These players have impacted the game off the bench.
The Premier League is one of the most popular leagues in the world. England’s first division has boasted some of the best goalscorers in the history of the sport. Alan Shearer, Wayne Rooney, Sergio Aguero and many more have played in the competition. These stars always stole the limelight with their match-winning strikes. But, on occasions, it was the substitutes that grabbed the attention by scoring late goals.
Substitutes are a key part of football. They help managers with an option to change their tactics mid-game. The English top flight has had its share of ‘super-subs’ in the three decades of existence. These marksmen were able to take advantage of tired legs late on in matches. Often they scored dramatic goals in the final moments to change the outcome of games.
The players on this list were Premier League mainstays. Some of them were regular starters for their respective clubs. Others were used predominantly as impact subs by managers. Let’s have a look at the top five players with the most Premier League goals as a substitute.
5/ Daniel Sturridge – 17 Goals
Currently playing in the Australian A-League, the Englishman was one of the most feared strikers in the Premier League. He played for the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool in the competition. His most successful spell came with the Merseyside club.
Daniel Sturridge played for a total of five clubs in the Premier League. He came on as a substitute in 98 matches, scoring 17 goals.
The English striker started his career with Manchester City and then moved to Chelsea. Most of his appearances for the two clubs came from the bench. But, his career trajectory changed after signing for Liverpool.
He was used as a substitute by the Reds initially. But, eventually established himself in the first-team. He formed a lethal partnership with Luis Suarez. The duo led Liverpool to a second-place finish in the 2013/14 season.
4. Nwankwo Kanu – 17 Goals
The Nigerian is one of the most renowned strikers in the league. The majority of his appearances in England came as a substitute. He played for Arsenal, West Brom and Portsmouth in the English first division. Kanu came off the bench 117 times, netting 17 goals.
Nwankwo Kanu was one of the super-subs of his time. He was utilized effectively by Arsene Wenger during their invincible season. The Nigerian possessed brilliant skills and was able to unlock defences with his trickery.
He played alongside Thierry Henry and Denis Bergkamp during his Arsenal days. This limited Kanu’s role to a substitute. In his later years, the attacker was again used as a substitute at Portsmouth.
3. Javier Hernandez – 19 Goals
The Mexican was one of the best impact subs in the Premier League history. The striker was Sir Alex Ferguson’s go-to man when Manchester United needed a goal. He spent five years with the Red Devils, appearing mostly as a substitute. He won multiple league titles with them.
Javier Hernandez made 103 league appearances for Manchester United. He started 49 times, while 54 of his appearances came from the bench. Off his 37 goals for them, 14 came as a substitute.
Chicharito later joined West Ham in 2017. He was used in a similar role by the Hammers. The Mexican spent two seasons with them. Hernandez scored 16 goals for them, five as a substitute.
2. Olivier Giroud – 21 Goals
The Frenchman was one of the most prominent goalscorers in the league. He started his career in England with Arsenal. The striker was a guaranteed starter with the Gunners. He excelled in that role, helping the club to multiple Champions League qualifications. He won the FA Cup thrice with them.
Olivier Giroud then joined Chelsea. He was used mostly as a substitute at the club. However, the Frenchman again showed his quality in the new role. He became a super-sub with the Blues and was their go-to man when the team were trailing.
The striker came off the bench 103 times in the Premier League. He netted 21 times for both Arsenal and Chelsea as a substitute.
1. Jermain Defoe – 24 Goals
The Englishman is often overlooked in the conversation of great Premier League strikers. The former England international is the ninth leading scorer in the history of the league. He scored 162 goals for five clubs in the country.
Jermain Defoe enjoyed his best spell with Tottenham Hotspur. He was the first-choice forward for most of his career with the likes of Spurs, Sunderland and Bournemouth. But, the Englishman also shone as a substitute. He came off the bench for a total of 149 games, scoring a league record 24 goals.