Centre Midfield 1
Claude Makelele was one of the best players ever seen in the holding midfield role. He could read the game better than anyone, and rarely ventured forward, always providing protection for his defence. He made the position his own, which is why it is still sometimes referred to as the ‘Makelele role’.
Roy Keane is one of Manchester United’s all time greats. He played a huge role in their success during the Alex Ferguson years. His tough tackling, no nonsense approach made him a big hit with his own supporters. He was also a great leader on the pitch.
Patrick Vieira had everything he required to make him a world class midfielder. His strength, tackling, and positioning made him an excellent defensive midfielder. His pace, dribbling, and composure in front of goal also made him a big threat going forward. He captained Arsenal during some of their most successful years, his leadership qualities were second to none. He is the most complete midfielder we have ever seen in the Premier League, which is why I am putting him in the team.
The winner is Patrick Vieira.
Centre Midfield 2
The greatest goal scoring midfielder the Premier League has ever seen is Frank Lampard. He was a master of timing his runs into the opposition’s box. He won everything during his time with Chelsea, and will go down as one of the club’s greatest ever players.
Steven Gerrard was for many years, one of the best midfielders in the world. He could do everything on a football pitch. He was physically strong, he could dribble, was an excellent passer, and could also score goals. Which made leaving Gerrard out of this team one of the toughest choices which I had to make.
Paul Scholes was a genius on a football pitch. He was one of the very best passers around, he rarely ever lost the ball. He was also capable of scoring incredible goals, his volleys from outside the box will go down in Premier League history. He was crucial for Manchester United for a long period of time and was at the centre of their success on the pitch. Every team needs a Paul Scholes, he is the English equivalent of Xavi Hernandez, and Andrea Pirlo. This is why I can’t leave him out of my team.
The winner is Paul Scholes.
Freddie Ljungberg was part of the Arsenal side that went the entire season unbeaten in the Premier League. He was one of the most skillful players at the time, and often provided vital goals. An excellent team player, who had a fantastic understanding of his teammates.
David Beckham is perhaps the most iconic figure to have ever played football. The former Manchester United man and England captain was a key figure for both club and country. He was also one of the best free-kick takers and crossers in recent memory.
During his time at Real Madrid, Cristiano Ronaldo has established himself as not only one of the best players of his generation, but also as one of the best players to have ever played the game. The signs of his greatness were there to see during his time at Manchester United. He was the perfect winger; electric pace, a good dribbler, and he scores an incredible amount of goals. His goal scoring record alone could get him into this team, but there is much more to his game than just that. It is impossible to leave him out.
The winner is Cristiano Ronaldo.
Gareth Bale had an incredible season for Tottenham Hotspur, before he left to join Real Madrid. He has blistering pace, can dribble past players, and is also capable of scoring spectacular goals. Not many players have reached the heights that Bale did, during his one remarkable season in the Premier League.
Robert Pires became one of Arsenal’s most important players. He was skillful on the ball, and could create chances for his teammates. Add to that the amount of goals he scored and you can see why he will be remembered for a long time as one of the Premier Leagues greatest ever players. It was difficult leaving him out of this team.
Ryan Giggs epitomised everything that was good about Manchester United during Alex Ferguson’s reign. He came through the club’s youth system and instantly fitted into United’s team. Not only was he a quick, skillful winger but he also worked hard for the team. Without doubt, Giggs will go down as one of the best players to have played in the Premier League for his ability, his professionalism, and all of his achievements on the pitch. He spent 24 years at Manchester United, making 672 appearances. We may never see the likes of that again.
The winner is Ryan Giggs.
The signing of Dennis Bergkamp for Arsenal revolutionised the whole club. He was the catalyst for Arsenals success during the 1990s. Not only was he a prolific goalscorer, he was also a creator for others. Few players have ever combined the vision, passing, and finishing ability that Bergkamp possessed. Leaving him out of this team is the hardest choice I have had to make.
Eric Cantona was a controversial figure during his time in the Premier League. One of the most talented players to have ever played in English football. He was a scorer of important, often spectacular goals. His nonchalant style is often still revered around the world to this day. He is regarded as one of Manchester United’s greatest ever players.
Luis Suarez was phenomenal in his last season in the Premier League for Liverpool. Scoring 31 times in the Premier League, which helped him win the player of the year award. Individually, he is one of the very best players we have seen play in England. Suarez is the complete modern day forward. He can score all kinds of goals. From the truly spectacular to simple tap-ins. His game has gone to another level during his time at Barcelona FC, soaring to become without doubt, one of the best strikers in world football.
The winner is Luis Suarez.
In his prime, Didier Drogba was one of the most feared strikers in the Premier League. His goals helped Chelsea to many trophies during his time at the club. He possessed incredible strength, pace, and was also a deadly finisher. He was a big game player, and could be relied upon to settle close encounters with a moment of brilliance.
Alan Shearer holds the record for the most goals scored in the Premier League, with 260. He could score with both feet, and also had a fantastic heading ability. Arguably the most natural goalscorer to have ever played in the Premier League. He was also a proven international player with England, scoring one in two for his country.
I consider Thierry Henry as the best player to have ever played in the Premier League. He first arrived at Arsenal as a left winger, but was to establish himself as one of the top strikers in the world before leaving the club. His pace was frightening, he could dribble past defenders with ease. He was the focal point of the Arsenal attack, and enjoyed huge success, both with club and country. Henry won every major trophy before he retired from the game, and will go down as one of the all-time greats.
The winner is Thierry Henry.
Greatest Premier League XI