Frozen out: A Prem XI that hasn’t even made the bench

Date published: Friday 27th September 2019 8:54

Those who have been injured or suspended for most of the season are not included. Much like this XI, who have not been included in the Premier League all season…

 

GK: Scott Carson (Manchester City)
Last seen
: The Champions League winner was on the bench – ready to pounce like a middle-aged cat – as Claudio Bravo kept a clean sheet in a 3-0 win over Preston in the Carabao Cup this week. In terms of actual football, he last played in the Championship for Derby in March, before being dropped for the run-in following an eight-game spell without a clean sheet. Will he ever play for City? Does it matter? He is second only to Andy Lonergan in our list of favourite old goalkeepers bizarrely named in Premier League squads this season. It’s not a long list.

 

RB: Cuco Martina (Everton)
Last seen: Playing for Everton’s Under-23 side after being left entirely out of Marco Silva’s first-team plans. He “has known everything since the first day of pre-season” according to Silva, who understandably prefers both Seamus Coleman and Djibril Sidibe at right-back to the Curacao captain, who ended last season on an improbable loan to Feyenoord. He last played for Everton in March 2018 as a left-back; he will not play for Everton again.

 

CB: Shkrodan Mustafi (Arsenal)
Last seen: Keeping his second clean sheet of the season in a 5-0 win over Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup and then sarcastically apologising for keeping two consecutive clean sheets (the first came against Eintracht Frankfurt) on social media. Arsenal desperately tried to sell Mustafi in the summer – and in pretty much every window since he arrived in London – but he stubbornly remains and has so far played excellently for the Gunners in cup competitions while they are chaotic without him in the Premier League.

 

CB: Dejan Lovren (Liverpool)
Last seen: Looking pretty rusty in a 2-0 Carabao Cup victory over MK Dons alongside Liverpool’s third-choice centre-half Joe Gomez. That was his 171st appearance for Liverpool and he has looked solid for roughly nine of those. The future is Red and the future does not include the Croatian.

 

LB: Leighton Baines (Everton)
Last seen: He made it as far as the bench as the Toffees triumphed over Lincoln in the Carabao Cup but Marco Silva has so far decided to over-work Lucas Digne rather than turn to the 34-year-old who was last seen limping off a Premier League pitch in February. It’s hard to see why Everton gave Baines a one-year contract this summer, though we are incredibly grateful as it gives us an international back four for our Frozen Out XI.

 

RW: Harvey Elliott (Liverpool)
Last seen: Being bloody brilliant in the Carabao Cup. Can you be frozen out at 16? Can you balls. But Elliott is so good that we expect to see him to follow Rhian Brewster onto a Premier League bench soon. Liverpool’s squad is so small precisely because Jurgen Klopp believes that players like Elliott – who could be a bargain even at £7m for a 16-year-old – can step up this season. Things are going to get fascinating if Liverpool lose two of their front three.

 

CM: Daniel Amartey (Leicester City)
Last seen: On the bench, looking on as Leicester City beat Luton Town in the Carabao Cup. The Ghanaian is behind a whole host of brilliant young central midfielders and right-backs at Leicester and must be ruing the ankle injury that prevented him leaving the club in August. “He hasn’t been able to train fully all of the time,” said Brendan Rodgers, who is probably as baffled as we are that Amartey was being picked as the Foxes’ right-back ahead of Ricardo Pereira a year ago.

 

CM: Tom Dele-Bashiru (Watford)
Last seen: Being named on the 40-man shortlist for this year’s Golden Boy awards, which means he’s viewed as one of the 40 best Under-21 players in Europe. Unfortunately, he is not viewed as one of the best 18 players at Watford after joining this summer from Manchester City. So far, his only football has been the 18 minutes he played in the Carabao Cup against Coventry; he did not even get off the bench this week as the Hornets squeezed past Swansea.

 

LW: Emile Smith Rowe (Arsenal)
Last seen: Being stretchered from the pitch after a clash of heads in the Carabao Cup this week. Thankfully, it was only concussion, but it is a setback the 19-year-old did not need as the Gunners prepare for a busy spell of Premier League, Europa League and League Cup games. Unai Emery has given Premier League minutes to five Under-21 players this season but Smith Rowe appears to have been left behind as Joe Willock, Reiss Nelson and now Bukayo Saka have established themselves in his first-team plans.

 

ST: Oumar Niasse (Everton)
Last seen: Not entirely helping Cardiff in their bid for Premier League survival with a 13-game loan spell in which he failed to score a goal. Now very much fourth-choice striker at Everton after the arrival of Moise Kean, the poor Senegalese striker has accidentally got stuck at the club. “He understood my plans and, unfortunately for him and us, we didn’t find the right move for him,” said Marco Silva. We hope he has at least given him a locker.

 

ST: Leon Clarke (Sheffield United)
Last seen: Playing 33 minutes off the bench in a 1-0 Carabao Cup defeat against Sunderland this week. As he was one of the few to escape the wrath of Chris Wilder (“the two centre forwards that came on were good”), maybe the door to a Premier League bench place will be left a little ajar. He ended last season on loan at Wigan and was told in no uncertain terms that he was free to leave the Blades this summer, but the 34-year-old clearly decided that this might be his last chance to finally play in the Premier League.

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