Premier League Players Who Never Scored a Goal

Premier League footballer

In this article, we will take a wide-ranging look at players who have played in the Premier League but never scored a goal. We say wide-ranging because as well as noting players who never managed to find the back of the net, we will also look at some of those who did but incredibly infrequently, whilst we will also look back to the pre-Premier League era for some stats too.

In addition, we will look at players who massively underperformed. Obviously there have been some great goalkeepers who have played in the Premier League over the years but never scored. These do not concern us here but of far more interest would be a top striker signed for a huge fee who really struggled, even if they did actually manage to shin one or two goals in somewhere along the line.

Now, having said that goalkeepers do not concern us, if we are looking for the simple facts about the players with the most Premier League appearances but a big fat zero in the goals scored column, then unsurprisingly some shot-stoppers will make the list. So, given the title of this piece, that’s where we will start.

Most Premier League Appearances Without Scoring

David James
David James (Glenn Merrett /

Just who has the dubious honour of having made the most Premier League appearances without ever having found the back of the net (at the right end of the pitch!). Let’s take a look. Note that all of the stats on this page are correct as of the end of the 2021/2022 Premier League season.

David James (Goalkeeper): 572 Appearances with Zero Goals

If we include goalkeepers as well then one player is well clear of all the rest when it comes to the most PL outings without registering a goal. Perhaps surprisingly only one of the top five appearance makers is a keeper and that player is not one of the select number (six) of glovemen to have scored. So, step forward England’s, David James, who made a huge 572 PL appearances between 1992 and 2010 without managing to score.

The England keeper was capped 53 times and despite earning the nickname “Calamity James” for some of his performances was generally reliable and a commanding figure. You don’t play almost 600 times in the top flight unless you are pretty handy. He made 214 PL appearances for Liverpool and also represented Manchester City, Portsmouth, Aston Villa and West Ham. Despite all those minutes on the pitch “Jamo”, to use what we assume was his preferred nickname (rather than Calamity), never managed what Peter Schmeichel, Paul Robinson, Brad Friedel, Tim Howard, Asmir Begovic or Alisson did.

Mark Schwarzer (Goalkeeper): 500 Appearances with Zero Goals

The only other goalkeeper in the top 10 for all-time EPL appearances is Aussie Mark Schwarzer, who also made over 500 top flight appearances, mostly for Middlesbrough but also for Fulham Chelsea and Leicester. He, like James, never scored at the right end of the pitch and so he takes the dubious honour of being the player with the second highest number of appearances without finding the net.

Outfield Players Who Never Scored in the Premier League

Des Walker
Des Walker (Holdenbuckley /

Now that we know which players made the most PL appearances without scoring, let’s move on to what we suspect many people will consider a more interesting question. Namely, which outfield players have the even more unwanted record of recording the most appearances without hitting the back of the net.

There are many stalwarts of the English top flight who had long and stellar careers, at least in the objective sense that they appeared regularly in the Premier League, but who never found the net at the right end. All of the worst offenders, if we can call them that, are, unsurprisingly, defenders and we’ll take a look at the top five. Let’s dive straight in at the top of the pile with…

Kenny Cunningham, 335 Appearances for Wimbledon and Birmingham City

The only player in the 300 Club that nobody wants to join, Dublin native Kenny Cunningham played 72 times for the Republic of Ireland between 1996 and 2005 and made over 500 league appearances for a variety of teams. The no-nonsense defender began professionally with Millwall where he scored his only full, senior league goal. That came in the 1993/94 season in the First Division (then the second tier). He followed that up the following campaign with a goal in the now-defunct Anglo-Italian Cup and his agent was no doubt positioning him as a rugged defender who also chipped in with the odd goal.

Sadly for Cunningham, those two goals would be the only strikes of his entire career! During that time he spent six successive seasons in the Premier League with the Crazy Gang, from 1994/95 to 1999/2000; and then a further four years in the top tier with Birmingham City. He was very much a first-team regular, averaging over 30 games per season in the Premier League in that period. However, goals eluded him and so the man sometimes referred to as “King Kenny” by the Brummie faithful tops our list.

Tony Hibbert, 265 Appearances for Everton

Tony Hibbert was not exactly a modern full-back and this one-club cult hero was something of a throwback. He was a defender who liked to defend and do the nasty stuff, he was tough in the tackle and always up for the fight. This, and his goalscoring record – or rather complete lack of one – helped earn him cult status in the Blue half of Merseyside.

Shooting, crossing, scoring, and even passing were all seen as a bit modish and possibly even effete by hardman Hibbert. Which probably explains why he managed to notch up 328 Everton appearances, including 265 in the Premier League, without scoring. There were red cards (two), there were own goals (two) and there were assists (a huge eight, or around two thirds the amount made by Trent Alexander-Arnold in the 2021/22 season alone!). But goals, there were not. He did hit the woodwork once in fairness but we suspect it was probably a tackle-gone-wrong.

Hibbert was rumoured to be close to an England call-up on occasion but it wasn’t to be. Nonetheless, Evertonians loved him, and would regularly shout “shoooot” when he had the ball anywhere near the opponent’s area; fans even created T-shirts and memes with the popular phrase “When Hibbo scores we riot”. And riot they did when Hibbo finally scored, a pretty decent freekick truth be told, albeit in his own testimonial! OK, it was a good-hearted pitch invasion but even so. Check it out below:

Des Walker, 264 Appearances for Sheffield Wednesday

Des Walker is another cult hero, although he is probably best known by many for his time with Nottingham Forest when chants of “You’ll never beat Des Walker” were a common anthem. Walker’s lightning pace meant that beating him was, indeed, almost impossible, whilst his reading of the game was also superb. His pace was his primary asset but given his relative lack of height (he was only around 5ft10in), it isn’t a major surprise that he wasn’t much of a threat from corners and set pieces.

Walker learnt his trade under the inimitable Brian Clough at Nottingham Forest but when they were relegated just before the Premier League era he tried his luck in Italy, playing in Serie A with Sampdoria. That lasted one (goalless) season before he returned to England with Wednesday in the EPL. He played a total of 361 games for the Owls but never scored, with 264 of those coming in the Premier League (plus 43 in the second tier and various cup games).

Walker had a long and hugely successful career, which included many memorable games for England, most famously at Italia 90. He didn’t score for the Three Lions, of course, but was capped 59 times, whilst at club level he made a rather grand total of 658 appearances and scored just once, in the final campaign of his first stint with Forest, whom he re-joined in 2002.

Richard Shaw, 253 Appearances for Crystal Palace and Coventry City

Brentford-born Richard Shaw had two spells in the Premier League with Crystal Palace, the club where he made his name, as well as playing six consecutive campaigns with Coventry in the top flight. He played 253 times in the Premier League (not 252 as you might wrongly see on some other sites – not that we’re showing off), kept 63 clean sheets and made one assist. But he failed to score in the EPL (otherwise he obviously wouldn’t be featured here).

Shaw did actually score in his career, notching at the rather infrequent rate of once every 175 games, give or take (four goals in 699 total appearances). But none of those strikes, incredible and wonderful for Shaw though they no doubt were, came in the Premier League. He scored three times for Palace and once for the Sky Blues but all at a lower level.

At the time of writing Shaw is involved with coaching at Watford and it is more than safe to say he is working with their defenders rather than their forwards. Mainly a right-sided centre back, some might argue that Shaw’s primary claim to fame is that he marked Eric Cantona out of the game in which the French forward really stamped his mark on the Premier League – and Palace fan Matthew Simmons!

Stephane Henchoz, 243 Appearances for Blackburn, Liverpool & Wigan Athletic

Capped 72 times by Switzerland, Stephane Henchoz was a fine defender who played primarily on the right side at centre-back and occasionally as a right fullback. During a truly prolific spell of his goalscoring career he notched four times in 165 games for Neuchatel (in Switzerland) and Hamburg in the Bundesliga but they would be the only goals of his long senior career, one which spanned almost 600 games, all told.

He moved to the Premier League by signing for Blackburn Rovers in the summer of 1997, reportedly turning down Manchester United. Rovers were relegated in 1999 and Henchoz moved to Liverpool where he formed an excellent partnership with Sami Hyypia. The majority of his PL career was spent with the Reds but he never found the net during 135 league games (nor in a further 70 matches in other competitions).

After a five and a half year spell on Merseyside, he had one season with Wigan in the top flight before returning to Blackburn for the 2006/07 and 2007/08 campaigns. He only played 12 league games during his second spell at Ewood though and failed to end his career with a goal-shaped bang (goal-sounding bang if you prefer).

Life Beyond the Premier League & Beyond Zero

Strange as it may seem to many, there was life before the Premier League and, even now, football exists beyond the confines of the top 20 teams in England. Crazy. They play football in Scotland, Australia, India and even, get this, in the USA! Let’s take a look beyond the English Premier League and see what other non-scoring and low-scoring records (players who scored very few goals) we can find.

Frank Womack – Over 500 Games Without a Goal

In the format we know it today, football has been played for over 150 years and records from the earlier days of the sport are somewhat patchy. However, there seems to be agreement that Frank Womack holds the record for league appearances without scoring (outfield players only). Womack mostly played for Birmingham City and remains their record appearance maker, playing 491 times in the league.

He played for the Blues between 1908 and 1928, also turning out for Worcester and Torquay and all told it is thought he made 511 appearances without scoring. The fullback was born in Sheffield in 1888 and it is safe to say he had a different style of play when compared to Roberto Carlos or indeed any modern, attacking, fullback.

King Kenny Again – 500 for 1

We said that Kenny Cunningham was in the 300 club and has made the most PL appearances without registering a goal but like Womack he is also in the 500 club. It’s probably a slight exaggeration to suggest this is a club, per se, and he did actually score one goal as noted above. Even so, going over 500 appearances with just a single goal is quite something.

Cunningham, who played for Birmingham, like Womack, scored the only league goal of his career towards the end of his time with Millwall. His overall record for all clubs in all comps was 615 games played and two goals scored, or a goal every 308 games!

Pascal Pays Penalty But Finally Scores

Pascal Bosschaart
Pascal Bosschaart (Sirab /

Pascal Bosschaart went almost 400 league games, spread over a mammoth 16 years of football without scoring. The Dutch centre-back began life at Utrecht and made just shy of 200 league appearances for them. He had a chance to score in his final game for the club but despite teammates allowing him to take the penalty he fluffed his lines and missed!

He moved to Feyenoord where a further 53 league games came and went without him scoring before a move to the Dutch capital and ADO Den Haag. He played 110 league matches for them but still could not find the back of the net before a rather surprising move to the A-League with Sydney FC in 2011. In March the following year, he tore his Achilles and it might have ended his career but in November he was able to return.

The first game back was against fierce rivals Melbourne Victory and incredibly Bosschaart scored. And it was a great goal too, a volley from the edge of the box to put his side 2-0 up in a huge game! Sadly the night was somewhat spoiled for the man who had scored his first-ever senior goal when Melbourne hit back to win 3-2!

Eric Abidal – 512 for 4

One of the bigger names to feature in this piece, French defender, Eric Abidal, won 18 trophies in his career, including two Champions League titles with Barcelona. He won 67 caps (without scoring of course!) for France too, losing in the World Cup final to Italy in 2006. He made a total of 328 league appearances without ever scoring and in total played 512 games, scoring just four times.

He scored twice in cup games for Lyon and achieved the same feat with Barcelona but a league, European or international goal eluded him throughout his long and illustrious career. His stats may have got worse with time too but sadly illness forced him to retire and also reduced his appearances during the last years of his career.

Jamie Carragher: Two Long Droughts

Jamie Carragher is now best known for his punditry battles with Gary Neville but for many years he was a fine, no-nonsense defender for Liverpool. Although he played as a right-back and even right wing-back at times, he spent much of his career in the middle. Despite benefitting from the excellent delivery of Steven Gerrard and others over the years from corners and set pieces, Carragher was about as far from prolific as you could get.

His minutes per goal stats throughout his lengthy career with the Reds stand at a rather unimpressive goal every 15,881 minutes of football. He received three red cards for Liverpool and scored four times but with those four goals coming from well over 700 games (739) we think he is very much worth mentioning here in this piece.

Whilst the player himself may prefer to point to his dazzling tally of 18 assists (fewer than Trent Alexander-Arnold got in 2021/22 alone), we instead prefer to focus on the two lengthy barren spells he had. Between January 1999 and July 2005 he went 305 games for the Reds without scoring, the second-longest run for the club ever. Only Ephrain Longworth can “better” that for Liverpool and he plied his trade between 1910 and 1928, managing a run of 370 matches without scoring.

However, not content with that poor start to his Liverpool career Carra also went 211 games goalless between 2008 and 2013. To add to his non-scoring credentials the Bootle boy can also boast 38 outings with England where he failed to score, though in fairness he was prolific as a youth, scoring once for both the under 20s side and the under 21s!

Most England Games Without Scoring

Ashley Cole
Ashley Cole (md.faisalzaman /

Carragher’s 38 matches for the Three Lions without scoring are nothing as compared to Ashley Cole, who went a whopping (and record-setting) 108 matches for the Three Lions without scoring. The former Arsenal and Chelsea left-back did score 21 club goals in his career but that came from a huge 702 appearances so he was clearly no finisher. He did get forward though and was certainly a more attacking defender than many of the players we have already talked about. He also scored in 20% of his appearances for England U21s (yes, one goal in five appearances!).

Nonetheless, Cole never scored for the full England side and he is a long way ahead of Gary Neville who comes next on that list with 85 goalless caps. Ray Wilson is third, having played for his country 63 times without scoring. Mind you he had a decent time of things in 1966, winning the FA Cup with Everton and then the World Cup so he’s probably not too upset about his lack of goals.

After Wilson we get to a man featured elsewhere, Des Walker, who played 59 times for the Three Lions and never scored. In addition to those four, it is worth noting that there are six players with over 30 England caps who never scored despite playing in midfield! David Batty managed 42 games without scoring and, of course, famously missed a penalty at the 1998 World Cup. Of his shootout miss against Argentina, he noted ‘I haven’t lost a single night’s sleep worrying about it since’, which perhaps explains why he didn’t score more frequently during his career. Or perhaps not!

We also save a special mention for Jordan Henderson, who will hope to add to his tally of 69 caps and two goals. The former Sunderland midfielder went 11 years as an international before breaking his duck, scoring against Ukraine at Euro 2020 (in 2021) in what was his 62nd appearance for his country.

Worst Strikers in Premier League History

We have a separate article looking at the worst PL players ever but here we are looking more specifically at strikers who really struggled to find the back of the net. On our other list, we include players like Andy Carroll and Andriy Shevchenko but they scored too many goals to merit inclusion here.

The following players might not necessarily have been as bad signings as those others when fees and impact are taken into account. In addition, as strikers, they cannot compete with the defenders and goalkeepers we have listed above when it comes to the number of games played without scoring. So, in short, they have a category of their own.

Ricky Van Wolfswinkel

Ricky Van Wolfswinkel
Ricky Van Wolfswinkel ( /

RVW, as we’re going to call him, also features in the abovementioned article on worst signings but also gets top billing here for his large fee (around £9m in 2013) and the fact that he managed just one league goal for the Canaries. The fact he has by and large been a success at all of his other clubs is also notable. Norwich sold him for a sizeable loss after three years in which he managed just two goals in all competitions.

Wout Weghorst

Wout Weghorst
Wout Weghorst (Кирилл Венедиктов /

Wout Weghorst has only played 20 games in the Premier League and may never increase that tally having just been relegated with Burnley at the end of the 2021/22 campaign. Signed in January 2021 on deadline day to replace Kiwi Chris Wood, hardly prolific himself, the Dutch target man was unable to score the goals needed to keep Burnley up.

In £12m Burnley paid relatively big money for the former Wolfsburg man but he seemed to miss chance after chance and was painfully sort on confidence. He started reasonably well, providing an assist in his second game and scoring in his third but his second and only other goal for the Clarets was almost two months later. A barren run in the final month of the season saw him finish with two goals in 20 PL matches and saw his side drop down to the second tier.

Jozy Altidore

Jozy Altidore
Jozy Altidore (Erik Drost /

New Jersey native Josmer Altidore notched 15 goals in 37 league matches in MLS for New York Red Bulls and was signed by La Liga outfit Villarreal. He got few chances at The Yellow Submarine and was sent out on loan, including to PL side Hull in 2009/10. Their scant return was 28 games and a solitary league goal.

More loans followed before AZ Alkmaar took him to the Dutch first division where he was a big hit, scoring 39 league goals over two seasons and 67 games. This persuaded Sunderland he really did have what it took for the Premier League after all and the Black Cats paid a fee reported as $13m in the States for his services.

Back in the English top flight, Altidore very much proved his employers wrong, scoring just once in 31 games in his second season and failing to find the back of the net in the Premier League in 11 games the following campaign. He moved back to MLS with an overall record of two goals in 70 Premier League outings!