These footballers hold a very unique achievement of tasting failure and success in consecutive seasons.
The Premier League is arguably the strongest league in the world. It is particularly famous for being unpredictable, where even the bottom-placed team can defeat the league leaders. The competition is always fierce and closer than ever. Furthermore, the league can also bring a sudden change of fortunes in a player’s career. The unpredictability of the competition does not stop at the teams, it seeps into the careers of the players too.
There are only a handful of players who possess a very unique distinction. Having won the Premier League right after facing relegation from it. This feat is particularly hard to achieve. This is because to go from a relegated team to a title-winning team is not a common occurrence. However, the following five players stand as exceptions to that notion.
This is perhaps one of the most unique feats out there, but not for these individuals. Here are the five players who managed to win the Premier League after getting relegated in consecutive seasons:
5. Roy Keane
Roy Keane is a legend at Manchester United. The midfielder is regarded as one of their best captains of all-time. He was a huge part of the club’s initial success in the Premier League, where they won titles for fun. The Irishman joined Nottingham Forest as an 18-year-old when the outfit were in the top division. United picked up Keane after he was impressive for Nottingham, despite the team’s relegation during the 1992/93 season.
Manchester United would then go on to win the inaugural season of the Premier League era in 1993/94. Keane was a part of that side and went from facing relegation to winning the title in consecutive seasons. The central midfielder was famous for his aggressive nature both on and off the pitch. He would go on to win seven league titles with the club.
4. Tomasz Kuszczak
Tomasz Kuszczak is another figure, who faced relegation in the season prior to winning the league with Manchester United. The Polish international joined West Brom from Hertha BSC in the German Bundesliga in July 2004. He was part of the team that got relegated after the 2005/06 season. He signed for the Red Devils on loan and managed to win the Premier League title next season in 2006/07.
The custodian secured a permanent move to Old Trafford in July 2007 after an impressive debut season. Kuszczak would go on to win three league titles with the club. He hung his up boots in 2019.
3. Ben Foster
Ben Foster achieved the same feat as Tomasz Kuszczack when he won the league with Manchester United in 2007/08. The custodian was playing for Watford on loan from MUFC during the 2006/07 season. He played in 29 Premier League games, keeping six clean-sheets. However, the club ended up finishing in 20th place despite Foster’s best efforts.
The Englishman’s two-season loan ended in 2007/08 and he was back at United. However, he managed only one league appearance that year after struggling with a ligament injury. Regardless of game-time, he received the winner’s medal at the end of the season, after Manchester United won the Premier League for the second season in a row.
2. Harvey Elliott
Harvey Elliott is one of the most promising youngsters in English football. He has come through the ranks at Fulham’s academy. The 18-year-old made his top flight debut for the club during the 2018/19 Premier League season, when the London-based outfit faced relegation to the EFL Championship. Liverpool came calling for the player and he found a place in their U-23 squad next season.
Elliott made a couple of Premier League appearances during the 2019/20 season for the Reds. The Merseyside outfit managed to win the league that campaign and Elliott received his winner’s medal after facing relegation in the previous season.
1. Nathan Ake
Nathan Ake moved to Manchester City in August 2020 in a transfer worth €45.30m. The Dutch defender was impressive in a Bournemouth team that went down after finishing 18th during the 2019/20 Premier League season. The move raised a lot of eyebrows, after City signed a player from a team, which had suffered relegation. During the 2020/21 season, he won the league title with his new employers.
The 26-year-old also received the winner’s medal for the Carabao Cup triumph in the same season he won the Premier League. The only drawback for the centre-back would be the lack of game-time since his move. However, cementing a regular place in a team full of world-class players is a very tough challenge.