It is said that football is a team game and you cannot win anything major if you don’t have a proper team and squad.
Now there is still room for individual brilliance and one-man shows, but that does the trick for a game or two.
If a team actually wants to succeed, a whole team effort is required to win various trophies and titles.
On the other end of the spectrum, if a team is fighting for survival in the relegation zone, the same adage applies.
A full team effort is critical, and one man rarely sees the squad float in the top-flight, and even if 1-2 excellent players are in the side, they go down with the team.
Consider that collateral damage.
So, here is a list of a few of the top players who, while they may not have deserved to be demoted from the Premier League, did so due to the collective effort of the 11 players on the pitch.
Georginio Wijnaldum – Newcastle United 2015/16
Newcastle signed Georginio Wijnaldum in the summer of 2015. He was the club’s most expensive buy at that time.
He got relegated with Newcastle the same season, and despite playing midfield, he was the club’s top goal scorer in the season.
His performances that season drew the attention of Liverpool, who signed him to a five-year contract worth £25 million.
With almost 60 caps for his country, Wijnaldum has shown to be a wonderful bargain in today’s market for Liverpool, after helping the club reach the Champions League final against Tottenham Hotspur in 2018/19.
Liverpool later sold him to PSG, where he now plays with the likes of Messi and Neymar.
What a turnaround for Gini Wijnaldum!
Roy Keane – Nottingham Forest 1992/93
His performance in his first Premier League season with Forest drew interest from some of the country’s best clubs, but it wasn’t enough to retain Brian Clough’s side in the level.
Keane was signed by Manchester United at the end of the season after being named to the PFA Team of the Year – and the rest is history.
Jermain Defoe – Sunderland 2016/17
Defoe, although being in his 30s, was more than capable of remaining a valuable asset to most Premier League clubs, as he demonstrated for Sunderland by scoring 15 league goals in consecutive seasons. He was a fan favorite, especially after forming a close bond with mascot Bradley Lowery, who sadly died in 2017 from a rare form of cancer.
It was a tremendous disappointment that the second batch of 15 goals he scored wasn’t enough to keep the Black Cats in the Premier League; after their ninth season in the top tier, they finished rock bottom.
Harry Maguire – Hull City 2016/17
Maguire experienced the abyss of relegation with Hull. The Tigers were relegated in 2016/17, but the center-back form had made him a sought-after player, and he joined Leicester the following summer after being awarded player of the year at Hull’s end-of-season awards.
Harry Maguire now plays with Manchester United of course, and he is the club captain.
Juninho – Middlesbrough 1996/97
Juninho has a special spot in almost everyone’s heart. During his second season at Boro, the pocket-sized Brazilian inspired the club to League and FA Cup finals, but the three points docked for canceling a December encounter proved deadly.
A 1-1 tie with Leeds on the final day of the season wasn’t enough to keep them in the Premier League, and it left the Brazil midfielder in tears, cementing his eternal place in Boro supporters’ hearts.