In a world of 25-man squads but still only 11 starting berths out on the pitch, it’s inevitable that some players are going to struggle for game time. Balancing a squad and keeping everyone happy is actually one of the most difficult aspects of modern football management, and we see footballers seeking out pastures new when they aren’t getting enough minutes out on the pitch every transfer window.
Not all players seem as bothered about sitting on the bench or not making the first team squad at all. Take Stuart Taylor, who has played fewer than 100 games over the course of a 20-year career with the likes of Arsenal, Man City and Aston Villa. I mean, just look at that, an average of fewer than 4 games a season and more 0’s than Jeff Bezos’ bank account.
Anyhow, even players lacking in game time tend to get a sub appearance or a start in one of the cup competitions. It’s highly irregular, especially for a senior outfield player, to get no minutes at all. It is exactly those irregular cases that were are interested in here though…
Here are 7 footballers who played 0 minutes of football last season:
7. Rob Green
I’m limiting this seven to just one goalkeeper since it is less unusual for a second or third choice ‘keeper to go long stretches without getting a look in. The one we’ve gone with is Rob Green, who retired from football this summer with 267 Premier League appearances to his name. None of those appearances came this season though, as Green lifted the Europa League trophy in Baku despite not even having been on the bench. The 2018-19 season was almost Green’s second consecutive season without playing a single game, but he played once for Leeds in 2017-18.
6. Winston Reid
From a former West Ham player to a current one, in at sixth is New Zealand captain Winston Reid. Reid has been with West Ham for almost a decade now, during which time he has played over 200 games for the club and even won the Hammers Player of the Year award in 2012-13. He famously scored the last ever goal at Upton Park as West Ham beat Manchester United, but he hasn’t played a single game since picking up a horrible cruciate ligament injury in March 2018. He returned to training in January 2019, but 15 months on from the original injury, he didn’t play a single minute last season.
5. Brendan Galloway
Cast your minds back to 2015 and Brendan Galloway was one of the most highly-regarded young footballers in England. A regular in the England youth teams, he had a growing reputation at Everton, making 19 appearances in the 2015-16 season, the majority of which he spent as a 19-year-old. There was some surprise when he was allowed to join West Brom on-loan for the following campaign then, and even more surprise when Tony Pulis only gave him three league games after the Baggies paid £1 million to take him for a season. An equally forgettable spell at Sunderland followed, and back at Goodison this season, Galloway hasn’t played a single minute of football for Marco Silva’s first team. He still has a year left on the lucrative five-year contract he signed back in 2015.
4. Connor Randall
From the blue half of Merseyside to the red side, Liverpool right-back Connor Randall also hasn’t played a single minute of first team football this season. Randall played 7 games for the Reds back in 2015-16, and having impressed at Hearts in the season before last, some thought he might get a chance after Nathaniel Clyne was loaned out and Trent Alexander-Arnold picked up an injury. He didn’t. Randall didn’t play a single minute, and Liverpool have already confirmed that both he and Adam Bogdan will be leaving Anfield this summer.
3. Marvin Compper
Heading north of the border, experienced Celtic centre-back Marvin Compper hasn’t played a senior game of football since March 2018, and he hasn’t played a league game since December 2017. The once-capped German international, whose cap came more than 10 years ago now, has previously been a regular at Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig. Celtic paid £1 million to acquire his services 18 months ago, and he still has another year left on his current deal.
2. Marco van Ginkel
Marco van Ginkel joined Chelsea back in 2013 for around £8 million, and in the six years since, he has played 4 games for the club in all competitions. Like Michael Hector and Lucas Piazon, van Ginkel is a serial loanee stuck in the Chelsea machine – and also like those two – he’s not even young anymore, aged 26. An industrious central midfielder with good feet, van Ginkel has previously been on-loan at AC Milan, Stoke City and PSV, but he spent last season at Stamford Bridge where he didn’t play a single minute. Still, he is supposedly picking up £28,000 a week which might make you feel a little less sorry for him.
1. Eliaquim Mangala
Eliaquim Mangala was once Man City’s record signing according to certain sources, with some reports suggesting the club paid as much as £42 million to bring the Frenchman to the Etihad from Porto. The Citizens went through a period of really struggling to find a settled centre-back partnership, and Mangala only really brought more chaos in his first two seasons. He spent a season on-loan at Valencia, before getting injured during a half-season on-loan at Everton. Man City are obviously looking to sell the 28-year-old, and they handed him a new one-year deal in March so he wouldn’t leave on a free this summer. Having played 0 minutes last season though, that could backfire if no-one fancies paying the Premier League winners reported £100,000 a week wages.