimmy was one of the club’s highest earners and with the debt piling up; he was allowed to leave that summer. However, his wage demands put many teams off, as well as his injury record. A loan move to Celtic collapsed and he stayed at Hull until January 2011, when he joined Ipswich Town on-loan. He eventually retired from football in October 2012 after a very brief spell at Milton Keynes Dons.

He moved into management in the 2016-2017 season, spending a year with Leatherhead. He won 19 of his 47 matches in charge but resigned at the end of the campaign. Since retirement, Bullard has been a regular on our TV screens, appearing in ‘I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!’ in 2014. He is now one of the three main hosts on the Sky Sports Saturday morning magazine show, Soccer AM.

Premier League Files: Matt Jarvis

Premier League Career: Wolverhampton Wanderers (2009-2012), West Ham United (2012-2015), Norwich City (2015-2016)

Middlesbrough-born Matt Jarvis is now 31 and has experienced the highs of being capped by England in his career. Unfortunately, injuries and a bad career move to West Ham United in 2012 have seen his footballing spell hindered. He is still with Norwich City in the SkyBet Championship but his total of just 16 appearances in two and a half campaigns shows the battles he constantly seems to be having with the treatment table.

Jarvis got a decent upbringing before making his impact on the football field. His parents both were professional table tennis players and among the best in Britain at the time. With 10 GCSE qualifications, Matt excelled in his education but football was his pure love and he tried to make his mark at Millwall as a youth team player. It didn’t quite work out as hoped in London but Gillingham rescued him from the scrapheap, signing him initially as a trainee. The Kent-based club were forced to give him a first-team debut at the age of just 17 in the Football League when a flu bug crippled their senior players. He impressed enough to earn his first professional deal before the end of the 2003-2004 campaign.

He would make over 100 appearances for Gillingham and plenty of higher-profile clubs expressed an interest in his services. Nottingham Forest and Plymouth Argyle both had transfer bids rebuffed but Wolverhampton Wanderers were more successful and snapped him up in June 2007 with Matt stalling over a contract extension at the Priestfield Stadium. Hip and groin injuries delayed his debut for Wolves by three months but he quickly became a key player for the Midlands club and helped them win promotion back to the Premier League after a five-year exile in 2009.

Jarvis continued to shine in the Premier League, scoring three goals in 2009-2010 as Wolves avoided relegation with a strong second half of the campaign. His goals included an equaliser in a 2-2 draw with Hull City and the third goal in an impressive performance away at Upton Park. His form and goals ratio improved in the following season, even if the team continued to battle against survival. Jarvis’ highlight for the club in 2010-2011 was a winning goal in a local derby with Midlands rivals Aston Villa. However, his personal success came a few days after this winner at Villa Park. He was selected by Fabio Capello for the England international squad for games against Wales and Ghana. He was unused in Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium against the Welsh but came off the bench to feature at Wembley against the Africans. In doing so, he became the first Wolverhampton Wanderers player to feature for England since Steve Bull back in 1990. It would turn out to be his solitary international cap.

His best goalscoring season followed in 2011-2012, netting eight times including two goals in an entertaining 4-4 draw away at Swansea City. Unfortunately by this point, Wolves’ relegation back to the Championship had been confirmed and it was evident that he would have to leave Molineux to further his career.

West Ham United were the club who pursued him vigorously in the summer of 2012 and he eventually joined them in August for a club-record fee. The early signs were encouraging. Jarvis scored the opening goal in a 2-1 victory at Queens Park Rangers in October and he featured in 32 matches for Sam Allardyce. During the season, Matt made 171 open-play crosses in the Premier League which was the most for any outfield player in 2012-2013. The next two seasons were a real struggle though and he was loaned out to Norwich City for the 2015-2016 campaign. He scored on his Canaries’ debut in a 3-1 home triumph over AFC Bournemouth and quickly made the loan a permanent move. Norwich paid £2.5 million for his services which suggested a huge financial loss to West Ham, who had forked out over £10 million for the player three seasons earlier.

His last full game in professional football came in May 2016 when Norwich lost 3-0 on the final day of the 2015-2016 season to Everton. A knee ligament injury followed that pre-season which initially ruled the winger out for three months. Further setbacks have followed since which has restricted him to just one 90-minute appearance in the EFL Trophy last December against a Swansea City Under-23 side. It remains unclear whether he will play again at the top level.

Matt Jarvis is another example of a player who had plenty of talent which was shown at more unfashionable clubs but struggled when it came to replicating this for higher-profile teams. Whilst all hope he can bounce back from the injury niggles at Norwich, it is highly likely that he has already seen the best days in his career.