Monday morning saw Thierry Henry and Alan Shearer named as the first two inductees into the Premier League’s all-new Hall of Fame.
Although they are two of the greatest strikers ever to feature in the top flight, there is already clamour from fans for their favourite player to join the list, and a 23-man shortlist is soon to be revealed ahead of the next six entrants.
So who could be on the list to join them? Following the Premier League’s selection criteria, Sportsmail puts forward a 23-man shortlist of potential Hall of Famers…
Thierry Henry (L) and Alan Shearer are the first two players in the Premier League Hall of Fame
What is the selection criteria?
The Premier League have stated that the player must have retired by 1 August 2020, and they must have played 250 times in the competition, unless they have achieved any of the following milestones…
- Made a minimum of 200 Premier League appearances for one club
- Been selected in any Premier League Team of the Decade or Anniversary teams
- Won a Premier League Golden Boot or Golden Glove
- Been voted as Premier League Player of the Season
- Won three Premier League titles
- Scored 100 Premier League goals or recorded 100 clean sheets (GK only)
1. Frank Lampard
Although he only retired in 2017, it feels as though Lampard has done plenty since, having managed at both Derby and Chelsea, before being sacked by the latter in January.
Although his managerial reign ended with a whimper, Super Frank will always hold legendary status at the Bridge having made 429 appearances, scoring 147 goals along the way.
He also three Premier League titles to his name and is a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame, be it now or a little while down the line.
Chelsea hero Frank Lampard is a certain future inductee of the Premier League Hall of Fame
2. Eric Cantona
Love him or hate him, Cantona will always be remembered by fans of the Premier League. Be it for *that* kung-fu kick or *that* celebration, he’s never far away from the conversation when it comes to historic moments.
At United, he won four Premier League titles, an incredible achievement bearing in mind he only played in five seasons. Before United, he also made 13 Premier League appearances for Leeds in the inaugural season of the league.
Love him or hate him, Eric Cantona (right) will always be remembered by Premier League fans
3. Steven Gerrard
Now making waves north of the border with Rangers, Gerrard is a bonafide footballing legend. A one-club Premier League man, he never lifted the title but did make 504 appearances for his boyhood club.
In that time, he scored 186 goals and was part of an incredible era that saw him and Lampard battle it out to be named the best midfield player in the league.
And some of those goals just have to be seen to be believed…
Steven Gerrard only ever played for Liverpool in the Premier League and is a club legend
4. Paul Scholes
A once-in-a-generation talent for Manchester United, Scholes is another shoo-in for the Hall of Fame sooner or later. A real players’ player, he has been named as one of the greatest of all-time by the likes of Zinedine Zidane and Andrea Pirlo.
At United, he played 499 times (apologies to those of you that like round numbers), winning 11 (ELEVEN!) Premier League titles under the great Sir Alex Ferguson.
He’s already in the English Football Hall of Fame and various Premier League Teams of the Decade, and the Premier League Hall of Fame is surely next on the list. Just another medal in an already-crowded trophy room.
Paul Scholes was loved by Manchester United fans (and Gary Neville!) for an incredible career
5. Ryan Giggs
Perhaps Giggs’ nomination for the Premier League Hall of Fame will be held back for a while given his recent off-field misdemeanours, but looking solely at his playing career he is certainly in with a shot.
Winning many of his games alongside Paul Scholes, the Welshman has 632 Premier League appearances – second only to Gareth Barry in the all-time list – and has won an almost-unbelievable 13 Premier League titles.
He even briefly went on to manage at Old Trafford, and is widely regarded as the best to ever play for the club. Sir Alex Ferguson, in his autobiography, summed up Giggs the player as ‘floating over the ground like a cocker spaniel chasing a piece of silver paper in the wind.’
Ryan Giggs has the second-most appearances of any player in Premier League history
6. Andy Cole
Unlike most of the others above, Cole was far from a one-club man, pulling on the shirts of Newcastle, Manchester United, Blackburn, Fulham, Manchester City, Portsmouth and Sunderland in the Premier League across 15 years.
He is best remembered at Old Trafford, though, winning five league titles in eight seasons, contributing 93 goals along the way. He won the Golden Boot in 1994, too, netting 34 goals in 40 goals for Newcastle.
Andy Cole played for seven different clubs in the top flight, across a massive 15 years
7. Patrick Vieira
An Arsenal legend with a sprinkle of Manchester City thrown in for good measure, Vieira is hugely popular in north London – and perhaps even more so in the coming weeks given the news that he is among a group alongside Swedish billionaire Spotify owner Daniel Ek putting together a bid to buy the club.
As a player, he won three Premier League titles with the Gunners, and was part of the legendary Invincibles group that played under Arsene Wenger.
Now a manager, there are many Arsenal fans that think he could be set for a stint in the dugout in the coming years.
Patrick Vieira is already an Arsenal legend but that may soon increase if he helps buy the club
8. John Terry
‘Captain, leader, legend’ as he is described by Chelsea fans, Terry is another hugely decorated Premier League legend, having won five Premier League titles with the Blues in his long career between 1998 and 2017.
He fell just shy of 500 Premier League appearances but is one of the division’s all-time best defenders, and Chelsea fans will be voting in their thousands to get him his spot in the Hall of Fame.
John Terry is Chelsea’s ‘captain, leader, legend’, and has won five Premier League titles
9. Rio Ferdinand
What Terry is to Chelsea fans, Ferdinand is to Manchester United. Playing in the same era, he won six Premier League titles, making 312 appearances for the Red Devils.
On top of that, though, you can add 127 top flight games for West Ham, 44 for Leeds and then 11 at the end of his career for Queens Park Rangers.
That’s 504 in total, leaving him 11th on the list of all-time Premier League appearances, and yet another guaranteed entrant to the Hall of Fame some time soon.
Rio Ferdinand is a fan of Manchester United now, but was a legend on the pitch previously
10. Petr Cech
Spotted this week urging Chelsea’s fans to let the team bus into Stamford Bridge among the European Super League protests, Cech is held in extremely high regard in west London.
One of the best goalkeepers in the club’s – and Premier League – history, he has by far and away the most clean sheets of any stopper ever to grace the division.
His 202 is followed by David James’ 169, and the nearest current player is Joe Hart all the way back on 127. Of all the goalkeepers to enter the Hall of Fame, Cech will surely be the first.
Petr Cech is still involved with Chelsea off the pitch after 202 clean sheets for them on it
11. Peter Schmeichel
On the subject of great keepers, though, Schmeichel will surely be in with a shout. Labelled as the ‘bargain of the century’ after being lured from Brondby for just £500,000 in 1991, he quickly became United’s greatest ever shot-stopper across eight seasons.
Alongside some of the players mentioned above – the likes of Scholes and Giggs – he won five Premier League titles, before heading off to Sporting Lisbon in 1999.
He then came back to play another 58 Premier League games before hanging up his gloves though, featuring regularly for Aston Villa and then Manchester City in the latter years of his career.
Goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel was labelled the ‘bargain of the century’ by Sir Alex Ferguson
12. Ashley Cole
Perhaps the most complete full-back in Premier League history, Cole split his Premier League years between Arsenal and Chelsea, playing for seven seasons with the Gunners, before a trophy-laden eight at Stamford Bridge.
Another man with a stacked trophy cabinet at home, he has three Premier League winners’ medals (two with Arsenal, one with Chelsea) and has played 385 times in the best league in the world.
Add to that 15 goals and 31 assists, and you’ve got yourself one hell of a left back.
Ashley Cole (right) played seven seasons at Arsenal and then a further eight for Chelsea
13. Dennis Bergkamp
Perhaps the most elegant footballer on this list, Dutchman Bergkamp set the league alight when he arrived at Arsenal from Inter Milan in 1995.
In 2017, his incredible goal against Newcastle in 2002 was voted as the best of all-time in the Premier League, so a spot in the Hall of Fame only seems natural.
He played alongside inaugural inductee Thierry Henry for much of his time in north London, winning three Premier League titles and scoring 87, mostly brilliant, goals.
Dennis Bergkamp was always so elegant and scored one of the best ever Premier League goals
14. Michael Owen
Another player who featured for a number of clubs is Michael Owen, racking up 150 Premier League appearances across Liverpool, Newcastle, Manchester United and Stoke City.
Incredibly, he never managed 20 Premier League goals in a single campaign, but so regularly got himself between 15 and 19 that he is now the 10th all-time top goalscorer in the competition’s history.
He only won one league title – at Manchester United late on in his career – but is so fondly remembered as a young player at Liverpool, gliding past opponents and scoring for fun.
Michael Owen (left) played alongside inaugural inductee Alan Shearer at Newcastle
15. Didier Drogba
The 2009-10 season saw Drogba at the peak of his powers, netting 29 goals to win the Golden Boot and help Chelsea to the Premier League title.
It was to be the third of his four league titles in total, and he has 104 Premier League goals to his name, across two separate spells in west London.
He only hung up his boots in 2018 after a spell in America with second-division side Phoenix Rising, and will always hold legendary status in the hearts of Chelsea fans.
Didier Drogba fired Chelsea to the Premier League title in 2009-10, winning the Golden Boot
16. Gianfranco Zola
Another man with legendary status in the hearts of Chelsea fans is Gianfranco Zola, an icon in the early Premier League years and another player who comes under the ‘elegant’ banner much like Bergkamp above.
A scorer of great goals, he was already 30 by the time he arrived at Stamford Bridge, but he went on to net 59 times across seven seasons, excelling until the very end.
In fact, his final act in a Chelsea shirt saw him tormenting Jamie Carragher – 11 years his junior – in a game against Liverpool, before he bowed out to end his career back in his native Italy with Cagliari.
Gianfranco Zola was already 30 by the time he arrived at Chelsea but he was brilliant
17. Roy Keane
Although he may now be working his way into the punditry Hall of Fame, there is surely a place waiting for Manchester United legend Keane on the Premier League one too.
No nonsense on and off the pitch, the former midfielder has 366 appearances, 40 for Nottingham Forest and the rest under Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford.
He won seven Premier League titles in 13 seasons, leading the Red Devils through the most dominant era any team has ever enjoyed in the competition.
Roy Keane (L) was a vital part of the winning machine at United under the legendary Ferguson
18. Nemanja Vidic
Another candidate for the Premier League Hall of Fame is Nemanja Vidic, Ferdinand’s regular centre back playing partner at Old Trafford throughout United’s five most recent league triumphs.
He endured a difficult first six months after landing from Spartak Moscow, but was captain by 2010 and is still the only defender to be named Premier League Player of the Season twice.
Nemanja Vidic endured a difficult start for United but soon became the club’s captain
19. Sol Campbell
The centre back’s decision to cross north London from Tottenham to Arsenal is still one of the most controversial transfers in Premier League history, but on the pitch Campbell is absolutely one of the best the competition has ever seen.
As the main man at centre back in their Invincibles campaign, he conceded just 26 goals, and he has 503 appearances overall in the Premier League, including spells with Newcastle and Portsmouth.
He is surely odds-on to enter the Hall of Fame at some point soon, and there will be many Premier League fans giving him their vote.
Sol Campbell (R) crossed the divide from Spurs to Arsenal but was vindicated with trophies
20. Robbie Fowler
For his nickname alone, ‘God’ is in with a shout of making it into the Premier League Hall of Fame. Fowler played across 15 top-flight seasons, starting with Liverpool in 1993 and taking in Leeds, Manchester City and Blackburn before leaving in 2009.
He has 379 appearances, and for two decades held the record for the fastest ever hat-trick – just four minutes and 33 seconds against Arsenal in August 1994.
Robbie Fowler was legendary at Liverpool and then later went on to score goals at Man City
21. Gareth Barry
Although perhaps not the most obvious choice for the Hall of Fame, Barry has to be in with a shout purely for the amount of games he has played. His incredible 653 is the most of any player ever to have graced the Premier League.
Mr Reliable, Barry started out in 1997 and played all the way through until 2018, featuring over 30 times a season in nearly every campaign at Aston Villa, Manchester City, Everton and West Brom, before he dropped down to the Championship to finish his career.
Gareth Barry is the Premier League’s all-time appearance holder with an incredible 653
22. David Beckham
One of the most famous men on the planet, Beckham rose to fame at Manchester United, playing 265 times in the Premier League under Ferguson’s serial winners.
Before heading to Real Madrid as a Galactico, he won six Premier League titles and was a vital part of the midfield that so impressed through the latter 1990s and early 2000s.
As much for the publicity as anything else, Golden Balls is a dead cert to be put on the Hall of Fame list sooner or later.
David Beckham is one of the most famous men on the planet, and made his name at United
23. Ian Wright
When the Premier League was founded, Wright was already 29, but he became instrumental in Arsenal’s early years in the competition, scoring between 15 and 23 goals a season until 1997-98.
It was that season that he earned his one and only Premier League winners’ medal though, also becoming the Gunners’ all-time top goalscorer that same year.
A bonafide club, and Premier League, legend that is definitely in with a shot of the Hall of Fame.
Ian Wright was a consistent goalscorer through Arsenal’s early Premier League years