Ranking the 16 PL Hall of Famers by how much they deserve their place

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Theirry Henry celebrates scoring for Arsenal v Real Madrid. Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain, Tuesday February 21, 2006.

There are currently 16 players in the Premier League’s Hall of Fame, including legends like of Wayne Rooney, David Beckham and Thierry Henry.

Few fans would disagree that all of the footballers honoured with a place in this most exclusive of clubs deserve to be there.

But ranking them by how much they deserve to be there is much, much more fun. So that’s what we’ve done.

16. Peter Schmeichel

Perhaps marked down because he’s a goalkeeper, or perhaps because the authority on all matters football Roy Keane once claimed he was in fact “overrated”, Schmeichel comes in at the bottom of our undoubtedly conclusive list.

The fact that the great Dane is the only goalkeeper in the Hall of Fame is evidence enough of his brilliance, though.

15. Eric Cantona

Something about Cantona makes all the admiration seem very much like a cult of personality.

He had his moments, sure, but the famous quotes about seagulls and drop-kicking fans elevated his status.

He did have a significant impact on Manchester United for a very low transfer fee, but there have been players who’ve been better over a longer period in the Premier League who aren’t yet in the coveted Hall of Fame.

Man Utd legend Eric Cantona

READ: Eric Cantona: One of English football’s greatest ever bargains

14. Ian Wright

Wright was an exceptional striker in the 90s, banging in goals for fun as Arsenal entered a new era under Arsene Wenger.

But such is the quality of the Hall of Fame, he has been overshadowed slightly here by the Premier League’s other great goalscorers.

13. Vincent Kompany

The rock in Man City’s defence for over a decade, Kompany was a key man in one of the best teams the Premier League has ever seen after Pep Guardiola’s arrival.

Consistency, though, is key, and the Belgian experienced more lows than some of the names on this list.

12. Didier Drogba

An often unstoppable force of a striker, Drogba seemed to carry Chelsea to success on several occasions, never weighed down by the responsibility on his shoulders.

They’ve never really replaced him since he left in 2015.

But to us, he was at his memorable best in knockout football – most notably the FA Cup and Champions League – rather than in run-of-the-mill league games. This is a Premier League Hall of Fame, so he falls down a bit for that.

The 11 best quotes on Didier Drogba: ‘With you I could go to every war’

11. Steven Gerrard

Sorry, Liverpool fans. Gerrard was, without doubt, amongst the best midfielders in the world throughout his career at Anfield.

But the lack of a Premier League title is a glaring black mark against his name on this particular list.

10. Frank Lampard

The Chelsea legend just about has the edge over Gerrard, partly for his goal-scoring exploits in midfield and partly because of the three Premier League titles he won.

According to Jose Mourinho, Lampard was “probably the best player in the Premier League for one decade.”

Though Lampard and Gerrard could never play together for England, they can sit side by side on our list.

9. Roy Keane

Let’s be honest, there have been better midfielders, on an objective, technical level, than Keane.

But as a leader of men, a warrior at the heart of a uniquely successful Manchester United team, no one can compare. Seven Premier League titles tells you what you need to know.

His great midfield partner Paul Scholes said: “Roy was unbelievable to play alongside and someone you could always trust.

“I soon learned that if you weren’t on your game he would be on top of you to make sure you were playing your part for the team.

“I had a few bollockings from him, but that made you work harder to avoid them. He was a great leader and captain: he drove us on and he was our manager on the pitch.”

8. David Beckham

In truth, mention of David Beckham nowadays just conjures up an image of a celebrity, a brand, a man recognised across the world as a cultural phenomenon.

But Beckham was an outstanding footballer and had the right peg of a football god. His crossing was beyond compare.

He also holds the record for the most direct free-kick goals in the English top-flight since 1992 and once scored from behind the halfway line. There are a lot of incredible footballers on this list, but perhaps none who could strike the ball as beautifully as this…

7. Alan Shearer

A man worshipped more than God himself in the North East, Shearer’s goal scoring excellence is undeniable.

Like Gerrard, though, his loyalty to one club perhaps proved a hindrance by the end. Shearer did win a Premier League title with Blackburn, but his years at Newcastle were barren, except for a constant stream of Golden Boots.

READ: A tribute to the Villa volley, Alan Shearer’s unlikeliest Newcastle goal

6. Patrick Vieira

Roy Keane would be sick to see his greatest enemy nip in ahead of him on our list, which will of course be referenced for years as the definitive ranking of the Premier League’s finest.

Vieira gets the nod for his transformation of an already strong Arsenal team and for his talismanic role in a side that remains the division’s first and last to go through an entire season unbeaten.

5. Sergio Aguero


Enough said.

4. Dennis Bergkamp

Incredibly silky and luxuriously smooth. That’s not the description of a Galaxy chocolate bar, but instead Dennis Bergkamp, Arsenal’s gloriously talented No.10.

There have been few players in the Premier League era better to watch than the Dutchman.

As his fellow inductee Ian Wright succinctly put it: “He’s the messiah. We told him to get us into Europe when he joined and that’s exactly what he did.”

3. Paul Scholes

Perhaps the greatest midfielder in Premier League history, no player has ever pinged a ball around a pitch with such accuracy.

With each perfectly-executed, raking diagonal ball, Scholes cemented his deserved place in the Hall of Fame.

Oh, and just the 11 league titles wins for Scholes. A decent number, if you ask us.

2. Wayne Rooney

Love him or hate him, Rooney was at one point, at his peak, amongst the best players in the world. No one could handle the United striker on top form.

He former United team-mate and long-time Barcelona centre-half Gerard Pique once said: “I have never seen a player as powerful as Rooney – the way he goes past people, the intensity of his play, the runs he makes from the first minute to the last and the shot that he has. World class.”

Had Rooney aged like a fine wine rather than a bottle of Sainsbury’s Pinot Grigio, he might well have topped this list.

1. Thierry Henry

In Premier League terms, the undisputed GOAT.

A tribute to Thierry Henry, a man who scored more goals and better goals

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