An XI of players who should be next on the Premier League Hall of Fame list

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The Premier League has launched a Hall of Fame to celebrate some of the incredible talents to have played in England’s top flight since 1992.

Premier League record goalscorer Alan Shearer and Arsenal legend Thierry Henry are the inaugural inductees of the Hall of Fame but will soon be joined by six more legends.

We’ve compiled an Xl of players who also deserve to join the club. Note: only players who retired before August 2020 are eligible for selection. With so many good players to choose from, this will definitely divide opinion, so tweet us your teams @planetfutebol.

GK: Peter Schmeichel

While we haven’t ignored the merits of Petr Cech, Edwin van der Sar or David Seaman, there was only really one option for the goalkeeper’s spot.

After joining Manchester United from Brondby in 1991, Schmeichel provided the foundation for five Premier League triumphs over the following eight years. 

As well as making countless barely-believable saves, the Great Dane also had a catapult of a long throw and became the first goalkeeper to score a Premier League goal during his time at Aston Villa. 

RB: Gary Neville

Best known for his bromance with Sky Sports colleague Jamie Carragher, it’s a little known fact that Neville was once a brilliant defender for Manchester United.

Love him or loathe him, the reliable right-back was undoubtedly a key part of United’s success and his no-nonsense defending made him a nuisance for some of the best attackers in the world.

Even when he was shit, he was still invincible…

READ: Remembering Gary Neville’s admirably sh*t ‘invincible’ final Man Utd season

CB: John Terry

While Terry may never be one of football’s most popular figures outside of Stamford Bridge, he remains one of the greatest centre-backs to ever grace the Premier League. 

The Chelsea academy graduate started to establish himself in the first team following the turn of the millennium and went on to lead the club through the most successful period of its history, winning five league titles. 

Alongside Paul McGrath and Virgil Van Dijk, he’s also one of just three defenders to win the PFA Player of the Year award during the Premier League era.

CB: Tony Adams

A brilliant old-school defender, Adams refused to be bullied by anyone and was willing to put his head where other players were scared to put their feet.

After winning the First Division in 1989 and 1991, he led Arsenal to two Premier League titles and registered 115 clean sheets in 255 appearances in the competition.

“The best defender I’ve played against, and always say, was Tony Adams,” Alan Shearer said on The Premier League Show in 2017.

We’re definitely not going to argue with Shearer.

LB: Ashley Cole

A Premier League winner with both Arsenal and Chelsea, Cole just edges out former Manchester United defender Patrice Evra to take the left-back spot in this Xl.

Despite having his fair share of off-field controversies – including accidentally shooting a work experience student at the Cobham training ground – he was a model of consistency on the pitch.

The former England international enjoyed some iconic battles with Cristiano Ronaldo over the years and was as comfortable going forward as he was in defence. 

RW: David Beckham

While Beckham is as well known for his life off the pitch as he is on it, we should never forget just how good a footballer he was.

An old-school winger blessed with a wand of a right foot, he was renowned for providing delightful crosses on a sixpence for Manchester United’s strikers.

We could also mention the fact that he won six Premier League titles and was runner-up in the Ballon d’Or in 1999, but that goal against Wimbledon is enough to warrant his place in the team. 

CM: Patrick Vieira

One of the defining figures of the Premier League’s best rivalries, Vieira was a near ever-present during Arsenal’s tussles with Manchester United between 1996 and 2005. His commanding presence in midfield made those battles with Roy Keane appointment viewing.

A vital figure in all three of the titles won under Arsene Wenger (1997-98, 2001-02, 2003-04), when Vieira left for Juventus in 2005 he’d long since secured his status as an Arsenal legend and Premier League great.

Four-and-a-half years later he returned to English football, seeing out the final years of his playing career by lending his considerable winning experience to newly-minted Manchester City.

READ: The last goodbye: Vieira at Man City – fox in the box & Fergie provocateur

CM: Paul Scholes

Just one short of 500 Premier League appearances for his boyhood club Manchester United, Scholes was there almost throughout the modern-day dynasty built by Sir Alex Ferguson. 

He was still turning heads with the Class Of 92 when Ferguson’s United won the first Premier League title in 1992-93 before he started to breakthrough in the 1994-95 season, and from there played a major role in 11 of the Red Devils’ 13 Premier League titles. 

Scholes even came out of retirement for one last go of it in January 2012 and helped United regain the title from Manchester City in 2012-13. They’ve not won it since he and Ferguson retired for good that summer.

READ: A tribute to young Paul Scholes (he scores goals) at Manchester United

LW: David Ginola

Following Eric Cantona’s success at Manchester United, the mid-90s saw a greater proportion of overseas talent arriving, and amid stiff competition, few players in that era could hold a candle to Ginola. 

The former France international helped make Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle United earn their Entertainers tag, providing a real threat to Manchester United’s supremacy at the top of the tree.

Even in the context of 1995, the £2.5million fee Newcastle paid PSG proved one of the Premier League’s all-time great bargains. Once named French Player of the Year, Ginola had no struggles with bringing his trademark flair to a new league and environment and was named FWA and PFA Player of the Year while at Tottenham in 1998-99.

His time in English football might only have amounted to a single League Cup, but he won the hearts of Newcastle and Tottenham fans, as well as anyone else with an eye for sexy football.

READ: A celebration of David Ginola and an incredible Newcastle United bargain

ST: Dennis Bergkamp

Like Vieira, Bergkamp was one of the central pillars of the success Wenger enjoyed at Arsenal, with a major role in all three of the Gunners’ titles in the Premier League era. The Dutchman scored 87 goals and registered 94 assists in 315 appearances in the competition between 1995 and 2006.

But to distil his game down to just the numbers, or his career to his honours list, would be doing a disservice to one of the most technically gifted footballers in the history of the game. Few, if any, Premier League players match Bergkamp for aesthetics.

His turn around Nikos Dabizas says more than words ever could.

READ: Dennis Bergkamp’s greatest first touch isn’t that one…or that one – it’s this one

ST: Eric Cantona

Leeds United have made their fair share of mistakes in their 100-year history, but few compare to their old managing director Bill Fotherby phoning Manchester United chairman Martin Edwards to enquire about bringing Dennis Irwin back to Elland Road in November 1992.

Irwin stayed put, but the call sparked Cantona’s move in the other direction, and the rest is history. When the mercurial Frenchman signed, Manchester United had won just six of their opening 16 matches of the inaugural Premier League season and looked a long way off the pace, nine points off surprise leaders Norwich.

Cantona’s arrival sparked Ferguson’s revolution. Their form completely turned around, and they went on to win their first title since 1967 by 10 points.

The Red Devils won the title in four of Cantona’s five seasons at the club and remained the dominant force in English football for another decade and a half after he’d laid the groundwork. Arguably the most influential player in the history of the Premier League.

Substitutes: Petr Cech, Rio Ferdinand, Gary Speed, Roy Keane, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Andy Cole.


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