Updated: Monday, 6th April 2020 @ 8:41am

Where are they now? MM tracks down fallen footie heroes and the Premier League players of yesteryear

Where are they now? MM tracks down fallen footie heroes and the Premier League players of yesteryear

By Danny McCann

Have you ever wondered what happened to that player who used to play for your beloved team? Or do you remember seeing a rising star that never matched his potential? MM takes a look at some of Manchester’s former players and beyond.

Below is a list of former Barclays Premier League players who have either disappeared into obscurity or have been completely forgotten about.

Some of their time in England’s top flight was filled with respectability; some even won honours while some barely racked enough minutes up to call themselves a Premier League player.

Here lies a hypothetical team of players who all still play the beautiful game (well with one exception):

 

Roy Carroll, 35, Goalkeeper

After making his name at Wigan Athletic leading to a move to Manchester United in 2001, the Northern Ireland international was famously involved with that Pedro Mendez goal that never was when he scooped the ball from two yards over the line to deny Tottenham a late winner at Old Trafford in 2005. 

After spells at West Ham United and Derby County he disappeared into obscurity playing in Denmark for Odense BK before a move to warmer climates at OFI Crete.

That led to the hot-stopper securing a move to Greek giants Olympiacos were he is currently first choice and played in this season’s UEFA Champions League (quite a good U-turn for his career).  

 

Sebastien Squillaci, 32, Defender

Where is he now? He’s still at Arsenal right? Correct, but the Frenchman must be a rare sight even for Arsenal fans.

Having earned more than 20 caps for France, the defender moved to North London from Sevilla, but in recent seasons has dropped down to the bench – the one behind the substitutes’ one.

He’s made only one appearance in Europe this season and just a handful in the previous season. Surely it’s time to release him as he earns a reported £60,000 a week!

 

Calum Davenport, 30, Defender

Signed from Coventry in 2004, the former England U21 spent three seasons at Tottenham.  The promising young defender struggled to get ahead of the likes of Ledley King and Michael Dawson and was loaned out regularly until he eventually signed for West Ham in 2007.

During his time there his career and life was put in serious danger when a family disturbance led to him being attacked and stabbed in the legs by the boyfriend of his sister.

Davenport lost 50% of his blood and spent six days in intensive care to recover from his injuries.

After being released by the Hammers in 2010 and cleared of assaulting his sister he joined non-league outfit Wooton Blue Cross to rebuild his career.

Having only made a few appearances for the team he has reportedly been helping out with a coaching role. 

 

Sun Jihai, 35, Defender

This unassuming defender from China made a respectable 130 appearances for Manchester City and his eagerness and willingness to play anywhere made him a regular first team squad player in the early stages of his Blues career.

Having also played for Sheffield United and Crystal Palace, arguably the world’s most famous Chinese player is currently playing back in his homeland for Guizhou Renhe in the Chinese Super League.

With 78 international caps, Sun was a bit of a fan-favourite at City, with a popular terrace chant of ‘Singing aye-yi-yippee Sun Jihai’.

Having joined City from Chinese side Dalian in 2002, Jihai became the first Chinese player to score in the Premier League.

 

Royston Drenthe, 25, Defender

The Dutch left back/winger only spent one year in the Premier League after joining Everton on loan from Real Madrid in the 2011/12 season.

Unfortunately for them, off the field problems with alcohol and bad behaviour left David Moyes with no option but to give him the boot.

Speaking recently to The Mirror he thanked the Everton boss for his stern words and is trying to get his career and life back in shape at Russian outfit Alania Vladikavkaz. 

 

Mark Randall, 23, Midfielder

The former Arsenal player was touted as a star of the future and made his Gunners debut in 2006 aged just 17.

He went on to make 13 first team appearances and played in the Champions League before going on loan to Burnley.

His career never matched his potential and after brief spells at home town club MK Dons and Rotherham he currently plays for League One side Chesterfield.

 

Ricardo Quaresma, 29, Midfielder

Once hot property around Europe, playing for Barcelona, Porto and Inter Milan before being loaned to the Blues in 2009, this overrated flyer managed just four appearances under Guus Hiddink.

He then spent two tumultuous seasons with Turkish side Besiktas were he didn’t exactly endear himself to the manager.

He is now playing for Al Ahli in the United Arab Emirates presumably earning an undeserved pretty penny.

For a player who emerged at the same time as Cristiano Ronaldo at Sporting CP, their careers have taken drastically different paths. 

 

Damarcus Beasley, 30, Midfielder

The American winger had one loan season in the Premier League with Manchester City scoring three times before returning to PSV Eindhoven.

He then spent three seasons with Rangers before signing for Bundesliga club Hannover 96. A veteran of three World Cups for the US, Beasley now plies his trade in the Mexican top flight for Puebla. 

 

Collins John, 27, Striker

Fulham fans will remember this Dutch midfielder well after he spent five years at Craven Cottage after signing from FC Twente in 2004.

Scoring 20 goals in 95 appearances for the Cottagers, the Liberian-born forward was eventually loaned out to Leicester City and Watford before he became quite the traveller.

He has since played for Chicago Fire in the MLS and was then signed by ex-Arsenal legend Tony Adams at Gabala FC in Azerbaijan before linking up with Iranian oufit Mes Sarcheshmeh FC.

He then completed his long round trip by returning to England with Barnet last season but only made two appearances before leaving the club in January 2013 by mutual consent.

After reading this, your guess as to where he’ll end up next is as good as mine. 

 

Amir Zaki, 29, Striker

After arriving from Egyptian side Zamalek, Zaki burst onto the scene with Wigan Athletic scoring for fun in his loan spell.

Wigan chairman Dave Whelan likened him to Alan Shearer, but as soon as he was starting to look like the buy of the decade, the Egyptian’s ten league goals all of a sudden became a distant memory.

With numerous disciplines for late arrival from international duty the striker’s brief stay was over.

An even briefer loan spell at Hull City the following season did nothing to recapture the initial hype and he returned to Egypt. He currently plays for ENPPI.

 

Mame Biram Diouf, 25, Striker

Out of this list of almost forgotten players, the Senegalese forward has arguably had the most success after leaving the Premier League.

After signing for Manchester United from Norwegian club Molde in 2009, he then went on loan to Blackburn Rovers after failing to make an impact at Old Trafford.

Scoring a hat-trick on his full debut for Rovers in the League Cup he then went on to score six before returning to the Red Devils.

He was then sold to Hannover 96 two seasons ago and has scored an impressive 15 goals in 28 appearances.

After this form it would be no surprise if we saw the fast and powerful striker return to England in the future. 

Picture courtesy of Matlock-photo, with thanks.

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