Injured Players: Out-of-Sight, Out-of-Mind?

Legend has it that Bill Shankly, the celebrated Liverpool manager, never used to speak to his injured players. He would effectively write them off as irrelevant until they were fit and able to help his team once more—and according to the Brandtix Sports Index, this attitude can also be seen amongst fans.

Following the publication of BBC Sport’s informative article on the most-injured Barclays Premier League players since January 2013, (http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/35418264)  we decided to take a look at how long-term absences affect players’ BSI scores, which reflect both their on-field performances and social media appeal.

Take Daniel Sturridge, the unfortunate star of the BBC’s piece. At one point in the not-too-distant past, he was the BPL’s second deadliest striker and England’s spearhead for years to come. However, he’s been unavailable through injury for over half of his three years at Liverpool and during that time his social media status has suffered as much as his sporting one.

Since his two goals against Aston Villa at the end of September, the striker has missed 13 of his club’s 16 BPL games and his BSI score has steadily declined to its current total of 386, which places him a lowly 153rd amongst Premier League players in the index.

The number of people talking about him has seen several spikes over the last few months, with the most significant peaking at almost 30k on December 2nd when he scored his quick-fire brace against Southampton in the Capital One Cup. Overall, however, Sturridge’s social stats will be as concerning to him, his representatives and his sponsors as his on-field ones (or lack thereof!).

The mass of red in his sentiment meter (over 83% of emotive comments about him have been negative over the past three months) is beginning to be reflected in his social media fan base, with his Facebook following seeing a net decline over the last month. Sturridge will hope his long-awaited comeback reverses this trend.

A more recent example of how enforced absences can affect players as much as the clubs they are leaving behind, Alexis Sanchez’ hamstring injury, sustained against Norwich City on November 29, left the talented Chilean kicking his heels for almost two months.

During this time, Sanchez’ index score declined by almost 25%, with significant troughs over the BPL’s busy Christmas schedule reflecting the relative gains other players were making simply by being on the field. Having seen his BSI score drop from 596 to 456, Sanchez currently sits in 17th place in the Premier League index.

Like Sturridge, the Arsenal playmaker also experienced a marked increase in negative sentiment towards him on social media during his absence. Now fit and playing, however, he will be hoping he can head back towards the top of the index—and take his club closer to the Premier League’s summit.

These two examples just go to show that, in a sport where players can be afforded almost god-like status when they’re starring for their teams, a few months on the sidelines can very quickly turn them into forgotten men.

To find out more about the Brandtix Sports Index, visit our website or email us at info@brandtix.com.P151202-056-Southampton_Liverpool-1168x840

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By | January 29th 2016|0 Comments

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