Every team has them. Those players whose presence on the bench when the team sheets are read out leave supporters open-mouthed. Substitutes are supposed to be just that. A reserve. A backup. Not first-choice players.
Unless a player is coming back from injury and needs to be re-introduced to the team gradually over time, then there is no excuse for keeping certain players in the background. It does neither player nor manager any favours whatsoever. How many times have we seen a player who should never have been sidelined in the first place come on and change the course of a match?
We take a look at five players who shouldn’t be spending any time at all in the dugout.
#5 Reece Oxford – West Ham United
It was one of the best debuts the Premier League has ever seen. When 16-year-old Reece Oxford made his EPL debut, he became the second-youngest player ever to make a Premier League debut. And he was West Ham’s man of the match in the opening fixture of this season against Arsenal, a 2-0 victory for the Hammers which sent shockwaves throughout the English top flight.
The youngster was assured and comfortable in possession, always taking the simple option and trying not to over elaborate on his first senior outing. Up against £42.4m man Mesut Ozil, it was the pupil rather than the master that looked the most confident.
Not a single ball was misplaced all afternoon and the Hammers midfield looked as water-tight as it has done for years. Already a seasoned England schoolboy international, the media were talking in such glowing terms that a senior call-up seemed a formality.
But since then the player has mysteriously fallen completely off the radar; stuck on the bench and barely risked since by Hammers manager Slaven Bilic. A decision that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
Reece Oxford is going places. Just not yet.