5 of the Premier League’s most underrated players right now
The term “underrated” is overused in football, with so many claims to the title that it is almost contradictory.
Having said that, even in an era when every second of Premier League football is watched, analysed, and scrutinized by the masses, there are a few names whose work goes largely unnoticed.
We’ve decided to look at a group of Premier League players who may deserve more credit; here are five of the division’s most underappreciated players right now.
Matip’s unsung role in Jurgen Klopp’s side has been recognized by those inside Anfield, with the central defender achieving cult status with the Reds, but he is rarely mentioned when discussing the Premier League’s best centre-backs.
Despite the arrival of Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig last summer, the 30-year-old remains Liverpool’s first-choice partner for Van Dijk, with Matip frequently bringing a sense of calm and composure to the backline.
This season, he ranks third at Liverpool in interceptions, blocks, and clearances per 90 minutes, and third in the Premier League in progressive carrying distance, trailing only Manchester City’s Ruben Dias and Aymeric Laporte.
Matips’ willingness to step forward and run through opposition lines adds a new dimension when Liverpool is looking to break down deep-lying sides, and Klopp is in no doubt about the importance of a player who has been one of the best free transfer signings in recent seasons.
Oriol Romeu is another player whose profile has been diluted by the presence of his partner in the side, with James Ward-Prowse making headlines at Southampton this season.
Ward-status Prowse’s as club captain and penchant for the spectacular have rightly drawn attention, but Romeu’s understated role alongside him should not be overlooked.
The 30-year-old is in his seventh season with the Saints, but he is in arguably his best form since winning the club’s Player of the Season award in 2016/17, with the Spaniard removing the rashness of previous seasons to provide a composed and authoritative figure in the engine room.
This season, Romeu ranks fourth in the Premier League in terms of possession won, and the combination of tenacity and technique he and Ward-Prowse bring has led to an improvement in Southampton’s form, with Ralph Hasenhuttl hailing the pair following the win over Everton earlier this month.
“It is blind understanding, if you want. This couple is amazing on the ball and also against the ball. Ori again today, a lot of ball wins. Very disciplined,” he said following the 2-0 win at St Mary’s.
“They know exactly what they have to do in this position and the answer is strength. And definitely nice to watch.”
Mohammed Salisu also deserves to be mentioned after an outstanding season at Southampton this season, with the defender leading all Premier League centre-backs in combined tackles and interceptions by a wide margin.