50 Greatest Premier League Players of All Time

Choosing the 50 best players from a league that has been lucky enough to see some of the world’s best players grace its pitches in the last 30 years, is always a difficult task.

We took more than just goals and assists into account. Obviously, goalkeepers and defenders may be unfairly handicapped otherwise. Primarily we looked at their overall impact, longevity and titles won. 

Here’s the 50 greatest Premier League players of all time.

50. James Milner

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  • Clubs: Leeds United, Newcastle United, Aston Villa, Manchester City, Liverpool
  • Position: Midfielder
  • EPL Titles: 3

Dozens of players have come and gone since Milner’s career began. The Premier League’s longest-serving player and youngest-ever goalscorer played wide under Sir Bobby Robson at Newcastle.

He has scored from full-back at Aston Villa under manager Mark Hughes. Now Liverpool’s Mr. Reliable, the former shape-shifter in midfield, has settled into his final role as a right-back, or is it a right-back?

A giant of the EPL. People tend to forget that Milner has three title-winning medals in his cabinet. Coming to the end of a stellar career, it’s still hard to beat the goal he scored for a way back in 2002 – aged just 16 years, 356 days.


49. Robbie Keane

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  • Clubs: Coventry City, Leeds United, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool, West Ham United, Aston Villa
  • Position: Striker
  • EPL Titles: 0

His trademark cartwheel is still famous, as it inevitably followed most of his 126 Premier League goals. For six straight seasons, he managed double-digits in his first Spurs tenure.

Robbie’s impact was often underestimated. Keane was renowned for being as tough as nails, a leader on and off the pitch. He had little tolerance for disrespect. Edgar Davids allegedly has a story to tell about that. 


48. Patrice Evra

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  • Clubs: Manchester United, West Ham United
  • Position: Defender
  • EPL Titles: 5

Trying to find a decent full back in the early 2000s was like hunting for a rare bird, according to Alex Ferguson’s 2013 autobiography. He found the answer to his search in Evra.

He was a great athlete with superb technique and tremendous speed, Fergie wrote. Despite paying Monaco £5.5m, a significant sum for a defender in 2006 – he returned the favor with over eight years of constantly high performances.

Getting subbed at halftime on your debut takes a lot of mental strength. It wasn’t easy for him, but he hung on, netting and assisting against Everton later that year, to show Fergie it would be money well spent.


47. Andy Cole

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  • Clubs: Newcastle, Man United, Blackburn, Fulham, Man City, Portsmouth, Sunderland
  • Position: Midfielder
  • EPL Titles: 5

Newcastle fans were enraged by Cole’s £7m move to Old Trafford in January 1995. At St James’ Park, the striker was a prolific goal-scorer, including a record 34 in 1993-94.

The Red Devils won five league titles during Cole’s seven seasons with them, as he helped himself to 93 goals. Eric Cantona left in 1997, but his legacy looked secure, as was evident in the less-heralded chip Cole made against Everton on Boxing Day 1997.


46. Jamie Carragher

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  • Clubs: Liverpool
  • Position: Defender
  • EPL Titles: 0

Rafael Benitez made him a regular center-back after this one-club hero was willing to play anywhere. He served the Reds as a pillar of defense for 17 years.

Carragher was described as the most challenging opponent to play against by Didier Drogba. An 18-year-old Carra made his full debut for Liverpool against Aston Villa in January 1997. He even headed the opening goal in that game.


45. Ashley Cole

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  • Clubs: Arsenal, Chelsea
  • Position: Defender
  • EPL Titles: 5

When Ashley Cole joins a team, you get two players for the price of one. Already an impressive player at 23, the defender switched to Stamford Bridge to win every other trophy available at the time.

One of the most complete full-backs and not too shabby on the wing either. 


44. Kevin De Bruyne

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  • Clubs: Chelsea, Manchester City
  • Position: Midfielder
  • EPL Titles: 3

City’s game plan now revolves around De Bruyne. The Belgian is Pep Guardiola’s enigmatic action hero, one of their best passers with unsurpassed vision.

Aside from winning two league titles, Thierry Henry’s record of 20 assists during a single season has already tumbled. In October 2017, a 7-2 thumping of Stoke, De Bruyne’s inch-perfect pass to set up Leroy Sané in a seventh-minute corner, stood out among his highlights reel of assists.

By the time his City career is over, I have no doubt his name will be much further up the list.


43. David Seaman

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  • Clubs: Arsenal, Manchester City
  • Position: Goalkeeper
  • EPL Titles: 3

Seaman’s decision to agree a £1.3 million swap from QPR to Arsenal, a British record for a goalkeeper at times like a steal at the time.

The proof came to some 344 Premier League matches later, during which he kept 145 clean sheets and won two trophies. Seaman’s sterling 1998-99 season included 19 clean sheets and just 15 goals conceded. It certainly wasn’t his fault Manchester United won the Treble by one point over Arsenal.


42. Dennis Irwin

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  • Clubs: Manchester United
  • Position: Defender
  • EPL Titles: 7

Ferguson called Denis Irwin the best signing he ever had during his 12 years at the top: he was imperious and unflinchingly consistent at the back.

The Irishman fully repaid the trust of Ferguson and much more. Irwin was given the send-off he deserved, named as the United captain for the final game of the 2001-02 season, and of course, he kept yet another clean sheet.


41. Gary Neville

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  • Club: Manchester United
  • Position: Defender
  • EPL Titles: 12

Remembered for his career as a boisterous right-back by older United fans, whereas today we know him primarily as a straight-talking pundit.

His intelligent play, tough tackling, and great crossing meant he remained a mainstay throughout his long career.

An overzealous celebration after Rio Ferdinand’s late winner against Liverpool at Old Trafford made them a legend in the eyes of many United fans. It also earned him a hefty fine from the FA.


40. Xabi Alonso

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  • Club: Liverpool
  • Position: Midfielder
  • EPL Titles: 0

In the 2008-09 season, with Liverpool competing for the title against Manchester United, they had arguably the greatest midfield of that era. The glide of Alonso contrasting perfectly with Steven Gerrard’s fire and Javier Mascherano’s hovering made for a nice contrast. 

The Spaniard stunned Liverpool teammates with his pristine passing in 2004 after joining them from Real Sociedad. He was the most enjoyable person to spend time with, Gerrard later recalled. The two goals he scored from within his half will remain his legacy. 


39. Paolo Di Canio

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  • Clubs: Sheffield Wednesday, West Ham United, Charlton Athletic
  • Position: Striker
  • EPL Titles: 0

Every time Di Canio touched the ball, there was a buzz of excitement. An explosive provocateur, he had a charismatic personality.

A generation of homegrown athletes went on to achieve greater heights under his guidance, but none were as eloquent and unpredictable as he was. The goalkeeper or defender was often beaten again by his now-famous feint before he shot. 


38. Dimitar Berbatov

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  • Clubs: Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United, Fulham
  • Position: Striker
  • EPL Titles: 2

Dimitar Berbatov always stood out among other athletes, primarily due to a tempo that distinguished him from the rest. Berbatov, who was also known to have learned his English by watching “The Godfather”, is just one of the reasons he gained a cult following of his own.

He also mooched around with his sleeves pulled over his hands at times like a lost soul, which didn’t endear him to opposition supporters. 


37. Dwight Yorke

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  • Clubs: Aston Villa, Manchester United, Blackburn Rovers, Birmingham City, Sunderland
  • Position: Striker
  • EPL Titles: 3

When Dwight York arrived at Old Trafford in 1998 to form his partnership with Andy Cole, he was already a prolific striker.

Sixty goals to his name on arrival cemented himself in the folklore of Old Trafford by pocketing the golden boot with his 18 goals as United coasted to the treble. During a 6-1 hammering of Arsenal in February 2001, he helped himself to another hat trick, showcasing his entire bag of tricks. 


36. Teddy Sheringham

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  • Club: Nottingham Forest, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United, Portsmouth, West Ham United
  • Position: Striker
  • EPL Titles: 3

Already a steady yet unspectacular striker when he joined UTD, few fans were happy that he was the proposed replacement for Eric Cantona when he joined Manchester United as a 31-year-old.

With stiff competition at Old Trafford, the man turned things around after a slow start.


35. Ian Wright

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  • Clubs: Arsenal, West Ham United
  • Position: Striker
  • EPL Titles: 1

At the time of the Premier League’s founding, Wright was already 29. In all competitions, Arsenal’s No.8 scored 30 goals, but they only managed a 10th place finish in the first EPL season. But they did end up winning both the FA Cup and League Cup. 

Wright makes our list because of his consistency. In his first six seasons at Highbury, he scored an average of 15 league goals and over 23 in half of those seasons. He famously wore a “179” T-shirt against Bolton in September 1997, which was Arsenal’s all-time scoring record. 


34. Luis Suarez

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  • Club: Liverpool
  • Position: Striker
  • EPL Titles: 0

I am always reluctant to include players who only spend a season or two in the EPL on this list. But the impact Suarez made during his limited time in the EPL was tremendous.

Leading the line in Liverpool’s now-famous near-miss title campaign, this electric forward shaped the season, combining with Sturridge and Sterling to lethal effect. As the Reds defeated Norwich 5-1 in December 2013, he netted another hat-trick.


33. Tony Adams

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  • Club: Arsenal
  • Position: Defender
  • EPL Titles: 4

A three-time title-winning captain across three decades is just one reason Adams has made the 50 best EPL players list.

For all the beautiful football Arsene Wenger’s teams played, the supporters love Adams for his rugged no-frills approach to play. After returning from rehab, he captained his team to win the league in 1997-98. Wenger built his team around Adams and his mates at the back. 


32. Matt Le Tissier

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  • Club: Southampton
  • Position: Midfielder
  • EPL Titles: 0

It was not only his ability to take penalties that made him one of the best in the history of the Premier League. He managed a staggering 98% success rate, not helped by Crossley’s famous save in March 1993.

He is widely considered the best player, never finishing in the top half of the EPL. In all likelihood, no Southampton player will ever equal his impressive collection of goals, including his free-kicks, volleys, and inch-perfect long-range efforts.


31. Jaap Stam

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  • Club: Manchester United
  • Position: Defender
  • EPL Titles: 3

Even though Stam only played 79 Premier League games between 1998 and 1999, his three title-winning seasons are etched into many people’s minds. In his shadow, strikers looked weak and slow.

He was unjustly sold to Lazio in 2001 by Alex Ferguson, despite his best efforts. Unbeaten in United’s treble-winning season, he was the rock at the center of a defense that played 20 games without a loss.


30. Didier Drogba

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  • Club: Chelsea
  • Position: Striker
  • EPL Titles: 4

The Ivorian is a shining example of Abramovich’s Chelsea. Physically and mentally strong, he excelled in the Blues’ biggest games. Every Chelsea striker since is expected to measure up to Drogba’s lofty standard.

He became the prototypical Mourinho forward, changing the game tactically, epitomizing what can be achieved from a lone striker. Twenty-nine goals in a title-winning season earned him the Golden Boot, including a stunning free-kick to win 3-0 at Arsenal.


29. Harry Kane

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  • Club: Tottenham Hotspur, Norwich City
  • Position: Striker
  • EPL Titles: 0

In spite of his scoring prowess, Kane has not achieved EPL glory, which prompted a failed bid to move to City in the summer of 2021.

As a 28-year-old he is not only one of England’s best strikers, he also won the Golden Boot at the World Cup and has the top league scoring average. Alan Shearer’s record of 260 is not out of reach, and he already has 166 to his credit. If he does join City, he could make EPL history.


28. Sol Campbell

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  • Club: Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Portsmouth, Newcastle United
  • Position: Defender
  • EPL Titles: 2

As a center-back, on his day, Campbell was the best in England, a towering, brave, fast, and intelligent defender with the ability to reign over either penalty area. This was the most controversial Bosman deal in the history of English football as it involved him crossing the North London divide.

Campbell won two league titles at Highbury, so the move was brilliant, even though Spurs fans don’t like hearing it. As part of their Invincibles campaign in 2003-04, when Arsenal conceded just 26 goals.


27. Mohamed Salah

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  • Clubs: Chelsea, Liverpool
  • Position: Striker/Winger
  • EPL Titles: 1

There have been few players who have done what Salah has done. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time at Chelsea in 2014. Unafraid, he returned to Fiorentina and Roma after three years, and he couldn’t have picked a better time to join Liverpool.

A promising outfit became conquerors thanks to the Egyptian King. There have been two Golden Boots, domestic and European titles, and world titles in four full seasons at Anfield. 

Mohammed Salah is close to becoming the greatest Liverpool FC player ever.


26. Gianfranco Zola

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  • Clubs: Chelsea
  • Position: Striker
  • EPL Titles: 0

Michael Duberry said of Gianfranco Zola that he was the reason Chelsea FC was so famous. In addition to being outstanding on the pitch.

On the field of play, he influenced a generation of future stars like Frank Lampard. “People talk about Jose Mourinho introducing that mentality to Chelsea, but Zola had already implemented it before Mourinho did. There was no one like him then, and some would argue since.

The legacy he left at the club is hard to beat. During the autumn of 1996, Gianfranco Zola transformed Stamford Bridge and heralded Chelsea’s era of dominance.


25. Petr Cech

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  • Clubs: Chelsea, Arsenal
  • Position: Goalkeeper
  • EPL Titles: 4

EPL goalkeepers are known for being fiery and eccentric. It appeared to Cech that he had ice in his veins. He conceded just 15 goals during his debut season, which led to four trophies and four Golden Glove awards during his top-flight career.

Cech kept his first clean sheet against Bournemouth just over ten years after moving to England. His record of 207 clean sheets will not be topped any time soon.


24. Robbie Fowler

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  • Clubs: Liverpool, Leeds United, Manchester City, Blackburn Rovers
  • Position: Striker
  • EPL Titles: 0

Liverpool’s 3-0 victory over Arsenal in August 1994 is famous for Fowler’s fastest ever EPL hat trick that took just 4 minutes, 33 seconds. As of today, this record remains intact.

Despite his superb natural finishing for Leeds, Manchester City, and Blackburn, he has always been plagued by injuries during his career. 


23. Vincent Kompany

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  • Clubs: Manchester City
  • Position: Defender
  • EPL Titles: 4

Captain Kompany remained a constant during City’s extraordinary rise. Leading by example, he steered a team to previously unimaginable heights and became the beating heart of a club that was still struggling for its identity back in 2008.

No occasion was too big for him. A case in point was his header that secured City the title in 2011/12. Another winner’s medal came seven years later when he swerved a 30-yard thunderbolt of his own—a moment from the Premier League that will live in infamy.


22. Eden Hazard

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  • Club: Chelsea
  • Position: Midfielder
  • EPL Titles: 2

According to general opinion, Hazard is among the best players in Premier League history. He was far from the finished article. “The Schemer” displayed a unique talent for wiping out entire defenses in his performances.

While helping Chelsea win titles in 2015 and 2017, Hazard scored many of the 85 he netted in seven seasons. The dribble, the opponent’s embarrassment, and the finish were Hazard’s touches in a solo stunner against Arsenal. It is just one of many stand-out moments. 


21. Yaya Toure

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  • Club: Manchester City
  • Position: Midfielder
  • EPL Titles: 3

That Barcelona staff felt that his six feet two-inch frame was best used playing at center-back. It worked to City’s advantage as he was left frustrated and wanted to leave.

Mancini’s team was elevated by Toure’s passing, tackling, and box-to-box bursts, which helped him compliment Silva’s subtle art.


20. Ruud van Nistelrooy 

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  • Club: Manchester United
  • Position: Striker
  • EPL Titles: 1

There are three things certain in life: death, taxes, and Van Nistelrooy tap-ins. He scored 95 goals over 150 Premier League games in five seasons for the Red Devils after joining PSV for £19 million in 2001.

In 2002-03, he won the Premier League title and won the Golden Boot award. Despite what many people will claim, not all his goals were tap-ins.


19. Robin van Persie

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  • Clubs: Arsenal, Manchester United
  • Position: Striker
  • EPL Titles: 1

Another Dutch striker turned out to be a tidy piece of business. When Van Persie left Arsenal after eight years, he had already scored 132 goals. He chose to switch to UTD and succeeded in his quest for silverware still grips many Gunners fans. 

But few could argue his 30-goal season in 2011/12 wasn’t deserving of an EPL medal. Alex Ferguson won his 13th 


18. Patrick Vieira

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  • Clubs: Arsenal
  • Position: Midfielder
  • EPL Titles: 3

He started out at Arsenal as an unknown in the mid-1990s but rose through the ranks at the club to win two domestic titles in 1997/98 and leading France to the 1998 World Cup.

The legend of Vieira’s long legs leaping across Premier League pitches proved that the player possessed not just physical ability but also tactical prowess to match it.

By the turn of the century, he became one of the most recognizable characters in the best Arsenal teams of the modern age.


17. David Beckham

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  • Clubs: Manchester United
  • Position: Midfielder
  • EPL Titles: 6

As a 21-year-old, Becks won the PFA Young Player of the Year award in 1996/97 but enjoyed his greatest season in their 1998/99 treble-winning campaign like so many United players. 

In addition to winning three Premier League titles, Beckham would also sign for Real Madrid for £25.1 million. There has never been a player who has had the natural ability to bend, spin, and weigh passes as effortlessly as former United number seven?

Beckham’s goal from his half at Selhurst Park brought him to the attention of a particular spice girl, and the rest is history.


16. Peter Schmeichel

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  • Clubs: Manchester United, Aston Villa, Manchester City
  • Position: Goalkeeper
  • EPL Titles: 5

On July 1st, 1991, Alex Ferguson, paid just £505,000 for the great Dane, described him as one of the “bargains of the century.” During United’s five title wins, Schmeichel’s leadership, bravery, and reflexes were invaluable, and he ended his career on a high note after the 1999 Treble.

He pulled off save after save to help Manchester United clinch the title against Newcastle clinch the title in March 1996, some that have to be seen to be believed


15. Michael Owen

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  • Clubs: Liverpool, Newcastle United, Manchester United, Stoke City
  • Position: Striker
  • EPL Titles: 1

The history books tell us that Owen never scored more than 20 goals in an EPL season, yet his record at Liverpool reached an incredible 118 goals in 216 league matches when he left for Real Madrid in 2004.

He then left Newcastle for Manchester United, and his legacy at Liverpool was all but forgotten, except for some diehard fans. However, there was a point when the child in England wanted to be Michael Own in the playground. 


14. Paul Scholes

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  • Club: Manchester United
  • Position: Midfielder
  • EPL Titles: 11

Not only was Scholes one of the best players of his generation. Footballing icons like Thierry Henry described him as the one player he would have played alongside, while Pep Guardiola said the same. Scholes would have been higher rated if he were Spanish, according to Barcelona legend Xavi. 

In his book, Andrea Pirlo describes the Class of ’92 graduate as “the greatest midfielder in English history.” It is the biggest regret of Zinedine Zidane’s playing career not to have played with Scholes. You get the point. Paul Scholes was an exceptional player.

Chelsea and Liverpool’s fans often claim he was left out of the England squad because Gerrard and Lampard were better. Others argue that he could play in any midfield position, and he was pushed out to the left more often than not. 


13. Steven Gerrard

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  • Club: Liverpool
  • Position: Midfielder
  • EPL Titles: 0

This Liverpool legend is known for his calm in crisis, which made his now-famous slip against Chelsea all the more painful. If time was running out, and there was one final chance to save the day, he was the man you wanted on the field.

His passing range was remarkable, he was strong, and he was quick. He had a majestic technique, made even more impressive due to his slightly faster speed on the pitch.

The decision to stay at Liverpool instead of moving to Chelsea was not without disappointments, however. Rather than breaking the title drought last year, he deserved to have been a part of an earlier title-winning team. To date, he is arguably the best English player, never to have won an EPL medal. 


12. Rio Ferdinand

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  • Clubs: West Ham United, Leeds United, Manchester United, Queens Park Rangers
  • Position: Defender
  • EPL Titles: 6

This Peckham native once famously turned down a five-year scholarship at the Central School of Ballet to focus on sports, and aren’t England and Man Utd happy he did as he didn’t disappoint.

Twice, the world’s most expensive defender had something glorious to teach us about his style of play: tall, strong, graceful, and effortlessly calm in possession. During United’s third of six Premier League titles, Rio was instrumental in conceding just 22 goals.


11. Dennis Bergkamp

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  • Club: Arsenal
  • Position: Striker
  • EPL Titles: 3

A ball yanked from the skies is an appropriate depiction of him in his Arsenal statue.  He accumulated 87 league goals and three titles while playing for the north London side. Bergkamp offered the English game the best of both worlds, an artist on the pitch who had an instinct.

Few footballers transcend their associations with the clubs at which they made their names. That is not the case with the Ice Man. There’s never a wrong time to watch that 1997 Leicester hat-trick – his third goal of three in a row was physics-defying.


10. Ryan Giggs

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  • Club: Manchester United
  • Position: Midfielder
  • EPL Titles: 13

Alex Ferguson’s 2013 autobiography once described Giggs as a cocker spaniel chasing a piece of silver paper when he watched him play as a 10-year-old. 

When Giggs was 17, he made his professional debut for the Man U outfit. As a result of his continued excellence under the Scottish manager, he was named PFA Young Player of the Year on two occasions.

In the years following, his debut continued to turn to his pin-up boy Fergie had other talented kids made their debuts in that time, but Giggs’s searing pace and fluid dribbling ensured his place in Old Trafford history.

The Manchester United midfielder has appeared more than anyone else in United history – 963 times across all competitions, more than anybody else.


9. Sergio Aguero

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  • Clubs: Swansea City, Manchester City
  • Position: Striker
  • EPL Titles: 5

After his Premier League debut at Swansea City, everyone knew that Aguero was something special. With his powerful strikes and clever runs, he’s a nightmare for any defense.

A world class striker that had a huge impact in Manchester City’s 5 Premier League titles. Truly one of the best strikers the league have had in the last decade.


8. Eric Cantona

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  • Club: Manchester United
  • Position: Striker
  • EPL Titles: 4

Eric Cantona’s impact on the Premier League was immense as he made his debut at Leeds United. The Frenchman helped them win their first division title. His talent attracted attention from many big clubs, including Manchester United, which decided to sign him.

Cantona’s success didn’t end here. A year later, he was one of the most important players on the Man United team that won the EPL title in 1993/1994 and was named as the “player of the year”.

The Frenchman won 3 more EPL titles with Manchester United before retiring as one of the clubs all-time greats.


7. Frank Lampard

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  • Clubs: West Ham United, Chelsea, Manchester City
  • Position: Defender
  • EPL Titles: 3

The arrival of Roman Abramovich at Chelsea in 2003 changed the face of English football. Inflationary wages and transfer fees have transformed the Premier League landscape ever since.

Apart from all the changes the Russian billionaire had made to the game, much of Chelsea’s revolution was down to Lampard’s midfield presence. When he is mentioned in the same context as Vieira, Scholes, and Gerrard, it is easy to forget how great he was.

Despite their individual brilliance, what achievements did they make beyond winning awards? The two-time Premier League champion changed how we viewed raiding midfielders. A role he perfected scoring 177 goals on route to 4 trophies


6. John Terry

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  • Clubs: Chelsea, Aston Villa
  • Position: Defender
  • EPL Titles: 5

The importance of having a core of domestic players was so significant to him throughout his career. With Alex Ferguson at the helm, Manchester United had a thriving group of English players, and at Bayern Munich, there were always several influential German players.

John Terry kept Chelsea together as a team – he embodied the spirit of the club. You must have a captain who leads by example at a club, and we had that in John. Despite his injuries, he always traveled with the team. He was an excellent example of what a captain should be. 

He was the complete defender, strong in the air, fearless, and able to tackle quickly. Even with the odds against him, he played brilliantly. I’m not aware of any Chelsea match in which Terry failed to show up, but maybe that’s because he was such a consistent performer. 

15 goals conceded in just 38 games on the way to a dominant Chelsea EPL victory, that says all you need to know about our top-ranked defender.


5. Roy Keane

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  • Clubs: Nottingham Forest, Manchester United
  • Position: Midfielder
  • EPL Titles: 7

Captain Fantastic was a Premier League winner, FA Cup winner, Champions League winner, and Intercontinental Cup winner during his time at United. After Eric Cantona retired in 1997 – the year Keane was appointed captain – he became United’s most important player. 

His combative style allowed him to smell danger, read situations, and predict when the ball would drop like no other player of his generation. Denis Irwin, a close friend, and teammate said that “he had superb defensive skills but was also capable of breaking forward.”

It was Keano who led United to an unprecedented Triple in 1999. That outstanding performance in the Champions League against Juventus typified the season.


4. Alan Shearer

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  • Clubs: Newcastle, Blackburn Rovers
  • Position: Striker
  • EPL Titles: 1

Shearer won accolades for his relentless desire to win. By far, he’s still the fastest to an EPL century, in just 124 games. The only Englishman to have won the Golden Boot three years in a row; still.

The only player to have scored 30 goals in three consecutive campaigns; and the only player to hit 20 goals in seven successive EPL campaigns. Throw in his 64 assists, and no one else has been involved in 324 Premier League goals. 

Shearer could have had the transfer of his choice after leading Blackburn to their first title in nearly 60 years. Instead, five lower-half finishes with his hometown club. Yet, as Kenny Dalglish – his manager at both Blackburn and Newcastle – informed Shearer inelegantly last year, “It didn’t matter who you played for, you always battered them in.”


3. Cristiano Ronaldo

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  • Club: Manchester United
  • Position: Striker
  • EPL Titles: 3

When Ronaldo re-signed for Man Utd for the 2021/2022 season, he instantly moved from 8th to 3rd on the list. It is hard to believe that his original debut was way back on August 16, 2003. A pair of substitutes made their debuts for Manchester United. The first became one of the greatest players of all time; the other was Eric Djemba-Djemba.

Djemba-Djemba’s Old Trafford career was doomed before he had stepped on the field. Introduced only six minutes after Cristiano Ronaldo, he had already been left with an impossible act to follow.

Alex Ferguson saw his Manchester United were laboring against Bolton in their league season opener. Despite leading 1-0 after an hour, Ronaldo replaced Nicky Butt at just 18 years of age.

With blond streaks in his hair that hinted at certain confidence, the wonderkid had arrived from Portuguese side Sporting for £12.5m days earlier, taking the No.7 shirt vacated by David Beckham.

The Old Trafford crowd greeted his introduction so loudly and with such elation that you wondered whether the new boy could match their sky-high expectations. He more than exceeded them.

Everyone present that afternoon knew that a star had been born. That UTD welcome back one of their icons for the 2021 season is great for the league as a whole, if not for their closest rivals.


2. Wayne Rooney

MatchesGoalsAssists
491208111
  • Clubs: Everton, Man Utd
  • Position: Striker
  • EPL Titles: 5

Pips Ronaldo to No.2 with his five league titles. In English football, few players have made a better EPL debut. A thunderous winner for Everton against Arsenal in 2002, aged 16, announced his arrival as an exceptional Premier League talent; later, his Manchester United debut featured a hat-trick in the Champions League. 

A boy who lived for the big stage, the ‘assassin-faced baby’ was a thrilling firebrand who feared nothing and nobody, but only added to his game as years passed.

He replaced Ruud van Nistelrooy as a superior all-around striker to help United continue their dominance in the face of new Premier League forces.

That Rooney became the Premier League’s second-top goalscorer with 208 strikes is notable. Arguably more so, though, is that he also holds the record for the third-highest number of assists.

Versatile and unselfish, England’s record marksman was particularly monstrous from 2009-11 for United, when he stepped up after Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to Real Madrid. Rooney proved his star status by yet again seamlessly filling the void.


1. Thierry Henry

MatchesGoalsAssists
25817574
  • Club: Arsenal
  • Position: Striker
  • EPL Titles: 2

Thierry Henry is the greatest Premier League player of all time. No one has won more Golden Boots than this enigmatic Frenchman, and nobody had ever provided more assists in one season until Kevin De Bruyne showed up. Grace, pace, and power combined to bewitch opponents.

Henry was the catalyst in two Premier League titles for Arsenal, carried them on his back during the dark days, and lit up English football with his signature swagger.

The legendary striker wasn’t just a once-in-a-generation player or King of Highbury. He represents the artistry with which Arsene Wenger’s most excellent sides flourished.

He made football fun; it looked classy, effortless, and beautiful all in one. He may have left Arsenal in 2007, but Henry at his peak would have thrived in any era, in any team in Premier League history.


For the greatest Premier League players on each position, check out one of these posts:

Connor Smith

I'm Connor, the guy behind SoccerPrime. I'm a former NCAA Div 1 college player that retired at the age of 21 due to injuries - which led me into a new career as a soccer coach.

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