11 of the Premier League’s biggest names who are struggling for game-time - Mata, Niguez, Origi…

It's a long, hard season and even longer and harder if most of it is spent of the sidelines as these 11 players are finding out.

You, like us, might be scratching your heads as to why the likes of talented players such as Jesse Lingard and Saul Niguez have rarely been found anywhere other than on the bench for their respective clubs.

Injuries have played a part for some, while for others, form has dictated a lack of minutes. Or it might just simply be a case of their faces not fitting.

Whatever the reasons, at least Planet Sport has a team these players can get into, thanks to our Premier League outcasts XI.

GK - Dean Henderson (0 minutes)

It has turned into a season to forget for Dean Henderson. Linked with a host of clubs, he opted to stay at Man Utd to challenge David De Gea for the number one shirt.

Dean Henderson Man Utd Apr22

Named on the bench for the past 25 league games and 30 times in all, Henderson has yet to rack up a single minute on the pitch, with the impressive De Gea proving simply irreplaceable.

Will be one of the first in line for one to one talks with incoming boss Erik ten Hag.

DEF - Nathan Patterson (0 minutes)

Nathan Patterson Everton Jan22

When Everton signed the young Scotland international from Rangers in January in a deal worth up to £16 million, many expected him to walk straight into the team at the expense of long-term captain Seamus Coleman.

However, with the Toffees struggling the right-back had to spend six games watching on from the bench and another three out of the squad altogether before being primed by Frank Lampard for his debut against West Ham.

Unfortunately, Patterson rolled his ankle in training and has subsequently been ruled out for the remainder of the season after undergoing surgery.

DEF - Joe Rodon (78 minutes)

Joe Rodon Tottenham Jan22

Wales international centre-back Rodon has only featured in the Premier League once this season and that came under previous boss Nuno Esprito Santo.

His 78-minute appearance in Spurs' 3-0 loss to Crystal Palace in September came as a replacement for the injured Eric Dier.

Despite impressing for Wales, he has been consigned to the bench in the league since, making two FA Cup appearances under Antonio Conte.

Understood to have already made his mind up to move in the summer.

DEF - Eric Bailly (217 minutes)

Eric Bailly Man Utd Dec21

Bought for £30million in 2016, Bailly was the first signing of the Jose Mourinho era, but has been limited to just 20 Premier League appearances across his three seasons at Old Trafford.

The summer signing of fellow centre-back Raphael Varane has pushed Bailly even further down the pecking order and has resulted in the Ivory Coast international only starting three games this season.

Of those three matches, he has only completed the full 90 minutes once, in a 1-1 draw with Chelsea in November.

DEF - Saul Niguez (388 minutes)

Saul Niguez chelsea Mar22

Yes, we know he's a midfielder by trade, but he has featured on the left-hand side of Chelsea's five-man defence/midfield this season and a player who has won a La Liga title and only played 388 minutes the next year cannot be left out of this side - even if he can be Chelsea's.

A loan signing from Atletico Madrid, the move did raise a few eyebrows with Chelsea already having strength in depth in central midfield. As a result, it has seen Saul used in an unfamiliar left-sided role, and even then sparingly.

MID - Jesse Lingard (356 minutes)

Jesse Lingard Man Utd Apr22

The man with the second-most minutes played in this XI, Lingard showed last season exactly what he can do when given the chance. The Man United midfielder has been restricted to just 16 appearances for an average of only 22.3 minutes per appearance made.

He has started only two matches, in wins against Leeds and Norwich, and it is fair to say that a lot of United fans believe J Lingz should've been given a bigger role to play this season.

A parting of the ways seems inevitable with his contract expiring in the summer and there will be no shortage of takers for the 29-year-old.

MID - Alex Kral (1 minute)

Alex Kral West Ham Feb22

Brought in from Spartak Moscow as a replacement for outgoing club captain Mark Noble, Alex Kral has not lived up to expectations at West Ham.

With fellow Czech Republic internationals Tomas Soucek and Vladimir Coufal already at the London Stadium, it was expected that their countryman would settle in well. However, while he may be comfortable off the pitch he's not managed to make any impression on it, with Declan Rice and Soucek impossible to dislodge in the Irons' midfield.

Kral's loan deal expires at the end of the season and there is an £12million obligation to buy clause but having been afforded just one Premier League minute it looks highly unlikely it will be triggered.

MID - Tom Davies (154 minutes)

Tom Davies Everton warm-up Nov21

Everton's 23-year-old midfielder started only once and appeared from the bench four times in a stop-start opening to the campaign under Rafa Benitez which was then interrupted by a serious knee injury sustained against Tottenham in November.

He returned to the bench for the Toffees' 1-0 win over Chelsea but was again absent for the victory at Leicester. Having completed 25  top-flight appearances last season and 30 the previous campaign, his absence is clearly one of the reasons Everton are struggling at the wrong end of the table.

MID - Hamza Choudhury (287 minutes)

Hamza Choudhury Leicester May22

Since making his Premier League debut in 2017, Loughborough-born midfielder Hamza Choudhury has made over 50 league appearances for Leicester City, though only six this term.

In truth it has been a slow burner for Choudhury, who made 20 Premier League appearances in 2019/20, which dipped to ten last season.

And despite the added workload of the Europa Conference League, which has at least provided Choudhury with an additional 65 minutes of action, the 24-year-old has largely remained a peripheral figure at the King Power.

Heavily linked with Newcastle last summer, he will surely be looking for pastures new in the window.

MID - Juan Mata (204 minutes)

Juan Mata Man Utd May22

Once one of the Premier League's best playmakers, Juan Mata game-time has diminished over the course of the past three seasons after falling out of favour under previous Man Utd manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The Spaniard showed he still has the talent to play at the top level in United's recent 3-0 home win over Brentford with a sparkling performance in the number 10 role. However, his time in Manchester looks to be coming to an end with his contract up in the summer.

ATT - Divock Origi (101 minutes)

Divock Origi Liverpool Feb22

An icon among the Liverpool fans, Origi has only just scraped into triple digits in terms of Premier League minutes played.

That doesn't tell you the whole story though, as despite the Belgian only making six league appearances from the bench, he has still managed to bag three goals.

He scored the winner against Wolves at Molineux and more recently his goal helped secure a 2-0 victory in the Merseyside derby.

Another player whose contract expires in the summer, AC Milan are being touted as a possible escape route for the former Wolfsburg poacher.

READ MORE: The sack race: Were this season’s Premier League managerial changes successes or failures?

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