It sounds weird to hear there are footballers fighting for survival. In the world of professional football, the path to success is anything but a straight line. One day you could be the star of the team, and the next, you find yourself battling to stay relevant.
Footballers Fighting For Survival
It’s a harsh reality that even the biggest names in the game can’t escape. In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at some footballers who are currently fighting for their place in their respective teams.
1. Aaron Ramsdale
Let’s delve into the situation of Aaron Ramsdale. During the 2022-23 season, Ramsdale held the undisputed position as Arsenal’s starting goalkeeper. His contributions were widely celebrated as Arsenal mounted a serious challenge for the Premier League title, a rare occurrence in recent years. However, Arteta’s acquisition of David Raya from Brentford during the summer transfer window led to Ramsdale’s relegation to the bench.
Initially, there were speculations that Arteta was merely rotating goalkeepers, but it has become increasingly clear that this is not the case. The coach has laid it out plainly: Ramsdale’s path back to the starting lineup hinges on his determination to work harder. It’s undeniably a tough situation for the talented goalkeeper.
2. Pierre-Emile Hojberg
In the previous season, the Danish midfielder- Pierre-Emile was a consistent presence in the starting lineup of Tottenham, often securing his place as one of the team’s first choices. However, with the arrival of the new manager, his fortunes have taken a dramatic turn for the worse. Not only has he lost his starting position at Spurs, but even when he’s brought on as a substitute, it’s typically in the dying moments of the game.
For instance, in matches against Sheffield and Liverpool, he was introduced with a mere 1 minute remaining on the clock. In the North London derby, his playing time extended to just 12 minutes, and against United, he managed a mere 14 minutes on the field.
While there’s no doubt about Hojberg’s skills as a top-class midfielder, his current predicament paints a picture of a player who is truly battling to stay relevant in the team.
3. Kalvin Phillips
Another Premier League midfielder grappling with a similar dilemma is Kalvin Phillips. It’s an open secret that he’s not in Pep Guardiola’s future plans. However, the former Leeds United player finds himself in a tight spot after receiving a clear message from Southgate: to secure his place in the England squad, he must log more minutes at the club level.
The situation suggests that he might miss out on the Euros if he doesn’t secure regular playing time. In all honesty, it’s unlikely to occur at Manchester City. Even when Rodri was unavailable for three games, Phillips still didn’t find himself in the starting lineup. This is perhaps the most telling sign that he isn’t considered a necessary part of the club’s future.
4. Anthony Martial
In Manchester, Anthony Martial is another player confronting a challenging predicament. The French forward now finds himself on the fringes of the squad, with limited opportunities to make his mark. The introduction of a new striker and the continued preference for Rashford on the left flank have pushed Martial far from regaining his position in the starting lineup.
To emphasize the gravity of the situation, it’s important to highlight that the coach is even open to adjusting the team’s formation to accommodate an additional midfielder instead of including Martial. In fact, in situations where Hojlund is unavailable, Ten Hag would rather position Rashford as the primary striker with Garnacho on the left wing, all before considering Martial. This underscores the formidable challenges that Martial currently faces.
5. Carlos Soler
Carlos Soler’s struggle for survival unfolds at PSG. Despite having joined the club just last year, it appears that the Spaniard has not managed to win the favor of the new Spanish manager.
The telling sign of his predicament is Enrique’s preference for playing the 17-year-old prodigy Zaire-Emery over Soler. This choice speaks volumes about the challenges facing the 26-year-old midfielder as he vies for a more prominent role in the team.
6. Timo Werner
In Germany, the plight of Timo Werner is evident at RB Leipzig. Frankly, the former Chelsea player should have foreseen this situation when the club made the bold move of bringing in three under-23 attackers in a single summer – Benjamin Sesko, Lois Openda, and Xavi Simons. Adding to the challenge, it seems that even the 29-year-old Yousef Poulsen has leapfrogged Werner in the pecking order.
Since the commencement of the season, Werner has not been granted a single start in either the Bundesliga or the Champions League. His game time has been limited to a mere 20 minutes against City, and he didn’t feature at all against Bayern Munich. It’s safe to say that he finds himself in an intense struggle to secure his place in the team.
7. Andriy Lunin
In Spain, the struggle is real for Andriy Lunin. When Courtois sustained a significant injury, the Ukrainian goalkeeper likely saw it as his moment to step into the spotlight. However, the club had other plans and acquired Kepa, who now unquestionably holds the starting position, relegating Lunin.
Currently, the situation appears grim for Lunin, and it’s poised to worsen when Courtois returns to full fitness. Being the second-choice goalkeeper is challenging, but falling to third choice leaves no room for optimism. In such circumstances, departure from the club often becomes the only viable option.
8. Keylor Navas
Yet another goalkeeper locked in a battle for survival is Keylor Navas. After a loan spell at Nottingham Forest last season, he returned in the summer with hopes of securing a spot under the new coach. Unfortunately, his efforts haven’t borne fruit thus far. Navas hasn’t seen a single minute of action for PSG this season, and it appears he hasn’t posed a significant challenge to Donnarumma’s status as the top choice.
It’s a stark contrast for the man who once achieved the remarkable feat of winning three consecutive Champions League titles. Currently, he finds himself in a truly challenging situation, and it’s undoubtedly a sobering turn of events.
9. Donny van de Beek
Donny van de Beek’s situation at Manchester United is nothing short of forgettable. Despite his continued association with the club, it’s easy to overlook his presence. He has featured for a mere 21 minutes in the current season, and that limited game time came in matches against Crystal Palace in the EFL Cup and the Premier League.
Interestingly, Manchester United reinforced their midfield by acquiring players like Mount and Amrabat, making it evident from the outset that van de Beek would face an uphill battle to find his place under his former manager.
10. Ferran Torres
In Barcelona, Ferran Torres is locked in a battle to secure his place, and he’s certainly putting up a commendable fight. His favored position is on the right, but in a fully fit squad, he finds himself behind Raphinha and Yamal in the pecking order. He’s versatile and can also operate on the left and in the central position, although Felix and Lewandowski are clearly the preferred choices in those roles.
Yet, every time Torres has been called upon, he has risen to the occasion. He’s managed to score four crucial goals coming off the bench this season, including a game-changing winner against Porto in the Champions League.
With Barcelona grappling with injuries, Torres is set to receive more opportunities, and it remains to be seen whether he can capitalize on this chance to establish himself as a crucial figure in the squad.
In the world of football, the fight for survival is not exclusive to any particular player or club. As the beautiful game evolves, so do the challenges faced by its stars.
Who do you think is currently fighting for their place in football?
Share your thoughts in the comments.