Luka Modric And The Rot In The Reserves XI

Leaving a player to rot in the reserves is such a commonly used phrase in football, but is a threat that is rarely followed up....
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Leaving a player to rot in the reserves is such a commonly used phrase in football, but is a threat that is rarely followed up....

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It’s a threat commonly known in the footballing industry. When a player is acting up, fans insist that the miscreant is left to ‘rot in the reserves’ and made to see out his contract. It’s a popular option for Football Manager users, especially when Craig Bellamy doesn’t want to leave Manchester City, despite fining him two weeks wages at every given opportunity and made to train with the youth team.

The latest high profile incident regards Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Luka Modric. The Croatia international failed to report to Heathrow on Saturday ahead of the club’s pre-season tour of the USA. Fined £80,000 and reported to have made a grovelling apology to chairman Daniel Levy, having attempted to force through a move to Real Madrid, Spurs supporters are all for making the diminutive schemer train with the reserves, even though the North London side don’t have a reserve team to train with.

Modric’s contract doesn’t expire until 2016, meaning Levy has the upper hand at any given time over the next three-years, at least. As it stands, the 26-year-old has since reported back to the Spurs Lodge, in order to take part in training, but hasn’t flown to America to take part in their tour. He isn’t the first high profile player to have threatened with the danger of ‘rotting in the reserves’, with some managers instigating the option and bringing the full force of his power down upon the scoundrel.

GK: Santiago Canizares (Valencia)

The blonde haired shot-stopper made his name with Valencia between 1998 and 2008, making over 300 appearances during his 10 years at the Estadio Mestalla. Many argue that, perhaps, it should’ve been more. Upon his arrival in December 2007, head coach Ronald Koeman took the decision to axe Santiago Canizares, along with team-mates Miguel Angulo and David Albelda. The trio were cast away from first-team training, while Canizares was unable to join another team in Spain having made four appearances for Los Che. However, upon Koeman’s departure in April 2008, the then 39-year-old was welcomed back to the first-team fold before retiring at the end of the season. Canizares achieved global fandom back in 2002, after dropping an aftershave bottle on his foot and severing a tendon, forcing him out of the World Cup.

RB: Roger Johnson (Wolverhampton Wanderers)

There was a lot of interest in Roger Johnson following Birmingham City’s relegation from the Premier League in 2011. The likes of Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur were all keen on the 29-year-old, who was described as “an inspiring defensive presence throughout,” by the Daily Telegraph following the 2-1 win over Arsenal in the Carling Cup final that year. However, only Wolverhampton Wanderers showed a real interest in the defender before signing him for a reported £7m. Despite being handed the captaincy upon his arrival, it wasn’t to end well for Johnson. Following Wolves’ 5-0 defeat to Fulham back in March, the centre-back turned up to training on the Monday drunk, before being made to train with the development squad by then manager Terry O’Connor. The Wednesday after the incident, Johnson apologised for his behaviour.

Canizares achieved global fandom back in 2002, after dropping an aftershave bottle on his foot and severing a tendon, forcing him out of the World Cup.

CB: Alex (Chelsea)

The powerful defender was officially ‘on the books’ with Chelsea since 2004, but work permit problems meant Alex spent the next three years with PSV Eindhoven. Finally arriving at Stamford Bridge in 2007, the Brazilian went on to make 87 league appearances for the Blues. However, his career stagnated upon the arrival of Andre Villas-Boas in the summer of 2011, with the young tactician opting against selecting Alex for first-team duties. As such, Villas-Boas wanted to get the 30-year-old off the Chelsea pay-roll and after a lack of first-team action, the former Juventus-SP trainee finally saw his transfer request accepted by the Blues board. However, as a result Villas-Boas made Alex train with the reserves, along with Nicholas Anelka, after the 34-year-old banned the duo from training with the first-team and using the club’s facilities.

CB: Matt Mills (Leicester City)

Following the arrival of Sven-Goran Eriksson at the King Power Stadium in 2011, Matt Mills quickly followed from Reading, having played under the Swede during the duo’s respective time with Manchester City. Mills was immediately instilled as captain, but things went sour for the 26-year-old following Eriksson’s sacking. The Foxes appointed Nigel Pearson as his successor and in February, reports of a bust-up emerged between the defender and manager. Mills denies the heated exchange with Pearson, but was forced to train with the reserves. Leeds United and West Ham United were both linked with a move for the centre-back, but he insisted he wouldn’t leave on-loan ‘out of respect for the fans’. Nevertheless, he didn’t play for Leicester again since February and has since signed for Bolton Wanderers.

LB: Winston Bogarde (Chelsea)

Winston Bogarde shot to prominence during his four-year spell with Chelsea, but for all the wrong reasons. He was part of the influential “Dutch” Barcelona side of the 1998/99 season under Louis van Gaal, where he made 41 appearances during his 18 months at the Camp Nou. It was at Stamford Bridge that Bogarde began to garner worldwide attention. Signed as a then 29-year-old, many had expected big things from the former Sparta Rotterdam trainee. However, throughout the duration of his spell with Chelsea, Bogarde made just nine Premier League appearances, despite repeated efforts to sell him due to his inflated wages. The Blues demoted him from first-team duties to reserve and then the youth team in order to force him out of the club, but as he couldn’t secure a similar pay-packet elsewhere, Bogarde refused to leave. He is quoted as saying of his contract: “Why should I throw €15m away when it is already mine?” He retired in 2004, much to the delight of the Chelsea hierarchy.

RM: Dean Morgan (Luton Town)

Dean Morgan was in an all too similar boat to Bogarde, in that he was earning a massively inflated wage, but refused to leave. The winger joined Luton Town in 2005, but spent half of his time on loan than with the Hatters. Morgan was earning silly money with Luton during his four years with the conference outfit, with the management team in charge of the club upon his arrival offering him a deal that included huge bonus payments for first-team appearances. As such, Luton forced Morgan to train with the reserves in order to force him out, but couldn’t play him in the first-team due to the massive financial loss. He refused to go out on-loan unless he was earning the same weekly wage he was bringing in with Luton and as such, was released on free on 2009. Currently out of contract following spells with Grays Athletic, MK Dons, Aldershot Town, Chesterfield and Oxford United.

CM: David Albelda (Valencia)

David Albelda was part of the Valencia trio that was cast out of the first-team by Ronald Koeman in 2007, which included the aforementioned Canizares and Miguel Angulo. Albelda has earned himself the fan favourite status, having spent the past 14 years with Los Che, including two loan spells with Villarreal in 1996 and 1998. The timing couldn’t have been worse for the 34-year-old, who had just signed a new deal with the La Liga giants until 2011 prior to his axing. The entire fiasco threatened to get ugly in January 2008, with the holding midfielder threatening legal action after being refused to cancel his contract amicably. A number of club’s had shown a strong interest in Albelda, and were prepared to spend big on the Valencia captain during the winter transfer window. However, he was reinstated to the first-team, along with Canizares and Angulo, upon Keoman’s sacking later that year.

He (Bogarde) is quoted as saying of his contract: “Why should I throw €15m away when it is already mine?” He retired in 2004, much to the delight of the Chelsea hierarchy.

CM: Miguel Angulo (Valencia)

The final piece in the axing trio, Miguel Angulo was another to have fallen under the sword of Koeman upon his arrival. The Spaniard never secured a regular starting spot, unlike Albelda and Canizares, but mustered over 300 appearances during his 14-year association with the La Liga giants. Upon Koeman’s dismissal in April 2008, he was reinstated to the first-team, but failed to do enough to warrant a new contract in 2009. Angulo signed a year-long deal with Sporting Clube de Portugal in August of that year, before being released after four months. He retired from the game as a result of his poor spell with the Lisbon outfit in 2009.

LM: Eljero Elia (Juventus)

Eljero Elia first made a name for himself back in 2007 when he signed for FC Twente. He made to the move to the Eredivisie side on the promise of first-team football, something Ajax couldn’t provide, despite their interest. As such, Elia secured move to Hamburg in 2009, where again he continued to excel. The Dutchman continued his prominence rise to stardom, signing for Juventus last summer, despite being linked with a move to the Premier League. However, his career stagnated upon his arrival in Italy, and the 25-year-old featured just four times last season. As such, head coach Antonio Conte advised him to train with the reserves before Elia had enough and handed in a transfer request last month. Now back in Germany with Werder Bremen, a club which has banned players from getting tattoos after the winger suffered an infection due to a poorly applied tattoo, he is hoping to reignite his faltering career.

ST: Nicholas Anelka (Chelsea)

Nicholas Anelka was the other to feel the wrath of Andre Villas-Boas during December 2011. With Alex, the Frenchman was cast away from training with the first-team and banned from using the Chelsea facilities. The actions of the Portuguese youngster saw Anelka secure a move away to Shanghai Shenhua at the beginning of the year, ending his three-year association with Chelsea. He would later be joined by Didier Drogba in China.

ST: Emmanuel Adebayor (Manchester City)

Manchester City paid big money to take Emmanuel Adebayor away from Arsenal in 2009, and initially he delivered on the big stage. He ended his debut campaign with 14 goals in all competitions as City just missed out on a top four finish. However, he was at the forefront of controversy early in his Citizens career after sprinting 90 yards to celebrate a goal in the 4-2 win over Arsenal. His time with City was tarnished as a result and it was hardly surprising to have seen him used sporadically during his second year with the club. A six month loan spell in 2011 saw him re-emerge as one of the game’s top marksmen and was linked with a permanent move to the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu. However, it was Tottenham Hotspur that emerged as favourites to sign the Togolese front-man, but not before a brief stop at the Etihad Stadium. Upon his return, Adebayor was banned from the club’s pre-season tour of America last summer and threatened with a £300,000 fine for refusing to train with the reserves and youth team. He quickly pitched up at White Hart Lane shortly after and has been linked with a permanent move to the club after a successful loan spell last season.

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