Tuesday, 23 Apr 2024

The Best Premier League Midfielders in History: A Debate by Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer, and Micah Richards

Match of the Day Top 10: Lineker, Shearer and Micah talk Keane and Vieira rivalry

The Premier League has witnessed the brilliance of numerous midfield maestros over the years. Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer, and Micah Richards, renowned football experts, recently indulged in a captivating debate on “Match of the Day Top 10,” discussing the best ever midfielders in the Premier League. Let’s delve into their choices and form our own rankings.

Kevin de Bruyne

Kevin de Bruyne holds the Premier League trophy

  • Clubs: Chelsea (2011-14), Man City (2015-present)
  • Premier League record: 226 appearances, 60 goals, 95 assists

Kevin de Bruyne, signed by Manchester City in 2015 for a then-record fee, has been a force to be reckoned with. The Belgian sensation has notched up an impressive 98 assists in the Premier League alone. De Bruyne’s outstanding performances earned him back-to-back PFA Player’s Player of the Year awards (2019-20 and 2020-21), a feat only accomplished by Thierry Henry and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Cesc Fabregas

Cesc Fabregas

  • Clubs: Arsenal (2003-2011), Chelsea (2014-19)
  • Premier League record: 350 appearances, 50 goals, 111 assists

Cesc Fabregas, an Arsenal prodigy, quickly rose to become one of the world’s finest midfielders. He played a pivotal role in Arsenal’s FA Cup victory in the 2004/05 season. After a spell at Barcelona, Fabregas returned to the Premier League, joining Chelsea and winning two league titles with the Blues.

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Steven Gerrard

Steven Gerrard

  • Clubs: Liverpool (1998-2015)
  • Premier League record: 504 appearances, 120 goals, 92 assists

Despite his unfortunate absence from Premier League title triumphs, Steven Gerrard’s undeniable quality shines through. The Liverpool legend showcased an incredible scoring ability, finding the back of the net in the finals of the Champions League, UEFA Cup, FA Cup, and League Cup. Gerrard was recognized for his immense talent, winning the PFA Young Player of the Year in 2000-01 and the PFA Players’ Player of the Year in 2005-06.

Ngolo Kante

N'Golo Kante holding the Premier League trophy

  • Clubs: Leicester (2015-16), Chelsea (2016-present)
  • Premier League record: 222 appearances, 12 goals, 16 assists

N’Golo Kante’s rise to prominence began with Leicester City’s miraculous title-winning campaign in 2015-16. His tireless performances caught the eye of Chelsea, and he continued to shine, securing the PFA Player of the Year award. Kante’s presence in midfield has been invaluable for both clubs.

Roy Keane

Roy Keane

  • Clubs: Nottingham Forest (1990-93), Man Utd (1993-2005)
  • Premier League record: 366 appearances, 39 goals, 33 assists

Roy Keane’s leadership qualities and relentless drive made him one of the most decorated players in Premier League history. Keane’s unwavering determination played a pivotal role in Manchester United’s historic treble-winning season in 1998-99.

Frank Lampard

Frank Lampard

  • Clubs: West Ham (1995-2001); Chelsea (2001-2014); Man City (2014-15)
  • Premier League record: 609 appearances, 177 goals, 102 assists

Frank Lampard’s name reverberates whenever discussions revolve around goalscoring midfielders. Lampard’s lethal scoring ability propelled him to become Chelsea’s all-time leading scorer, and he clinched two Premier League titles with the Blues.

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Paul Scholes

Paul Scholes in action for Manchester United

  • Clubs: Man Utd (1994-2013)
  • Premier League record: 499 appearances, 107 goals, 55 assists

Paul Scholes, a product of Manchester United’s revered “Class of ’92,” possessed exceptional technical skills. Scholes played a pivotal role in United’s multiple successes, including their treble-winning season in 1999.

David Silva

David Silva

  • Clubs: Man City (2010-2020)
  • Premier League record: 309 appearances, 60 goals, 93 assists

David Silva’s mesmerizing performances contributed significantly to Manchester City’s success over the course of a decade. The Spanish playmaker played a vital role in securing four Premier League titles and numerous domestic trophies for the club.

Yaya Toure

Yaya Toure holds the Premier League trophy aloft

  • Clubs: Man City (2010-18)
  • Premier League record: 230 appearances, 62 goals, 32 assists

Yaya Toure’s arrival at Manchester City marked a turning point in the club’s history. The Ivorian powerhouse’s crucial goals propelled City to their first trophy in 35 years in the form of the FA Cup. Toure’s contributions were integral to City ending their 44-year league title drought.

Patrick Vieira

Patrick Vieira holds Arsenal's golden Premier League trophy

  • Clubs: Arsenal (1996-2011), Man City (2009-11)
  • Premier League record: 307 appearances, 31 goals, 34 assists

Patrick Vieira, a towering presence in midfield, captained Arsenal during their unbeaten Premier League season in 2003-04. His blend of physicality and skill made him an iconic figure in the Premier League.

Across the BBC banner


Q: Where can I watch the full debate on the best Premier League midfielders?
A: You can watch the full debate on the “Match of the Day Top 10” series on BBC iPlayer.

Q: Who is the most decorated player among the discussed midfielders?
A: Paul Scholes holds the distinction of being the most decorated player on this list, with 11 league titles and two Champions League winners’ medals to his name.

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The Premier League has been blessed with an array of extraordinary midfielders throughout its history. From the creative brilliance of Kevin de Bruyne to the relentless drive of Roy Keane, each player on this list has left an indelible mark on English football. While their rankings may differ, their contributions to the beautiful game are undeniable.

Join the debate and create your own ranking of the best Premier League midfielders in history. Explore the Pesstatsdatabase to dive deeper into the stats and accomplishments of these footballing legends.

Remember, football is a game of opinions, and the debate continues.