We’ve crunched the numbers to reveal the players across England and Scotland who are looking for a similar turnaround in their fortunes: those who have spent the most minutes on the bench this season, including the time before and after a substitution is made.
These are listed in the graphic below, including a timeline for each player’s season showing (in yellow) the time they have been sat on the sidelines.
Jurgen Klopp insisted Daniel Sturridge was still a part of his plans at Liverpool despite farming him out on loan last season, but the Reds’ heavy reliance on their first-choice front three – plus competition from Xherdan Shaqiri and Divock Origi – has seen the England striker spend more time on the bench than any other outfield player in the English top-flight.
Also in the top 10 are former Premier League winner Christian Fuchs and Manchester City’s Phil Foden, who may be wishing that he’d followed Jadon Sancho out of the Etihad in the summer.
Given Sturridge’s estimated wage packet at Liverpool, it’s likely that he’s earned over four million pounds on the bench this season, second only to the handsomely-remunerated Alexis Sanchez at Manchester United and not far ahead of Manchester City’s record signing Riyad Mahrez.
Spare a thought for those who haven’t even made it onto the pitch this season: Jairo Riedewald of Crystal Palace is the only player to have been named in at least 10 matchday squads without seeing a single minute of action.
The young Dutchman isn’t the only player failing to impress Roy Hodgson this season, with both Scott Dann and Joel Ward having seen their playing time for the Eagles significantly reduced.
Only an ageing Leighton Baines – displaced by new signing Lucas Digne at Everton – has seen a bigger proportional increase in the amount of time spent as a spectator since last term.
In the three divisions below the Premier League there are three outfield players who have spent over two days of their lives on the substitutes’ bench this season.
Leading this unhappy pack is young Morecambe midfielder Ben Hedley, who edges out two veterans in Sheffield United’s Richard Stearman and Alan Sheehan of Luton.
Sheehan will be especially disappointed given that he spent barely any time on the bench last term; in fact no EFL player has seen a bigger percentage swing.
In the Scottish top-flight, Aberdeen’s Stephen Gleeson stands out as the outfield player with the most bench time: almost a day and a half, which is all the more frustrating given his ongoing search for first-team football.
A new arrival at Pittodrie, he was allowed to leave Ipswich in the summer after failing to hold down a first-team place, having only moved from Birmingham six months earlier after falling out of favour there.
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