Every Premier League team’s most underrated player, including Georginio Wijnaldum at Liverpool and Granit Xhaka and Arsenal

7 Dec

Forget your prolific centre forward or your maverick no.10, every fan loves an underrated star.

The sort of player who could literally score a perfect hat-trick and still not get the credit he deserves; think Emile Heskey and Michael Owen.

The Spaniard has been a loyal servant to the Blues

Cesar Azpilcueta’s new four-year deal at Chelsea means the defender is set to make it a decade at Stamford Bridge, an incredible feat afforded to very few players in the Roman Abramovich era.

Since arriving from Marseille in 2012, the defender has been as consistent as they come, managing to win two Premier League titles, two FA Cups and a Europa League trophy in his six years thus far.

The 29-year-old’s £6m fee seems like one of the Premier League’s greatest ever bargains and here at talkSPORT.com, it got us to thinking about the other underrated players in the Premier League who fail to get the recognition they so rightly deserve.

So, without further ado, here is every Premier League club’s most underrated player.


Granit Xhaka (Centre Midfield)

To put it politley, the Switzerland international was poor under Arsene Wenger. Ill-disciplined and defensively clueless; Xhaka looked lost when playing against the best the Premier League had to offer.

However, under Unai Emery, the 26-year-old is thriving with the responsibilities entrusted to him. He knows his position and thrives under specific instructions.

With Lucas Torreira alongside him, the Gunners seem to have finally fixed the midfield woes which have plagued them since Patrick Vieira left.


Steve Cook (Centre-back)

A player who has risen through the ranks like Eddie Howe with the Cherries, Cook has made a seamless transition to Premier League life.

Despite not possessing the pace of many top-flight strikers, the Englishman’s never-say-die attitude and tactical nous means he is seemingly always one step ahead.

While Nathan Ake may receive many deserved plaudits, defensive partner Cook is a vital cog in Bournemouth’s system.

Brighton and Hove Albion

Solly March (Winger)

Wherever he has worked, Chris Hughton has had a knack for signing hard-working, honest players who will diligently carry out their tasks – meaning there are plenty of candidates for the role of ‘most underrated’ at the Amex.

But March is a different kettle of fish. The youngster came through the academy at Lewes before signing a professional deal with the Seagulls in 2011. Adept at playing on either wing or through the middle, he has a wonderful football brain and a dangerous left peg to boot.


Charlie Taylor (Left-back)

The former Leeds United defender joined in 2017, but made just a handful of appearances for the Clarets last season.

However, he has firmly established himself in the side under Sean Dyche – becoming a vital player in the process.

The 25-year-old is solid at the back and possesses a wicked left foot which can whip in dangerous crosses for the likes of Sam Vokes and Chris Wood.

Cardiff City

Aron Gunarrsson (Centre Midfield)

If the Bluebirds are to survive in the Premier League this season, the leadership and inspirational skills of Gunarrsson will be crucial.

The Iceland skipper looks like a viking and has the characteristics to boot. A no-nonsense midfielder who loves to break up play and get his team on the front foot, his dirty work is crucial to Neil Warnock’s style of play.

He also happens to have an absolute Howitzer of a throw in, so expect to see him grab a few assists before the end of the season.


Cesar Azpilicueta (Right-back)

Known affectionately as ‘Dave’ by Blues fans, the Spaniard has literally played across every position at the back since joining in 2012.

Roberto Di Matteo, Rafa Benitez, Jose Mourinho, Guus Hiddink, Antonio Conte and now Maurizio Sarri have all started the Spaniard during their respective stints at Stamford Bridge – a remarkable testament to his consistency and professionalism.

Losing Eden Hazard seems an inevitability at some point in the future, but Chelsea fans should be glad to see Azpiliceuta commit his future to the club.

Crystal Palace

James Tomkins (Centre-back)

James McArthur goes through so much work unnoticed in the engine room for Palace, but fans have recently started to appreciate former West Ham man Tomkins at the back for his defensive efforts.

The centre-half was once tipped for the very top in east London, but a move south appears to have brought out the best from him.

Goals have been hard to come by for the Eagles thus far, so Roy Hodgson will be hoping the former England Under-21 international can continue to be solid at the other end.


Lucas Digne (Left-back)

Perhaps it is a prerequisite to joining, but full-backs seem to arrive at Goodison Park and become cult heroes for their hard work.

For years, Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines were criminally underrated for their work out wide, and it seems as though Digne has taken up the mantle.

Despite his slight frame, he has adapted to the rigours of the English top-flight well and even earned a recall to the France squad after missing the World Cup win in Russia.


Luciano Vietto (Striker)

New Whites boss Claudio Ranieri will surely love working with the Argentine. At Leicester City, Shinji Okazaki and Ranieri worked so well together in their incredible title-winning season two years ago.

Vietto won’t stop running for his team-mates, freeing up space behind the more skilled operators to work.

Should he strike up a classic little and large partnership with Aleksandr Mitrovic, Fulham will surely begin to propel themselves up the table in no time.

Huddersfield Town

Phillip Billing (Centre midfield)

David Wagner’s men are struggling at the wrong end of the table this season once again, but Billing’s stock is continuing to rise.

Only the woodwork has denied the Denmark youth international from scoring some absolute screamers, but it is his gritty work in midfield which is seriously catching the eye.

Standing at 6″4, the 22-year-old is as imposing as they come and a move to a bigger club will surely be on the horizon if he continues to perform the way he is, as he can only fly under the radar for so long.

Leicester City

Wilfred Ndidi (Centre midfield)

Any defensive midfielder who joined the Foxes after N’Golo Kante’s departure was likely to be burdened with comparisons.

However, after an adjustment period in the Premier League, the Nigeria international is starting to boss the middle and the Kante comparisons are no more.

It is remarkable to think he is just 21 given his composure and maturity. Claude Puel has a serious player on his hands, who is also starting to show his skills going forward as well.


Georginio Wijnaldum (Centre midfield)

Until he was rewarded for his excellent displays with the Scotland captaincy, Andrew Robertson was a safe bet for the most underrated player in the Premier League.

However, the continually subtle excellence of Wijnaldum for Jurgen Klopp’s men means he is now one of the first names on the team sheet.

Having kept new signings Fabinho and Naby Keita out of the Reds’ side, expect to see the former Newcastle United man rack up the appearances as the title race heats up.

Manchester City

Aymeric Laporte (Centre-back)

When City were unceremoniously dumped out of the Champions League by Liverpool last season, Mohamed Salah apologised during the first leg to Laporte for running the young Frenchman absolutely ragged.

Fast forward eight months and it is clear to see just how much the former Athletic Bilbao defender has improved.

His range of passing is quite superb and, after a full pre-season, his partnership with John Stones should provide any City with great optimism for the future.

Manchester United

Victor Lindelof (Centre-back)

It has been a miserable season for the Red Devils thus far; eight points off the Champions League places and 18 points off rivals City in top spot.

However, the emergence of Lindelof at the back has been a huge bonus. His performances in the games against Juventus were nothing short of remarkable.

Although he sustained an injury against Crystal Palace, the Swede is closing in on a return to action. Having seen Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic at the back in his absence, Jose Mourinho must be counting down the days.

Newcastle United

Ki Sung-Yeung (Centre midfield)

Like most of the summer arrivals at St James’ Park, the signing of Ki from Swansea City on a free went relatively under the radar and was met with little enthusiasm from the Toon Army.

The South Korea skipper helped knock Germany out of the World Cup and has continued to deliver solid, if not spectacular, performances.

If the Magpies are to continue defying the odds and survive on a shoestring budget, Ki will be key to their chances.


Maya Yoshida (Centre-back)

Year after year, the top talent from St Mary’s seems to be churned out and constantly poached by the Premier League elite.

However, Yoshida has remained ever since they regained their place in the top tier in 2012, constantly slipping under the radar after watching partners Dejan Lovren and Virgil van Dijk join Liverpool.

If the Saints are to escape trouble, they will need all of the Japan international’s experience to guide them to a seventh consecutive season in the Premier League.

Tottenham Hotspur

Ben Davies (Left-back)

Until last season, Hueng-min Son would have easily won this accolade. Yet he was finally recognised as one of the most dangerous forwards in the division by doing a remarkable job during Harry Kane’s absence at the start of 2018.

Now, the title of ‘most underrated’ is held by Davies.

Danny Rose would walk into most teams in the Premier League, but Mauricio Pochettino still trusts the Wales international to do a job down the left.


Craig Cathcart (Centre-back)

Getting released from Manchester United would feel like the end of the world to most players. After years in the wilderness of the Championship with Blackpool, it seemed like the Northern Ireland international’s chance of making it at the highest level had passed him.

However, the Hornets snapped him up on a free and Cathcart has not looked back since.

His excellent reading of the game allows him to make crucial interceptions with ease.

West Ham United

Łukasz Fabiański (Goalkeeper)

Fabianski became the first goalkeeper in 12 years that West Ham paid a transfer fee for when he arrived in the summer. Every other keeper between 2006 and 2018 arrived for free.

So far, the Poland international has made the £7million fee look like one of the best bargains in the club’s history.

A wonderful shot stopper with the propensity to start attacks from the back, the 33-year-old looks set to stay between the sticks for the Hammers for the foreseeable.

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Willy Boly (Centre-back)

The former Porto star linked up with old coach Nuno Espirito Santo when he joined the Black Country club last summer on a loan deal.

Such was his brilliance at the back in a three-man defence, Wolves snapped up the towering centre back the following summer.

A menace at set-pieces at both boxes, Boly has helped shut out some of the best sides in the Premier League already this season.