Premier League

The greatest English players in Premier League history - ranked

Ross Jackson
Apr 24, 2021, 3:00 PM GMT+1
Two of the greatest midfielders to ever grace the PL...
Two of the greatest midfielders to ever grace the PL... / PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images
facebooktwitterreddit

One of the best things about the Premier League is undoubtedly the talents we attract from foreign shores - so much so that the Englishmen we've been lucky enough to watch occasionally fly under the radar.

While it's not uncommon for players born in England to test their abilities across some of the other elite European leagues, the majority of them spend the bulk of their playing career right here in the Premier League.

With that in mind, 90min has picked out the 30 best Englishmen ever to grace the Premier League, ranking them right the way down to the best of the lot.

*Disclaimer - before you say anything it's judged on their performances specifically in the Premier League, so don't come moaning when you can't find Paul Gascoigne, because the majority of his time in the league was spent at mid-table teams when he was looking a little, erm, portly.

30. Stan Collymore

Stan Collymore in action for Liverpool
Stan Collymore in action for Liverpool / Mark Thompson/Getty Images

A player whose footballing ability isn't necessarily given the credit it deserves.

Stan Collymore enjoyed stellar spells with Nottingham Forest and Liverpool, though England's glut of top class centre-forwards in the mid 90s limited his international career.

29. Stuart Pearce

Stuart Pearce in action for Nottingham Forest
Stuart Pearce in action for Nottingham Forest / Steve Lindsell/Getty Images

It's easy to forget what a good left-back Stuart Pearce was amid all the 'Psycho' bravado.

Pearce spent a lot of his career in the second tier with Nottingham Forest, though he did enjoy four Premier League campaigns with the club before moving on to Newcastle and West Ham.

28. Jamie Vardy

Jamie Vardy helped Leicester win the Premier League
Jamie Vardy helped Leicester win the Premier League / Pool/Getty Images

Having worked his way up the football ladder, Jamie Vardy helped fire Leicester City to Premier League glory in 2016 and has truly established himself as one of the best strikers in the league - having bagged well over a century of goals in over 300 outings.

27. Les Ferdinand

Les Ferdinand during his time with Newcastle
Les Ferdinand during his time with Newcastle / Ben Radford/Getty Images

Les Ferdinand made a name for himself at Queens Park Rangers before Kevin Keegan signed him for Newcastle following the departure of Andy Cole.

The frontman's 25 goals in his maiden campaign on Tyneside almost handed the Magpies the Premier League crown, though they lost out to Manchester United.

26. Ian Wright

Ian Wright was the Gunners' all-time leading goalscorer at one point
Ian Wright was the Gunners' all-time leading goalscorer at one point / Ben Radford/Getty Images

Ian Wright became Arsenal's all-time leading goalscorer in the 90s after a succession of quality campaigns.

He failed to really replicate his form at international level, though his club form was unbelievable for a number of years.

25. John Barnes

John Barnes at Liverpool in 1994
John Barnes at Liverpool in 1994 / Phil Cole/Getty Images

John Barnes' best years as a player probably came prior to the inception of the Premier League, but that's not to say he wasn't brilliant after 1992 as well.

Barnes racked up impressive goalscoring numbers on the wing for Liverpool before moving into a central position later in his career.

24. Steve McManaman

Steve McManaman was unbelievable for Liverpool
Steve McManaman was unbelievable for Liverpool / Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Steve McManaman was absolutely unplayable for a period during the mid 90s.

His ability to run with the ball may not have looked particularly glamorous but he was unstoppable at times, and he secured a move to Real Madrid where he won the Champions League later in his career.

23. Jordan Henderson

Jordan Henderson captained Liverpool to the Premier League title
Jordan Henderson captained Liverpool to the Premier League title / Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

One thing Barnes and McManaman didn't manage to do was win the Premier League title for Liverpool - unlike this man.

Jordan Henderson has come on leaps and bounds since his move to Liverpool in 2011 and he's now one of the most important players in the England squad.

22. Andy Cole

Andy Cole at Manchester United
Andy Cole at Manchester United / Stu Forster/Getty Images

Andy Cole's 34 goals in 1993/94 remains the highest tally scored by a player in a single Premier League campaign - though the season was slightly longer back then.

Having moved to Manchester United in 1995, Cole was a regular in the Red Devils' first team and he won just about everything there is to be won at Old Trafford.

He finished up with 187 goals in the Premier League.

21. Teddy Sheringham

Teddy Sheringham's goal helped United on their way to Champions League success in 1999
Teddy Sheringham's goal helped United on their way to Champions League success in 1999 / Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

Teddy Sheringham's best goalscoring years came during his first spell with Tottenham - bagging 75 goals in 166 Premier League appearances - though his move to Manchester United in 1997 was what secured his stellar haul of silverware.

20. David Seaman

David Seaman playing in goal for Arsenal
David Seaman playing in goal for Arsenal / Phil Cole/Getty Images

Arsenal's reliable number one for many seasons.

There weren't many better goalkeepers around in the Premier League than David Seaman during his playing days and there haven't been many better since.

19. Peter Beardsley

Peter Beardsley lit up Newcastle's side
Peter Beardsley lit up Newcastle's side / Getty Images/Getty Images

Similar to Barnes, Peter Beardsley's best years came prior to the inception of the Premier League in 1992, though he was still brilliant afterwards.

Beardsley was part of Keegan's 'Entertainers' and his magic feet meant he was the perfect catalyst for Newcastle's style of play.

18. Gary Neville

Gary Neville was United's first-choice right-back for many years
Gary Neville was United's first-choice right-back for many years / CARL DE SOUZA/Getty Images

You're probably thinking he was just a bit boring, aren't you?

The truth of the matter is the Premier League hasn't been graced by many more accomplished right-backs.

Gary Neville was a mainstay in the United defence for years and formed a formidable partnership with David Beckham on the United right-hand side during the latter's time with the Red Devils.

17. Paul Ince

Paul Ince played for some of England's elite clubs
Paul Ince played for some of England's elite clubs / Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

The governor.

Paul Ince was a colossus at the heart of United's midfield - picking up two Premier League titles and two FA Cups - before moving to Liverpool and then Middlesbrough.

16. Sol Campbell

Sol Campbell was part of Arsenal's 'Invincibles' side
Sol Campbell was part of Arsenal's 'Invincibles' side / Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Sol Campbell's move from Spurs to north London rivals Arsenal will never be forgotten.

His return to White Hart Lane with the Gunners saw him receive some, erm, harsh criticism from the home fans, though his move was vindicated as he won two titles with Arsenal.

15. Matt Le Tissier

Matt Le Tissier carried the Saints for a number of years
Matt Le Tissier carried the Saints for a number of years / Gary M. Prior/Getty Images

Matt Le Tissier represented England on eight occasions, though it should have been a hell of a lot more.

The maverick playmaker carried Southampton for a number of seasons and treated us to some of the finest goals in Premier League history.

14. Michael Owen

Injuries plagued Michael Owen's career
Injuries plagued Michael Owen's career / Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Michael Owen could well have been near the top spot on this list if it wasn't for injuries.

Not many players peak in their early 20s, but a number of injury problems meant it didn't get much better for Owen, though he was absolutely unstoppable during the early years of his career with Liverpool.

13. Robbie Fowler

Robbie Fowler was a Liverpool hero
Robbie Fowler was a Liverpool hero / Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

When you're nicknamed 'God' by your own fans there's a chance you're not a bad player.

Robbie Fowler burst onto the scene with Liverpool - scoring 83 goals in his first four seasons in the first team - though his reputation on Merseyside was tarnished a little when he moved to Leeds.

12. Tony Adams

Tony Adams won the Premier League with Arsenal
Tony Adams won the Premier League with Arsenal / Getty Images/Getty Images

There weren't many better than Tony Adams in the 90s and he was at the heart of the Gunners' superb backline for almost two decades.

11. Raheem Sterling

Raheem Sterling is a regular goalscorer for City
Raheem Sterling is a regular goalscorer for City / Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images

He might not be the most natural footballer you'll ever watch, but it's impossible to argue with Raheem Sterling's stats.

The England international has scored 17 or more in every one of his last three full Premier League seasons and he's key to Manchester City's style of play.

10. Rio Ferdinand

Rio Ferdinand was a rock at the back for the Red Devils
Rio Ferdinand was a rock at the back for the Red Devils / Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

One of the classiest defenders to grace the Premier League, Rio Ferdinand had just about everything you could ask for in a centre-back.

Pace, technical ability and a good reading of the game - if he were playing now he'd be worth about £120m.

9. Ashley Cole

Ashley Cole was arguably the best left-back in the world at one point
Ashley Cole was arguably the best left-back in the world at one point / Ian Walton/Getty Images

Ashley Cole was the best left-back in the world for a number of years during his time at Chelsea.

He went underappreciated a little but looking back he's possibly the best left-back to ever play in the Premier League.

8. David Beckham

David Beckham won just about everything there is to win at United
David Beckham won just about everything there is to win at United / Ben Radford/Getty Images

The circus that came with David Beckham meant his footballing ability was overlooked a little, but during the mid to late 90s in particular he was brilliant.

Beckham went on to represent some of the best sides in Europe and picked up silverware almost everywhere he played.

7. Harry Kane

Harry Kane could go on to break Alan Shearer's goalscoring record
Harry Kane could go on to break Alan Shearer's goalscoring record / Visionhaus/Getty Images

Harry Kane has transformed from a player a lot of people assumed would be a one-season-wonder to arguably the best striker on the planet.

Only Robert Lewandowski really comes close to Kane right now and he could become the Premier League's all-time top scorer if he remains in England for the rest of his career.

6. John Terry

John Terry won multiple Premier League titles
John Terry won multiple Premier League titles / Chris Brunskill Ltd/Getty Images

Five Premier League titles, five FA Cups, three League Cups, a Europa League win and a Champions League triumph tells you just about everything you need to know about how good John Terry was.

5. Frank Lampard

Frank Lampard scored for fun during his time in Chelsea's midfield
Frank Lampard scored for fun during his time in Chelsea's midfield / Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

Chelsea's all-time leading goalscorer.

To notch double figures in the Premier League for ten consecutive seasons is some achievement, but to do it from midfield!

Not many players in world football were better than Frank Lampard when it came to arriving late in the box and sticking the ball in the back of the net.

4. Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney during his time with Manchester United
Wayne Rooney during his time with Manchester United / BEN STANSALL/Getty Images

Wayne Rooney's time at Manchester United went a little sour towards the end of his 13-year stay at Old Trafford, but who could forget how good he was when he was in his prime.

Rooney hit double figures for United in 11 consecutive Premier League campaigns and left the club with five title wins.

3. Paul Scholes

Paul Scholes dominated United's midfield for many years
Paul Scholes dominated United's midfield for many years / Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Paul Scholes seems to have turned into 'that miserable bloke on the telly' of late, so let's not forget what a gem of a footballer he was.

The midfield maestro was revered by some of the best players in the world and he won everything going during his 20-year career.

2. Alan Shearer

Alan Shearer is the all-time top Premier League goalscorer
Alan Shearer is the all-time top Premier League goalscorer / Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

If Harry Kane wants to break the Premier League's all-time goalscoring record - he'll have to score more than the 260 this man got.

Alan Shearer holds the honour for now - and will do for some time yet.

While his medal haul really doesn't reflect what an astonishing talent he was, he still notched a Premier League title with Blackburn Rovers and will always be looked at as one the best to ever grace the league.

1. Steven Gerrard

Steven Gerrard takes our number one spot
Steven Gerrard takes our number one spot / Etsuo Hara/Getty Images

Steven Gerrard gets the nod as the best Englishman to ever play in the Premier League.

The former Liverpool man could do just about everything and he carried his side for a number of years.

He could shoot, he could tackle, he had energy, he had vision - there really wasn't much he couldn't do - and on that basis he takes the number one spot.

facebooktwitterreddit