Players like Kevin De Bruyne, Harry Kane and Mohammed Salah have rightly received a lot of attention and plaudits in recent times due to their performances and goals scored in the Premier League and elsewhere. Whilst it is not surprising that such marquee players dominate the headlines, the focus on goal scorers and creative talents often results in less attractive and eye-catching players being overlooked despite their significance to the team. Rio Ferdinand for example, was the mainstay of Manchester United’s defence for over a decade in the early 2000s, and despite being recognised as a great defender, his contribution to the trophies won throughout this period is often overlooked in favour of more popular players such as Wayne Rooney and Christiano Ronaldo. As Chris Nathaniel, football agent at NVA Agency has argued, “Frankly, I don’t think Rio gets the credit he deserves.” This sentiment has prompted us to consider some of the most underrated players currently playing in the Premier League.
Kicking off this list is Crystal Palace and France midfielder Yohan Cabaye. Despite the terrible start to the season that saw Palace languishing at the bottom of the Premier League table, Cabaye has managed to shine as the Eagle’s best player and regularly catches the eye with his outstanding technique and occasional long-range efforts. Cabaye seems to be somewhat of a forgotten man at Palace however, rarely receiving attention in the press and not being tipped for a move elsewhere despite his obvious quality. The reasons for this remain a mystery, but Palace will be thankful to have him in their ranks and he is likely to be integral in their attempts to avoid relegation.
Southampton and Northern Ireland midfielder Steven Davies is approaching the latter stages of his career at 33 years young, but he continues to impress for the Saints and has been one of their stand out performers for years. Despite being the orchestrator of their midfield and key to their success in recent years, Davies has consistently flown under the radar and rarely receives the plaudits he deserves (except for the occasional mention by a fellow underrated midfielder of yesteryear, Danny Murphy, on Match of the Day). Davies appears to have lost his starting position in the Saints’ midfield in recent months and despite his age, will be an excellent acquisition to any Premier League squad.
The final inclusion on this list goes to Leicester’s midfield-maestro Wilfred Ndidi. Ndidi was brought in to replace the excellent Ngolo Kante after his move to Stamford Bridge in the summer, and despite unfair comparisons, has gone a long way to filling the void. He leads the league in successful tackles made per game and has been pivotal to Leicester’s continued success this season.