Premiership Legends XI – Ed Tarlton

1st December 2009

This week, URN Sports Editor Tom Ryan challenged me to put together my all time premiership legends XI! So, after more or less barricading myself in my room a la Trainspotting and hours of Wikipedia research I finally picked a line-up I wouldn’t lose sleep over; with no more than three players from one team in the starting eleven (substitutes are free), here is my squad of all-time greats from 17 years of Premier League football:

Goalkeeper: Peter Schmeichel (Manchester United)

P.SchmeichelNeeds no introduction, widely regarded as the best club goalkeeper of his generation, the great Dane was the bedrock of United’s back four and went on to win five league titles, and of course the treble in 1999. Never adequately replaced until the acquisition of Edwin Van Der Sar.

Left Back: Stuart Pearce (Nottingham Forest, Newcastle United, West Ham, Manchester City)
Stuart Pearce

‘Psycho’ sported unquestionable passion throughout his playing career. A leader, his uncompromising style made him a sought after player for a number of years. Capped seventy eight times for England, he’s most remembered for his illustrious career with Nottingham forest. Gave no quarter of the pitch to anyone and a terrific player.

Centre Back: Paul McGrath (Aston Villa, Derby County)
Paul McGrath

A surprise choice perhaps, but in my opinion one of the most underrated centre backs in premier league history to date, centre backs are rarely famed for their technical ability but McGrath had it all, not the tallest of players, but played to his strengths and was one of the most assured defenders of the last twenty years.

Centre Back: Tony Adams (Arsenal)
Tony Adams

Arsenal through and through, Adams was a leader and irreplaceable at the back for the Gunners for a decade more or less. A member of the side that once only conceded seventeen league goals in a season, only bettered by the Arsenal side that saw Bob Wilson in goal in the 1970’s. Gave everything to the cause and a fantastic player.

Right Back: Lee Dixon (Arsenal)
Lee Dixon

Another key member of the firm Arsenal defence, I’ve picked him for his attacking abilities as well as his defensive ones, capable of delivering a great cross himself or supporting his midfield counterpart on the right, he was Arsenal’s first choice right back for ten years, narrowly pips Gary Neville to the starting position in my XI.

Left Midfield: David Ginola (Newcastle, Tottenham)
David Ginola

The Frenchman brought class and flair to the Premier League when he signed for Newcastle and scored some of the best goals the league has ever seen, one of the most exciting players to watch in the 1990’s.

Central Midfield: Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)
Steven Gerrard

Quite simply one of the best players the league has ever seen, Anfield’s equivalent to Captain Marvel rarely disappoints, comfortable on the ball, his range of passing and ability to find the back of the net made him an instant choice in my eyes. The difference he makes to Liverpool is still obvious. A class act.

Central Midfield: Roy Keane (Captain) (Nottingham Forest, Manchester United)
Roy Keane

My squad features five players who regularly captained their clubs, but Keane to me is the ultimate premiership captain, a true leader, capable of scoring goals when going forward but few have been able to match his defensive midfield abilities. Captain of my XI.

Right Midfield/Wing: Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)
Christiano Ronaldo

I could hardly not include him, probably the best right winger the world has seen for some time, let alone the Premier League. To be the top league goalscorer from a wide position is nothing short of remarkable. Unselfish as well, and worked well within the team at United. A clear starting choice.

Striker: Alan Shearer (Newcastle)
Alan Shearer

One of the best England strikers of modern times, Shearer could score all types of goals, long shots, one on ones, headers and penalties, his goal-scoring instinct was mouth watering to watch, won the Premier League with Blackburn in 1995 before going on to be one of Newcastle’s most loved players, rejecting approaches from Manchester United, and scoring over 200 goals for the Toon.

Striker: Ian Wright (Arsenal)
Ian Wright

Probably the most difficult choice of all, with so many names that trip of the tongue for a striking role in a select premier league side but a little bit of a selfish choice from me. One of my personal heroes, he was rejected after trials at Brighton and Brentford before signing for my team, Crystal Palace in 1985. Went on to be one of the club’s all time leading scorers, before becoming Arsenal’s most expensive ever signing in 1991 and fired his way onto their top goalscorers list too. Like Shearer, he could score all kinds of goals. With a better goal:game ratio than Thierry Henry for the Gunners, he completes my Premiership Legends XI.

Substitutes;
GK: David Seaman (Arsenal, Manchester City)
DF: Gary Neville (Manchester United)
DF: John Terry (Chelsea)
MF: Frank Lampard (Chelsea)
MF: Ryan Giggs (Manchester United)
AT: Thierry Henry (Arsenal)
AT: Eric Cantona (Manchester United)