Theo Walcott has missed out on a world cup and been lambasted as overrated. Tab lists some other overrated and underrated sportsmen.

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Theo Walcott has been one of the more surprising omissions from Fabio Capello’s world cup squad. However, given Theo’s performances this season many commentators have come out in support of the England manager’s decision. Walcott has been labelled, amongst other things, a “flash in the pan” and “overrated.”

Tab Sports has compiled a list of other overrated and underrated sportsmen.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Overrated

Ibracadabra as Ibrahimovic is known to admirers has too long been considered as a footballing genius. While there is no doubting that Ibrahimovic has talent, and some of his goals bear witness to this fact, he lacks consistency and an ability to perform on the big occasion. These are two facets that any world-class footballer should possess and are the reasons Messi and Xavi are continually earning the praise and prizes of the footballing community. It is in the big games that Ibrahimovic shows his true colours. In international matches he often goes missing and his scoring record mainly consists of goals against countries with names most people can’t pronounce. Barca’s purchase of David Villa surely signals that the club have Ibra all worked out.

Matt LeTissier – Underrated

Guernsey’s finest export, Matt LeTissier was probably one of the finest players of his generation, yet he played for England only 8 times. His position in the international footballing wilderness is best summed up by his experience in the build up to the ’98 world cup. Despite being one of the most sublimely talented English footballers at the time, LeTissier wasn’t picked and discovered the news on teletext. LeTissier was also part of that rare breed of loyal footballers. Just as Alan Shearer will forever be associated with Newcastle and his one handed salute, LeTissier’s imprint shall permanently remain upon Southampton football club. He played for a total of 540 games for the club, scoring 209 goals including an impressive 40 out of 50 penalties. His tendency of scoring sublime goals to save the club from relegation earned him the nickname of “LeGod” amongst the Soton faithful. His 40 yard lob against Pompey won him the Match of the day goal season award in 1995 and his chip against Schmeichel wasn’t too shabby either.


Jonny Wilkinson – Overrated

Once hailed as the “perfect ten” Wilkinson must now be recognised not only as a spent force but as vastly overrated even at his peak. During the world cup Wilkinson was operating behind one of the most formidable packs in rugby history. While they may have been dubbed “white orcs on steroids” by the Aussie press England’s forwards were a dominant force, with a back row that ranks as one of the greats of all time. Yes Wilkinson’s kicking was metronomic and he liked to tackle guys twice his size (at the cost of “stingers”) but this does not make him the perfect 10 or anything like one of the best fly-halfs in the world. His tendency to run sideways takes away space from the centres and is one of the reasons English coaches have displayed a penchant for picking incredibly beefy but very unimaginative centres like Mike Tindall and Jamie Noon. Giteau and Carter make Jonny look distinctly pedestrian.

Novak Djokovic – Overrated

Going into the 2008 ATP tour Novak Djokovic was the tennis player for all those arms chair sports fans who like their sportsmen enigmatic, charismatic and possessed of plenty of talent with which to back up their swagger. Having impressed in 2007 with a few promising performances in the Grand Slams Djokovic’s apparent breakthrough moment was his victory at the 2008 Australian Open. Sports sections suddenly couldn’t get enough of the Serbian ace. Critics portrayed him as the man to break the duopoly of Federer and Nadal while the neutrals bent double at his impersonations of other pros on the circuit. Enough. Djokovic just can’t cut it with the big two. 2008 was his best year in terms of performances at the grand slams and this was as much down to surprise as talent. While he is undoubtedly a gifted player he should not be held with the same regard as Federer and Nadal.


Overrated – Michael Vick

Once touted as the man to revolutionize the quarter back position, Vick has endured one of the heavier falls from apparent greatness in professional sport. The man who electrified crowds with his supreme athleticism and speed, making every 3rd and long an opposing defensive co-ordinator’s nightmare, has been exposed as a crook and simply not worth the hype. While there is no doubting Vick’s athletic ability – he was selected in the draft to play professional baseball – his passing and morals have been found wanting. During his heyday at Atlanta his passing average was always in the 70s and his td to interception ratio was heading towards that of Brett Favre. Plus, the whole dog fighting incident was not cool.

Underrated –Hines Ward

Hines Ward is one of the silent giants of the NFL. Blessed with exceptional “hands”, which he manicures before games, the South Korean is one of the hardest and, at times, silkiest men in American football. While he was awarded the MVP of Super bowl Ward is never mentioned in the same breath as Randy Moss, Andre Johnson, Steve Smith and Larry Fitzgerald. Ward may not have the physical gifts of some those guys but he brings an indisputable meanness and consistency to a team. The clip below shows one of his trademark “physical” blocks. One such block in 2008 on Bengals line backer Keith Rivers led to a rule change.


Overrated – Steve Harmison

Harmison is another case of a sportsman who simply failed to fulfil his potential. While homesickness can affect everyone Steve needs to strap a pair on at times. The man who destroyed the West Indies and was considered by commentators to have the potential to rank alongside the greats of those isles, such as Andy Roberts and Joel Garner, is cowed by thought of not being tucked into bed by his mum. While this is a slight exaggeration Harmison is a case of what might have been. His slower ball Yorker to dismiss Michael Clarke in the 2005 ashes was one of the pivotal moments of the series and demonstrated Harmison’s prodigious ability and cricketing nous. Alas, Harmison will probably languish away and one is left to wonder what would he would have been like if blessed with the work ethic of Matthew Hoggard.