Frozen out: The players yet to make a Premier League bench…

Ian Watson

These are the players who have failed to make a Premier League match-day squad for their club this season, despite being (mostly) fit and (in theory) able…



Mesut Ozil – Not sure if you heard, but Arsenal’s most-capped international was left out of Mikel Arteta’s Premier League and Europa League squads.

Sokratis – The Greek defender’s omission from Arsenal’s squads was overshadowed by Ozil being shunted out. Out of contract at the end of the season and almost certain to go in January.

William SalibaThe French centre-back is ‘fed up’ after getting only a sniff of action as an unused substitute in the Community Shield and Carabao Cup. Arteta’s not too chuffed with the situation either. 

Emile Smith Rowe – The 20-year-old hasn’t been seen since making the bench for the Community Shield win over Liverpool. Not helped by a shoulder injury immediately afterwards, but Smith Rowe would have hoped for more involvement since Arsenal rebuffed any approaches for another loan move this summer.

Reiss Nelson – The winger has featured in the Europa League but hasn’t come close to adding to his 17 Premier League appearances last season.

Cedric Soares – The Portuguese right-back has played in every competition for Arsenal this season other than the Premier League.

READ MORE: No panic yet but Arteta needs an Arsenal reaction


Aston Villa

Henri Lansbury – The 30-year-old started all three of Villa’s Carabao Cup matches but having been left out of the Premier League squad, he’s no hope of any action now before January.

Frederic Guilbert – The French right-back made Dean Smith’s 25-man squad but the bench has been a step too far this season.

Lovre Kalinic – Fourth choice at Villa but on Croatia’s bench last week. Go figure.


Max Sanders – The highly-rated academy graduate impressed in the Carabao Cup, just not enough yet to earn a spot on Graham Potter’s bench. Sanders, a 21-year-old midfielder, will probably go out on loan again in January to supplement the first-team experience he enjoyed at AFC Wimbledon last season.



Lukas Jenson – Fourth-choice keeper klaxon.



Danny Drinkwater – A reminder that former footballer Drinkwater will continue to be paid £100,000 a week by Chelsea until 2022.

Baba Rahman – The 26-year-old somehow earned a Ghana recall this month after two appearances for Chelsea’s reserves.

READ MORE: One per club: Worst transfer business of 2020 – Drinkwater features twice

Crystal Palace

Nothing to see here. James Tomkins, Connor Wickham and Nathan Ferguson have all been crocked.



Yannick Bolasie – Left out of Everton’s Premier League squad and saw a Middlesbrough loan move collapse, which means his only action now comes for DR Congo.

Beni Baningime – The midfielder, once compared to Claude Makelele and N’Golo Kante (according to David Unsworth), failed to secure a loan move in the summer and has seen action only in the Under-23s.

Matthew Pennington – As above. Minus the Makelele and Kante stuff…



Fabri – The Spanish keeper was linked with a move to Turkey in the summer but he’s still getting under Scott Parker’s feet at Craven Cottage.

Jean Michael Seri – Fulham’s record signing failed to make their Premier League squad. “That’s not to say his Fulham career is dead and buried,” said Parker. But it is.

Kevin McDonald – Another midfielder left out in the cold.


Leeds United

Ouasim Bouy – The 27-year-old, once likened to Paul Pogba by Mino Raiola, has become the forgotten man at Leeds. Though for most of us, it’s hard to forget someone you never knew existed.

Conor Shaughnessy – Like Bouy, the Irish defensive midfielder wasn’t even offered a squad number by Marcelo Bielsa.

Jay Roy Grot – Bielsa sprung a surprise by including the striker in his 25-man Premier League squad but he hasn’t made the bench and now he’s injured.

Joe Gelhardt – The summer signing is making a very positive impression in the Under-23s but the teenager is yet to feature on Bielsa’s bench. His time will come.



Eldin Jakupovic – Third-choice keeper klaxon.

Demarai Gray – The winger, according to Brendan Rodgers, was ‘just outside the squad’ in September and he’s even further from it now having played only one game – the Carabao Cup defeat to Arsenal – all season.



Sepp van den Berg – Under normal circumstances, Van den Berg’s omission wouldn’t make any waves. But the fact Liverpool have almost exhausted their supply of centre-backs yet the £4.4million signing seems further than ever from the first team must be a little worrying for the Dutchman. Rhys Williams, Nathaniel Phillips and Billy Koumetio all appear to have jumped ahead of Van den Berg in Jurgen Klopp’s judgement.


Manchester City

Scott Carson – The modern-day Richard Wright.


Manchester United

Sergio RomeroJustice for Serge

Marcos Rojo – Choosing to give the defender a huge new contract looks weirder with each passing day.

Phil Jones – As above.

Facundo Pellestri – United’s fourth deadline day signing is one for the future but the winger was due to go straight into the first-team squad. That’s was his former side were promised anyway.

READ MORE: Solskjaer confirms Man Utd U-turn over ‘first team’ signing


Henri Saivet – The Magpies could not shift arguably one of the their biggest recent flops in the summer nor tempt anyone into paying even a portion of his £35,000-a-week salary on a loan basis. So he waits at St James’ Park for his contract to run down at the end of the season.

Rolando Aarons – A loan move to Huddersfield reportedly fell through after the paperwork was filed a couple of minutes too late. So the 24-year-old will have to wait for another opportunity in January to fly the Magpies nest.


Sheffield United

Jack RodwellA scapegoat at Sunderland, perhaps, but still playing very little football at Sheffield United.

Simon Moore – Fourth-choice keeper klaxon.

Jayden Bogle – The summer signing from Derby is still waiting to get a a piece of the Premier League action but that certainly hasn’t damaged his value.

Kean Bryan – The 24-year-old was named in Chris Wilder’s Premier League squad but he has only played four times since joining the Blades in 2018 and spent last season on loan at Bolton.



Harry Lewis – And the news for the third-choice keeper isn’t great, with Ralph Hasenhuttl opting not to rotate his stoppers even for the Carabao Cup.



Danny Rose – The former England defender hasn’t been allocated a squad number and he won’t let Spurs save a few quid by agreeing to any early termination of his £70,000-a-week contract. Which is fair enough.

Paulo Gazzaniga – The keeper has been shunted out into the cold by Joe Hart’s arrival, which tells you all you need to know about his Spurs prospects.

Jack Clarke – The £10million signing made his Spurs debut last month by coming off the bench in the Europa League but appears some way off doing the same in the Premier League.


West Brom

Jonathan Bond – Third-choice keeper klaxon.


West Ham

Craig Dawson – It seemed a desperate move at the time and the fact the on-loan defender has yet to make a Premier League bench since joining from Watford only makes it stranger.

David Martin – Third-choice keeper klaxon.



Roderick Miranda – Still there, apparently, despite not having played for Wolves since May 2018.

Luke Matheson – the closest the teenage signing from Rochdale has got to a senior appearance for Wolves is nine minutes at the end of a 4-0 defeat to Oldham in the Papa John’s Trophy.


Ian Watson