Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughTaylor Latest of the Luckless. - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Taylor Latest of the Luckless. - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Taylor Latest of the Luckless.

Ryan Taylor’s hopes of a return this season, and probably the next one, took a killer blow this week when he suffered a recurrence of his cruciate knee ligament injury. The Newcastle full-back joins the unfortunate list of injury-prone Premier League stars, of which there have been many.

Jonathan Woodgate

The Boro-born defender broke into the national spotlight at Leeds, and was one of the sold ‘crown jewels’ that led to manager Terry Venables threatening to resign. The first five years of his career bore 104 appearances at the Elland Road outfit. The next ten years have only seen another 168 appearances at club level. That’s an average of 16.8 games a season.

When you consider what a player Woodgate was in his prime, that is a horrible decimation of a wonderful career. Physiotherapists at Newcastle, Middlesbrough, Real Madrid, Tottenham, and Stoke have all battled for supremacy as the one to keep the lad fit and ended up with egg on their face.

Kieron Dyer

Another promising English youngster, whose progress has mirrored Woodgate’s in many ways. Hot performances at a similar time, for Ipswich, persuaded Newcastle to spend £7m on the midfielder, and he now shares a dressing room with Woodgate at Middlesbrough.

A tally of 190 appearances in eight years for the Toon is far from reliable, particularly as he was seen as a key member of the squad, but since leaving St James’ Park his fitness and career have nosedived. Considering that he had been left suicidal by his injury problems, which included nearly losing an eye running into a pole, plummeting further from that is difficult. 30 appearances in four years for West Ham tell their own story.

A loan return to Ipswich, before an injury-plagued stint at QPR, have made up the remainder of his time on football’s merry-go-round. He’ll be glad to get off, enjoy some form of retirement, and not put his glass hamstrings under any more strain.

Owen Hargreaves

The Canadian-born England-capped holding midfielder has been the butt of many jokes over the years, but many forget he was voted England’s best player at the 2006 World Cup. A long chase by Sir Alex Ferguson led to him securing Hargreaves for Man United in the summer of 2007. Somewhat ominously, the £17m signing had sat out much of the previous season with a broken leg.

His first year at Old Trafford actually proved the most productive of his time in England, with 23 league appearances, as he sought to take on the mantle of the departed Roy Keane. However, the next four seasons produced only ten appearances – four of them for bitter rivals Man City. A spell at QPR’s training ground proved fruitless and Hargreaves is now without a club.

So while Ryan Taylor solemnly puts his feet up and prepares for another long year of rehabilitation, he can at least console himself with the fact that he is not the only one, and that he is still young enough to make an effective comeback. Pace was never a huge part of his game anyway – long throws, and bending free kicks were the main staples of his act, and they should remain as strong as ever on his return.