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Our writers have each chosen one overrated player and one underrated player

Have you ever regretted something immediately after starting it?

In what can definitely be described as ‘quarantine content’, we asked each of our writers to identify one player they think is massively overrated and one player they think is criminally underrated.

The results are… worrying.

Honestly, you think you know someone and then they pollute your email inbox with an opinion that stinks to high heaven.

Brace yourselves, these aren’t pretty…

FINLO CLARKSON
Overrated – Anthony Martial

Ouch

10
Ouch

Most Man United fans won’t agree but Anthony Martial is easily one of the most over-hyped footballers around.

His mentality isn’t that of a forward who can carry the weight of being Man United’s main man up top; a responsibility that allows Marcus Rashford to thrive.

The Frenchman is yet to score more than 11 goals in a Premier League season and at 24 he can no longer be considered a promising youth player.

The odd stepover and occasional wondergoal sugarcoat a player who defines the word overrated.

Underrated – Karim Benzema

Magnifque!

10
Magnifque!

Cristiano Ronaldo cast a big ol’ shadow at the Bernabeu and Karim Benzema sat bang in the middle.

The pair were both signed in 2009 and were unfairly compared right up until the Portiguese superstar’s departure in the summer of 2018.

Real Madrid’s number nine has the fifth most assists in La Liga history and is just one goal of becoming Los Blancos’ fifth top scorer of all time.

He is also the fourth top scorer in Champions League history…

The Frenchman is criminally overlooked by the word of football (Gary Lineker famously questioned his credentials) and more cynically dismissed by some Real fans who won’t realise how good he is until he’s gone.

SEAN COOK

Overrated – Phil Foden

Young pup

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Young pup

Most fans seem to have decided Phil Foden is class simply because he’s working under Pep Guardiola at Man City.

If you dropped him into any other top-six side, he wouldn’t get a sniff.

Admittedly, he’s only 19, so he has a lot of time to prove himself.

But if he had any ambition he would have left City two summers ago like Jadon Sancho.

Why leave when he’s playing under the possibly the finest manager ever? Well, there’s only so much you can learn in training when there’s starting spots available elsewhere.

Underrated – Juan Foyth

You’re welcome

10
You’re welcome

A few rash challenges and fans seem to have made their minds up about the youngster.

He moved from Argentina to England at the age of 19 – the first time he’d ever left his country of birth – and was asked to play centre-half in the most demanding league in the world.

He is possibly the most progressive centre-back I’ve seen at his age.

His ability to play out from the back and drive forward is incredible; underrated skills in the modern game.

Play him as a holding midfielder and you’ll see what he can really do, and why PSG wanted him so badly.

NICK ELLIOTT

Overrated – Kyle Walker

Run, Kyle, run!

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Run, Kyle, run!

Kyle Walker ended up as one of the Premier League’s best right-backs of the 2010s by default.

He was named in Team of the Year three times last decade and I truly believe that’s because of a relative lack of competition.

The new era of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Reece James and Ricardo Pereira have already exposed Walker as overrated.

Liverpool’s exceptional pair and Benjamin Mendy (when fit) have shown the attacking output possible for full-backs in dominant teams, but Walker has too often proved to be underwhelming in this regard.

He has 11 goal involvements (goals + assists) in the league since joining Man City three years ago — Alexander-Arnold has 14 in 2019/20 alone.

He’s never been solid defensively either, often relying on pace to solve problems that would have never arisen if it weren’t for his suspect positioning.

Walker was the best of an average crop of right-backs, nothing more.

Underrated – Emiliano Buendia

Sing like a canary

10
Sing like a canary

Emi Buendia is even underrated by his own manager!

Daniel Farke dropped the Argentine on the absurd basis Norwich don’t win many games when he’s in the team — the Canaries gaffer would be best advised to look for the source of the problem.

A quick glance at Buendia’s individual stats reveals a productive, well-rounded midfielder.

For a start, only De Bruyne, Alexander-Arnold and Mahrez have created more chances and provided more assists in 2018/19 — the difference being they play for the two best teams in the league (possibly the world) while Buendia plays for a team destined for relegation.

Wilfried Zaha and Adama Traore are the only Premier League players to have completed more successful dribbles in 2019/20.

And he’s excellent out of possession too — he’s made more tackles than Cesar Azpilicueta, Jordan Henderson, Caglar Soyuncu, Fernandinho, and plenty more players celebrated for their defensive efforts.

I think the reason Buendia is so underrated is that, in free-scoring striker Teemu Pukki and local lad/academy product Todd Cantwell, Norwich have two classically recognisable heroes.

It’s almost as if they soak up all the praise allotted to Norwich and there’s none left for Buendia.

SAM GILBERT 

Overrated – Frenkie de Jong

*puts on tin hat*

10
*puts on tin hat*

I’ve had this agenda since he was named 2019’s UEFA Midfielder of the Year, despite not scoring a single goal or providing an assist in the Champions League.

You can try and tell me numbers don’t matter for a player of his profile, but we all know they definitely do.

Ajax reached the semi-finals of the competition, before throwing it away against Spurs in tragic fashion, a game in which the Dutchman did his best impression of the invisible man — hardly stepping up when your team needs you most, right?

Alex Song managed to look half-decent in the Barcelona midfield, so it’s no great achievement that De Jong has had an okay (nothing more) debut season at the Nou Camp.

Underrated – Bernd Leno

Access denied… sort of

10
Access denied… sort of

Where’s the love for the real best goalkeeper in the Premier League?

Forget about Alisson, Ederson or those clinging onto the fantasy that David De Gea is still half-competent, Leno has been best in show between the sticks this season.

For some context, he cost Arsenal just £20m in 2018, the same summer in which Chelsea signed Kepa for £72m.

Leno has made the second-most saves in the Premier League this season and conceded fewer goals than both Hugo Lloris and Kepa, while only leaking five more than Ederson.

It’s irrelevant discussing Alisson’s stats, in fact, it’s criminal he’s conceded at all with the Virgil van Dijk cheat code active in front of him.

Leno will be the closest competitor to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for the Gunners’ Player of the Season award and in my opinion, he should win it.

He’ll be Germany’s No1 at the next World Cup — you heard it here first.

ANDREW BUTLER

Overrated – Gareth Bale

In that order…

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In that order…

Perhaps it’s unfair to call a player overrated due to his body breaking down, but Bale’s injury record will mean that he’ll never be the player everyone wanted him to be when he became the most expensive player in the world.

Yes, he’s a clutch player who has provided a couple of unforgettable moments, but he’s only had two, perhaps three, truly great seasons out of nearly 12.

Underrated – Olivier Giroud

There’s that video that does the rounds occasionally titled something like ‘Our grandkids will see Giroud’s best goals and think he was the best player ever (HD)’.

Aside from his eye-catching goals, the guy seems like a manager’s dream.

There’s a reason he was signed by Arsene Wenger and Antonio Conte, two elite managers.

Ligue 1 top scorer with 21 goals and nine assists in Montpellier’s sole league triumph.

If that’s not enough, he’s a World Cup winner and France’s third highest top scorer behind the little-known duo of Thierry Henry and Michel Platini.

Not too bad after all

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Not too bad after all

Mercifully, that is the end.

All we can say is… we’re sorry.


NEXT: 6 club badges re-imagined with social distancing in mind

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