Benchwarmers: - Which Footballers Have Earned the Most for Sitting on the Bench?

Benchwarmers: - Which Footballers Have Earned the Most for Sitting on the Bench?

It’s no secret that Premier League footballers earn a lot of money. And with most Premier League squads reaching 25 players, it can often mean that some players spend more time on the bench than they would prefer. 

Despite their limited minutes, this doesn’t mean they can spend their time on betting sites or going on holiday. They are still training most days to ensure they’re ready for when they do get their chance.

While it can be frustrating for footballers who have to sit on the sidelines despite putting the work in during training, their huge salaries soften this blow. 

That’s why we wanted to find out which players are earning the most while keeping the substitute bench warm. We’ve looked into the salaries and the minutes played by each Premier League player to find out who earns the most per minute played. 

Most Expensive Bench Warmers

earnings on the benchWe’ve looked at the minutes played and salaries of Premier League players to find out which players earned the most per minute played.

Rank Name Club Position Annual Salary Weekly Wage Minutes Played Earnings per Minute Played
1 Dean Henderson Manchester United Goalkeeper £5,200,000 £100,000 0 £5,200,000
2 Adrian Liverpool Goalkeeper £3,016,000 £58,000 0 £3,016,000
3 Harry Lewis Southampton Goalkeeper £2,200,000 £42,308 0 £2,200,000
4 Tom Heaton Manchester United Goalkeeper £2,180,000 £41,923 0 £2,180,000
5 Darren Randolph West Ham United Goalkeeper £2,100,000 £40,385 0 £2,100,000
6 Scott Carson Manchester City Goalkeeper £1,976,000 £38,000 0 £1,976,000
7 Pierluigi Gollini Tottenham Hotspur Goalkeeper £1,300,000 £25,000 0 £1,300,000
8 Cenk Tosun Everton Striker £3,120,000 £60,000 6 £520,000
9 Will Norris Burnley Goalkeeper £300,000 £5,769 0 £300,000
10 Nathan Ferguson Crystal Palace Defender £1,500,000 £28,846 8 £187,500
11 Dwight Gayle Newcastle United Striker £2,080,000 £40,000 30 £69,333
12 Juan Mata Manchester United Midfielder £8,320,000 £160,000 232 £35,862
13 Ross Barkley Chelsea Midfielder £4,766,667 £91,667 175 £27,238
14 Zack Steffen Manchester City Goalkeeper £2,392,000 £46,000 90 £26,578
15 Divock Origi Liverpool Striker £3,120,000 £60,000 126 £24,762
16 Phil Jones Manchester United Defender £3,900,000 £75,000 162 £24,074
17 Takumi Minamino Liverpool Forward £3,900,000 £75,000 176 £22,159
18 Kepa Arrizabalaga Chelsea Goalkeeper £7,800,000 £150,000 360 £21,667
19 Saul Niguez Chelsea Midfielder £10,310,000 £198,269 477 £21,614
20 Eric Bailly Manchester United Defender £4,160,000 £80,000 218 £19,083

1. Dean Henderson - £5.2 million per minute played

Jrppezza, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Taking the number one spot as the most expensive bench warmer is Dean Henderson. Manchester United’s backup goalkeeper for the 2021/22 season replaces Phill Jones who topped the list last season. Henderson didn’t play a single minute of Premier League football, operating primarily as David De Gea’s understudy. The Englishman has since moved to Nottingham Forest on loan where he is playing more regularly. 

2. Adrian - £3.016 million per minute played

By Steffen Prößdorf, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=120884617

Liverpool’s Adrian takes second place earning just over £3 million. Similarly to Henderson, Adrian failed to play a minute of Premier League football, where he became the third-choice keeper behind Alisson Becker and Caoimhin Kelleher. Adrian’s only appearance last season came against Preston in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup, a competition Liverpool would go on to win. 

3. Harry Lewis - £2.2 million per minute played

Bradford City AFC, CC BY 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Completing a top three of goalkeepers is Southampton's Harry Lewis, who earned £2.2 million despite failing to play a minute of Premier League football. Last season, Lewis was Southampton’s fourth-choice goalkeeper, behind Alex McCarthy, Frazer Foster, and Willy Caballero. At the end of the season, the 24-year-old joined League 2 side, Bradford, on a free transfer. 

Each Premier League Team’s Most Expensive Bench Warmer

We’ve looked at each team in the Premier League to find out who the most expensive bench warmer was in the 2021/22 season. 

earnings on the bench

Name Club Position Annual Salary Weekly Wage Minutes Played Earnings per Minute Played
Bernd Leno Arsenal Goalkeeper £5,200,000 £100,000 360 £14,444
Morgan Sanson Aston Villa Midfielder £2,496,000 £48,000 352 £7,091
Tariqe Fosu Brentford Winger £260,000 £5,000 16 £16,250
Jason Steele Brighton and Hove Albion Goalkeeper £833,333 £16,026 90 £9,259
Will Norris Burnley Goalkeeper £300,000 £5,769 0 £300,000
Ross Barkley Chelsea Midfielder £4,766,667 £91,667 175 £27,238
Nathan Ferguson Crystal Palace Defender £1,500,000 £28,846 8 £187,500
Cenk Tosun Everton Striker £3,120,000 £60,000 6 £520,000
Kristoffer Klaesson Leeds United Goalkeeper £570,000 £10,962 35 £16,286
Danny Ward Leicester City Goalkeeper £1,040,000 £20,000 90 £11,556
Adrian San Miguel del Castillo Liverpool Goalkeeper £3,016,000 £58,000 0 £3,016,000
Scott Carson Manchester City Goalkeeper £38,000 £1,976,000 0 £1,976,000
Dean Henderson Manchester United Goalkeeper £5,200,000 £100,000 0 £5,200,000
Dwight Gayle Newcastle United Striker £2,080,000 £40,000 30 £69,333
Christoph Zimmermann Norwich City Defender £1,010,000 £19,423 158 £6,392
Harry Lewis Southampton Goalkeeper £2,200,000 £42,308 0 £2,200,000
Pierluigi Gollini Tottenham Hotspur Goalkeeper £1,300,000 £25,000 0 £1,300,000
Dan Gosling Watford Midfielder £1,820,000 £35,000 165 £11,030
Darren Randolph West Ham United Goalkeeper £2,100,000 £40,385 0 £2,100,000
Fabio Silva Wolverhampton Wanderers Striker £4,160,000 £80,000 560 £7,429

1. Goalkeeper - 11 teams’ most expensive bench warmer

It was the goalkeeper position that cost Premier League sides the most money for minutes spent on the bench. Being a backup ‘keeper can be an incredibly frustrating role for players. Unless the first-choice goalkeeper gets an injury or a suspension, your minutes will be limited which means you have to sit on the bench and wait patiently for your chance. This is often coupled with a high salary to make up for the lack of minutes. The average earnings per minute across all 11 goalkeepers was just under £1.5 million.

2. Striker/Midfielder - 3 teams’ most expensive bench warmers

The second most common position for expensive bench warmers was the striker and midfielder positions. Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Fabio Silva, Everton’s Cenk Tosun, and Newcastle’s Dwight Gayle were the most expensive strikers sitting on the bench. Watford’s Dan Gosling, Chelsea’s Ross Barkley, and Aston Villa’s Morgon Sanson were the midfielders. For midfielders, the average earnings per minute were just over £15,000, however, it was almost £200,000 for strikers. 

3. Defender - 2 teams’ most expensive bench warmer

Just two Premier League teams had defenders as their most expensive bench warmer, and they were Norwich City and Crystal Palace. Cristoph Zimmerman and Nathan Ferguson were the two players to claim this title, and between them, they earned an average of £96,000 per minute on average. 

Methodology

We used Football Critic to find out the number of minutes each Premier League player played in the 2021/22 season.

We then used Spotrac to find out the salary of each Premier League player. 

We excluded any players who spent time at other clubs throughout the season, whether transferring to another team, going out on loan, or moving clubs as a free agent.

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