The English Premier League formed at the beginning of the 1992/93 season and has probably developed in to the strongest, most entertaining league in the world.
We have witnessed some of the globes biggest talents in action and I will attempt to select my All Time Best Premier League XI from a 4-3-3 formation based purely on the player’s ability, influence and overall contribution.
Peter Schmeichel (Goalkeeper) – The Great Dane is easily the finest goalkeeper the Premier League has seen. He protected Manchester United’s goal for 8 glory years during the 90’s, and also had short spells with Aston Villa and Manchester City later in his career. Schmeichel had the ability to make the goal look small with his giant dominating presence. Fantastic at everything a goalkeeper is required to do – the undoubted No.1.
Gary Neville (Right-Back) – Manchester United through and through, and England’s most capped right-back. Neville will probably go down as the Premier League’s most consistent performers in an illustrious 19-year career with the Red Devils. There are right-backs who probably offer more going forward but his defensive capabilities were second to none. Mr Reliable and a model pro.
Tony Adams (Centre-Half) – A one-club man playing his entire 22-year career with Arsenal. A no nonsense centre-half who loved to defend and was damn good at it. Without natural pace at his disposal Adam’s relied on defensive positioning and his ability to read the game. A true leader of men led to the Gunners legend captaining his side for 14 years.
Rio Ferdinand (Centre-Half) – Current day Manchester United defender. The Rolls Royce of centre-half’s – cool, calm, and composed. Ferdinand is an intelligent reader of the game and is as good in the air as he is with the ball at his feet. Comfortable with every aspect of defending and blessed with great pace.
Ashley Cole (Left-Back) – Epitomises what is required from a modern day full-back. Cole currently plies his trade with Chelsea and there is no-one better at combining defence and attack. A super fit athlete who can bomb up and down the left flank all day long – his natural pace offers marauding forward runs and rarely see’s him caught out in defence.
Steven Gerrard (Midfield) – Inspirational leader and one-club man. Single-handedly dragged many a Liverpool side to the finish line on countless occasions. Dynamic competitor who has everything in his locker – great range of passing, hard in the tackle, creatively aware and scorer of many important goals. The complete midfielder.
Paul Scholes (Midfield) – Players of this calibre don’t come around too often and another one-club man who has recently come out of retirement at the age of 37. Instrumental in Manchester United’s success over two decades. Can dictate the tempo of a game with an outstanding range of passes. Scholes has the ability to time perfect runs in to the penalty area and get on the end of crosses. Scorer of many important goals whether it be left-foot, right-foot or a header. Probably had the best first touch of any player who has graced the Premier League.
Ryan Giggs (Midfield) – The most decorated footballer of his generation and yes, another one-club man with Manchester United. As a youngster through to his peak Giggs mesmerised opposition defenses with his extraordinary dribbling ability and blistering raw pace.
With age, and a yard less pace, Giggs still influences games but from a more central role. The fact that he is 38-years-old and still playing at the top level is testament to his professionalism and athleticism. The only player to score in every Premier League season since it began.
Dennis Bergkamp (Right-Forward) – Arsenal’s Flying Dutchman could do things others could only dream of. Blessed with an astonishing football brain that meant he was always one step ahead of the rest. Probably the most technically gifted footballer the Premier League has ever seen with outstanding ball control and a creative flair.
Bergkamp was a great foil for an out-and-out striker but also pitched in with his fair share of goals. Oozed class and quite simply a genius!
Alan Shearer (Centre-Forward) – The Premier League’s all time leading goal-scorer with 260 to his name, averaging a goal every other game. An old fashioned number 9 who proved a nightmare for defenders when playing for Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United. Great in the air, a rocket of a right-foot shot, strong, powerful, and good at holding up the ball. Goal-machine!
Thierry Henry (Left-Forward) – Arsenal’s left-sided forward/striker who astonished supporters from all around the land by doing incredible things with what appeared relative ease. Huge ability, lightening pace and scorer of some unbelievable goals. Unplayable at times and made the impossible, possible. A phenomenal record of a goal in every one-and-a-half games is why Henry is my pick for the best player ever to grace the Premier League.
The hardest part of selecting an All Time XI is having to leave out great players who are also deserving of a place. Leaving out Roy Keane, Gianfranco Zola and Robbie Fowler proved to be the hardest decisions to make. Roy Keane’s drive and dominating force from midfield meant he could stamp his authority on every game he played in. Robbie Fowler is the most natural born finisher I’ve ever seen – a fox-in-the-box but also a scorer of some spectacular goals. And probably the hardest player of all to leave out was Gianfranco Zola who had a ridiculous combination of skill, vision, control and flair.
Others deserving of a mention who I shortlisted were Denis Irwin, Sol Campbell, Steve Bruce, John Terry, Jamie Carragher, Marcel Desailly, Graeme Le Saux, Patrick Viera, Frank Lampard, David Ginola and Eric Cantona.
An interesting thought is that 5 of the 11 players I selected have devoted their whole career’s to one club – something of a rarity in the day and age we currently live in.
How does my All Time Premier League XI fair against yours? Of my selections who would you change?
For more rumour, views and opinion follow me on Twitter at grez10
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