The Premier League suspension could yet see some players playing more of a part in the rest of the campaign than they expected
It’s now been over a month since we had any Premier League action, and we are still no clearer on when the beautiful game will return.
There are a few players for whom the indefinite delay might help them play more of a part in the season than they thought.
Which clubs are likely to be affected on the field and could it impact on any potential issues in the table? We took a closer look.
Paul Pogba has played just seven times in the Premier League for Manchester United this season
Remember Paul Pogba?
Often accused of going missing, the world’s most expensive player at one time, Paul Pogba, really has been absent this season.
The France international has played just seven Premier League games thanks to an ankle injury and illness and had an operation in January.
Could he return for any resumption of the season as Man Utd push for a top four finish? The prospect is becoming increasingly likely.
Alisson is now expected to be fit again for Liverpool once the season resumes
Alisson back in goal?
Liverpool have been without first-choice goalkeeper Alisson since the end of February after the Brazilian picked up a hip injury.
Without him Jurgen Klopp’s side went out of the Champions League, but his return to fitness would be a big boost for the run-in. Not that they need one.
Liverpool’s nearest title challengers – which is a stretch – are Manchester City, 25 points behind, who currently have no injuries.
Right-back Nathaniel Clyne is another Liverpool player who could now make an unlikely return to action.
Clyne suffered a serious knee injury during pre-season and was expected to have played his last game for the club as he is out of contract this summer. He would only be back-up to Trent Alexander-Arnold of course but could now return to the squad at least.
Harry Kane has been out of action since 1 January because of a hamstring injury
Jose gets his main man back
Perhaps the biggest gain from a delayed Premier League season, Tottenham striker Harry Kane says he is likely to be back to full fitness once football resumes.
The England captain is ahead of schedule in his recovery from surgery on a hamstring injury he suffered on 1 January.
Jose Mourinho ruled forward Son Heung-Min out of the rest of Spurs’ season back in February when the South Korean broke his arm but he could now also play again – if he comes back from national service in good nick.
All South Korean men must complete military service by the age of 28.
Son, who turns 28 in July, was given permission to return to his homeland last month to continue his recovery from a fractured arm.
Tottenham say the forward will return to London after the completion of his military service in May.
Fellow attacker Steven Bergwijn is another who was ruled out for the season with an ankle injury but could now be back on the pitch.
Tottenham’s season was looking in danger of collapsing before the suspension but, if football does resume with the return of their key man, a top-five finish could still be a realistic aim.
Bournemouth’s David Brooks has yet to play this season because of injury
Cherries to get a boost?
Bournemouth are in the relegation zone as it stands so could do with a light at the end of the tunnel – could winger David Brooks provide it?
The Wales international was superb in his first Premier League season last year but injured his ankle in pre-season last July. After two operations Brooks could yet play again, with the Cherries previously stating they are “cautiously optimistic” he will play again this season.
Defenders Charlie Daniels and Lloyd Kelly are also long-term injury worries – Daniels was not registered for the second half of the season after a serious knee injury so will be kicking his heels if he does get back to fitness, but Kelly (hamstring) could make a comeback.
Aston Villa goalkeeper Tom Heaton is not expected to be fit again before August
No reprieve for Villa
There doesn’t look like too much good news for fellow strugglers Aston Villa though.
They lost goalkeeper Tom Heaton and striker Wesley to serious knee injuries in the same game back in January, with both being ruled out for the season.
At the time Heaton was ruled out of going to the then-planned Euro 2020 with England, so presumably he will not be fit until August at the very earliest, while Wesley is now back jogging.
However, Villa removed both from their 25-man squad at the end of the January transfer window so they would not be able to play at all as it stands.
Despite the unprecedented scenario, clubs are unable to make any changes to their squad list outside of the transfer window – although teams could apply to the Premier League board to ask for changes.
Mamadou Sakho could yet make a welcome return for Crystal Palace this season
Palace in need of good news
On-loan Everton striker Cenk Tosun had knee surgery last month so is unlikely to feature for the Eagles again, while Palace could do with Mamadou Sakho back.
The former Liverpool defender has been out since New Year’s Day with a hamstring injury, with Hodgson expecting the defender to be out for “a considerable amount of time”.
There are no real relegation fears for Roy Hodgson at Palace, who are missing players at both ends of the pitch.