Which football players have been left out after scoring a hat-trick? | Soccer

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“Olimpija Ljubljana midfielder Saar Fadida scored a hat-trick in the Slovenian league against NK Rogaska at the end of July. Three days later he was on the bench for the whole game when they played Ludogorets in a Champions League qualifier. Are there any other examples of players who were fit but didn’t start the next official match after scoring a hat-trick?” tweets Alex Shwartser.

In context, Fadida’s omission isn’t quite as heartless as it sounds. Technically he wasn’t dropped at all. Having come on as a first-half substitute, Fadida scored on the stroke of half-time and added two late goals in a 5-0 win over Rogaska. For the crucial Champions League qualifier in the week, the Ljubljana manager João Henriques returned to the XI that had played the first leg. They went through so all’s well that ends well, though Fadida’s internal monologue would have been an interesting red-button feature.

For a variety of reasons – squad rotation, quality of opposition, switching between competitions, a change of manager – it’s not particularly unusual for hat-trick heroes to be on the bench for the next game. Sir Alex Ferguson alone did it 10 times at Manchester United. But let’s start with a couple of examples from international football.

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Australia beat Fiji 2-0, an important result that would have looked far better had they not scored 31 three days earlier.

The case of Ian Wright and England was slightly different. He scored four in Graham Taylor’s last game in charge, the humiliating 7-1 win over San Marino in 1993, but was an unused squad member when the new manager Terry Venables started with a 1-0 win over Denmark. Wright couldn’t score for England, so he did it for Arsenal instead: either side of the Denmark game, he scored consecutive Premier League hat-tricks away to Ipswich and Southampton.

Ian Wright didn’t always get a fair chance in an England shirt.
Ian Wright didn’t always get a fair chance in an England shirt. Photograph: PA Images/Alamy

A not dissimilar fate befell Tammy Abraham at Chelsea in January 2021. He scored a hat-trick in a 3-1 win over Luton in the FA Cup, but Frank Lampard was sacked the following day and Thomas Tuchel put Abraham on the bench for his first game.

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Shinji Kagawa scored a sensual hat-trick for Manchester United against Norwich in March 2013. Three days later they had a slightly stiffer challenge – Real Madrid at home in what turned out to be Sir Alex Ferguson’s last-ever European game – and he stayed on the bench.

Shinji Kagawa is one of 10 Manchester United players to have scored a hat-trick before being left out by Sir Alex Ferguson.
Shinji Kagawa is one of 10 Manchester United players to have scored a hat-trick before being left out by Sir Alex Ferguson. Photograph: Michael Regan/Getty Images

Ferguson, a pioneer of rotation in his time at Manchester United, was used to doing such things. In 2000-01, a week after his first-half hat-trick in a 6-1 destruction of title rivals Arsenal, Dwight Yorke was on the bench at Leeds. That season, all three United players who scored hat-tricks were omitted for the next game. Andy Cole was among the subs at Everton a few days after scoring a hat-trick against Anderlecht, while Teddy Sheringham didn’t make the matchday squad at Watford in the League Cup on the back of a starring role in a 5-0 victory over Southampton.

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It happened twice to Dimitar Berbatov during the 2010-11 season, once after scoring five in a 7-1 win over Blackburn in the Premier League. United went to West Ham for a League Cup tie a few days later and Ferguson picked a reserve side. Even when United returned to Premier League action in a top-of-the-table clash against Arsenal a fortnight later, Berbatov was left out for tactical reasons. A few months earlier Berbatov – fresh from a matchwinning hat-trick against Liverpool – was given the night off when United went to Scunthorpe in the League Cup.

Carlos Tevez (December 2008 v Blackburn and Sunderland), Wayne Rooney (November/December 2009 v Portsmouth and Tottenham) Michael Owen (December 2009 v Wolfsburg and Aston Villa) and Robin van Persie (September 2012 v Southampton and Wigan) are also members of this peculiar club.

Colin Lee bagged four on his Spurs debut (a 9-0 gubbing of Bristol R in Div Ii, 22/10/77) and then sat out the next league game, a 3-1 win at Stoke. To the best of my knowledge Lee wasn’t injured, returning for the next matches – but I’ll stand corrected if anyone knows better.

— Jeremy Simmonds (@Jah_Womble) August 30, 2023

Mike Slattery highlights a quirky case at the end of the 2002-03 season. In their penultimate league game, Arsenal beat Southampton 6-1, with Jermaine Pennant and Robert Pires scoring hat-tricks. Pennant was left out three days later, but came on in the 64th minute to replace, yep, Pires. To make things even more complicated, Pennant’s replacement, the fit-again Freddie Ljungberg, scored a hat-trick.

In the twilight of his glorious Rangers career, Ally McCoist hit three in a 4-1 League Cup win over Falkirk in August 1997. On the Saturday, McCoist was furious when Walter Smith preferred Marco Negri up front, and told anyone who would list that Smith was a mad man. Negri scored all five against Dundee United and Smith had the last word. “I’ll tell you how much of a mad man I am,” he said to McCoist. “You’re not playing next week either.”

It wasn’t the next game per se, but we should probably mention the sad case of Lucas Moura, whose astonishing hat-trick away to Ajax took Spurs to the Champions League final in 2019. By the time the match came around, Harry Kane was fit again – okay, half fit – and Moura started on the bench. Spurs lost 2-0 to Liverpool.

The last thing Matt Le Tissier did in an England shirt was score a magnificent hat-trick for England B against Russia in April 1998. He didn’t make Glenn Hoddle’s World Cup squad and by the time England B next played an official game in May 2006, Le Tissier was a fixture on Soccer Saturday.

We’ll end with a few more names who we couldn’t fit in above.

  • Giorgios Samaras 2010-11: Celtic 6-0 Inverness CT, sub v Hibernian

  • Jon Daly 2010-11: Dundee United 4-0 Motherwell, sub Rangers

  • Theo Walcott 2012-13: Reading 5-7 Arsenal, sub v Man Utd

  • Fernando Llorente 2017-18: Spurs 6-1 Rochdale, not in squad v Huddersfield

The A-Z of the Premier League

Now Jarrell Quansah has made an appearance Liverpool have fielded a player with a surname from every letter of the alphabet bar U and Y. Has anyone completed the set?

— Will Nichols (@WillNicholsEsq) August 29, 2023

Will subsequently clarified that he was talking about the Premier League era, which rules out Arsenal because Niall Quinn left for Manchester City in 1990. But there is at least one example, although one of the letters requires a slight reach. Spoiler alert: it’s West Ham. Here’s a player for each letter of the alphabet.

  • Samassi Abou

  • Marco Boogers

  • Joe Cole

  • Julian Dicks

  • Matthew Etherington

  • Anton Ferdinand

  • Dale Gordon

  • Michael Hughes

  • Danny Ings

  • Matt Jarvis

  • Fredi Kanoute

  • Steve Lomas

  • Alvin Martin

  • Mark Noble

  • Pedro Obiang

  • Steve Potts

  • Nigel Quashie

  • Florin Raducioiu

  • Teddy Sheringham

  • Carlos Tevez

  • Matthew Upson

  • Enner Valencia

  • Danny Williamson

  • Xande Silva

  • Andriy Yarmolenko

  • Pablo Zabaleta

The antepenultimate name is the one inviting a pedantic intervention. The Portuguese forward Alexandre “Xande” Nascimento da Costa e Silva played one league game for West Ham against Burnley in 2018. He had Xande Silva on the back of his shirt, so we’re counting that as a full surname, beginning with X. If you don’t like it, go and read another football trivia column.

Xande Silva, seen here in 2021, now plays as a winger or forward for Atlanta United on loan from Dijon.
Xande Silva, seen here in 2021, now plays as a winger or forward for Atlanta United on loan from Dijon. Photograph: Chloe Knott/Danehouse/Getty Images

Perfect circle

“Manchester City were the only Premier League team to win their first three games. What’s the earliest in a season when no team has had a perfect record?” tweets Bernard Carthy.

Unless anybody can find a league in which all games on the opening day were drawn – and Mike Slattery came very close with an answer that would have been beyond satire – the final answer for this question is two. There will be gazillions of examples, so we’ll settle for the two reader answers we received.

Derek Brosnan offered the old Division One in 1989-90, when six teams had four points and Manchester United were top on goal difference. Alex Ferguson spent almost £10m on five new players, an English record for a single summer, but it soon unravelled. They lost four of the next five games, including a legendary shellacking at Maine Road, and spent much of the winter in a relegation battle. They emerged from that, won the FA Cup and never looked back.

Clive Mendonca of Charlton Athletic scores from the penalty spot on the opening day of the 1998-99 Premier League season.
Clive Mendonca of Charlton Athletic scores from the penalty spot on the opening day of the 1998-99 Premier League season. Photograph: Getty Images

After two games of the 1998-99 Premier League season, the leaders were newly promoted Charlton Athletic. They drew their first game 0-0 at Newcastle before trouncing Southampton 5-0, with Clive Mendonca scoring his second high-profile hat-trick in a few months.

The Premier League table after two games of the 1998-99 season
The Premier League table after two games of the 1998-99 season. Photograph: premierleague.com

Alas, it didn’t last. Despite a solid autumn, including a memorable 3-3 draw at Anfield, Charlton went into freefall and were relegated on the final day of the season. The team that stayed up ahead of them? Southampton, who they’d thrashed on that idyllic day nine months earlier.

Knowledge archive

“I seem to remember Matt Le Tissier being booked without ever stepping on to the pitch,” reminisced Will Parsons in more innocent times 20 years ago. “He must have sworn at a linesman while warming up or something. How rare is this and what would happen if he’d been red carded?

It’s not as rare as you’d think, Will. Before moving to Juventus, Enzo Maresca [now Leicester City manager – 2023 ed] saw yellow before ever steeping on the field for West Brom. “He was booked for celebrating too enthusiastically from the subs bench,” Steven Gray informs us.

Joseph Poh recalls a similar fate befalling Tim Flowers, who was sent off for abusing a referee or assistant referee while warming the bench for Blackburn at Coventry. Mark Rees, meanwhile, sends in news of Chorley player Stuart Tulloch, who recently pulled off the impressive feat of getting booked for excessive celebrations while sitting on the bench. The funny thing was, he wasn’t actually part of team’s squad that particular day. “Quite what the ref thought he was doing waving a card at someone wearing a white T-shirt, no socks and white trainers is anyone’s guess,” Steve muses.

Argentina manager Marcelo Bielsa (right) watches as the substitute Claudio Canigga is sent off during the World Cup match against Sweden in 2002
Argentina manager Marcelo Bielsa (right) watches as the substitute Claudio Canigga is sent off during the World Cup match against Sweden in 2002. Photograph: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

However, the daddy of all dugout disciplinary matters, as many of you were quick to point out, featured lank-haired Argentine Worzel Gummidge look-alike Claudio Caniggia, who was sent off for dissent in last summer’s World Cup finals. A substitute on the bench at the time, the Rangers midfielder didn’t spend so much as a single second on the pitch at any point during the competition.”

Read more…

The Knowledge

Can you help?

“When did the tradition of a player doing keepy-uppies while being unveiled begin?” asks Kurt Perleberg.

@TheKnowledge_GU After the Son, Haaland, Ferguson treble of trebles on Saturday in the Premier League … what is the highest number of hat-tricks achieved in one division on one day?

— stuart goodwin (@stuartgoodwin) September 2, 2023

“Inter Miami goalie Drake Callender won Man of the Match in the 2023 Leagues Cup final despite being credited with an own-goal (an unfortunate double deflection). How often has this happened before?” asks Wouter van Dael.

At the 1958 World Cup, Brazilian right-back Djalma Santos played only in the final (1/6 matches). Despite that, multiple media outlets listed him in the team of the tournament.
Has any other player ever featured in the team of a tournament/season while playing so little?

— Ben (@BenJaneson) September 5, 2023

“At the time of writing, seven of the nine League One games scheduled for Saturday due to international call-ups on the 9th September. Is that a record, and which is the lowest-placed team to have a game postponed due to players getting an international callup?” asks Dominic Synnock.

The latest England squad includes players from five different leagues. England obviously, plus Germany (Kane), Spain (Bellingham), Italy (Tomori) and Saudi Arabia (Henderson). Has there ever been an England squad with so many national leagues represented?

— Andy Brook 🏆 (@andybrook1) September 5, 2023



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