10 Footballing Wonderkids Who Never Reached Their Potential


Football is a cruel sport; one minute you can be linked to the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United, the next you're playing football for a second division Norwegian team (yes, that is really the case for one of the footballers featured in this article).

This list was hard to construct as some players I considered are still relatively young - take Federico Macheda for example, who scored a couple of vital goals for Manchester United at the age of 17 and went on to appear in the odd Carling Cup fixture but was then shipped off for various loan spells. Despite being just 21, the fact remains that the Italian has scored one goal in all competitions in the past three years, but it would be harsh to include someone with many years ahead of them. Therefore, the Stuttgart loanee has been omitted.

I've also tried to omit players that have mainly been victim of a number of injuries as it is not a case of people overhyping them, simply bad fortune. For example, Owen Hargreaves could have achieved greater things if it wasn't for his terrible misfortunate, similar to Dean Ashton who retired at the age of 26. Jonathan Woodgate is another prime example, a man who played just 9 league matches in his three year spell at Real Madrid.

Another disclaimer: this article is only based on players who were dubbed the next big thing in world football, so please refrain from commenting on the likes of Francis Jeffers as he was never likely to be an international sensation. Furthermore there may be players who have enjoyed success in their careers but as an individual have not been able to maintain good performances or step up when it really mattered.

So, here are 10 wonderkids who weren't able to reach their potential and why the claims made about their futures were made in vein.

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University student at UEA, Norwich. Breaking Bad junkie, MMA fan and long time admirer of Gatusso's beard.