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25 man squads – the stars who missed out

The 25 man squad rule in the Premier League is a curious one. What does it achieve? Well not very much. It’s aim is to prevent clubs stockpiling players, increase the number of ‘homegrown’ players being used and give those under the age of 21 more value and chance in the first team picture. It does this to some extent, with Man City being forced to sell their dead weight in the summer transfer window for example, but most squads are filled with reserve players who wont feature all season (David Bentley and Jermaine Jenas at Spurs the prime culprits), contain the minimum (eight) homegrown players and the young players still don’t get a look in.

For every Bentley and Jenas, there’s a fringe player who misses out on the 25 man squad. Most all of them will be available for loan, and with the emergency loan window opening on Friday, expect some unhappy 30 somethings turning up at a Championship club waxing lyrical about having a point to prove.

Elliot Ward – Norwich 

The centre back has a wealth of Championship experience and two promotions at West ham and Norwich under his belt, and following his admission from The Canaries 25 man squad, it would seem he’ll be heading back there very soon. The injury hit defender played every game for Norwich last season after coming back from knee problems, but following the signings of Michael Turner, Sebastian Bassong and yet another pre-season injury, Ward has seen himself knocked down the pecking order. Strong tackling, good in the air and still only 27, he’d be an excellent acquisition for a club looking to bolster their defensive options.

Michael Johnson – Manchester City

Once upon a time, a young Michael Johnson was the next biggest thing in English football. After breaking into the Man City first team at the age of just 19, he was seen as a future England international. But injuries, personal problems and weight issues has meant Johnson has played just 19 times in the last 4 seasons, 9 of which came during a loan spell at Leicester City last season that was curtailed by injury. Subsequently, he’s been left out of City’s squad but is in need of game time to get his career back on tract. It’s a huge gamble. Is he fit and going to stay fit? Is he worth the wages? Does he still have ability? There are so many questions that wont be answered until he is given some game time, but he’s still just 24 and there may be a club in the Football League willing to take a risk.

DJ Campbell, Luke Young, Rob Hulse, Radek Cerny – QPR

Following QPR’s transfer policy of buying anyone who used to be somewhat good and still has a fully functional pulse, there’s a lot dead wood that needs to be removed. Campbell showed he can do it at the highest level with an impressive goal tally for relegated Blackpool two seasons ago, whilst Hulse, despite injury plagued, has scored goals throughout his career and both would be an impressive loan signing for a Championship club. Radek Cerny, an experienced keeper, was first choice as QPR won promotion in 2011 and has played for Spurs and the Czech Republic national team. Although those days are past him at 38, he would still have something to offer as an excellent shot stopper. Finally, the most impressive of the four, Young has played in the Premier League for his entire career, has 7 England caps and played 25 times last season. He still has more than enough ability to play in The Championship and doesn’t deserve to waste his time away in QPR’s reserves.


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