Mon. May 20th, 2024

What is the likelihood of current EPL players being inducted into the Hall of Fame?

By Sanchez Mar 27, 2024
What is the likelihood of current EPL players being inducted into the Hall of Fame?What is the likelihood of current EPL players being inducted into the Hall of Fame?

TOPSGS runs through the star names that are already certain to be inducted and those that still have work to do before they retire

 

Ashley Cole has just become the 20th player to be inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame. The former Arsenal and Chelsea left-back joins legends such as Alan Shearer, Thierry Henry and Didier Drogba in receiving “the highest honour awarded to individuals” by the league.

Obviously, a player has to be retired to be eligible, but the latest batch of nominations got us at TOPSGS thinking, which current players will walk into the Hall of Fame as soon as they hang up their boots? Here, we’ve only considered players presently playing in the Premier League – so Harry Kane doesn’t feature even though the Bayern Munich striker is certain to make the cut – but there are plenty of other contenders.

So, who’s guaranteed to get the nod, who is nearly there, who still has a bit of work to do, and who has no chance?! TOPSGS runs though the leading candidates below and, remember, it’s not all about winners’ medals…

 

Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)

Liverpool’s homegrown hero is blessed with such a wonderful range of passing that Gary Neville famously stated that it’s “like having Kevin De Bruyne or David Beckham at right-back”. Hardly surprising, then, that no defender in Premier League history has racked up more assists than Alexander-Arnold – even though he’s still only 25.

The England international has also won every major trophy at club level, but he remains a polarising player, with some believing that he’d be better deployed in midfield given ongoing concerns over his defensive capabilities. Indeed, it very much remains to be seen where Alexander-Arnold ends up playing for what should be the best years of his career.

Verdict: Needs more time

 

Alisson Becker (Liverpool)

One of the most important signings in Liverpool’s history, the brilliant ball-playing Brazilian with the sensational shot-stopping skills helped the Reds end their 30-year wait for an English title, is a two-time Premier League Golden Glove winner (his haul of 21 clean sheets in 2018-19 is second only to Petr Cech’s 24 in 2004-05) and was named in the PFA Team of the Year in 2021-22.

His Liverpool legacy is already secured – his crucial winner against West Brom in 2021 made him the first goalkeeper ever to score for the club – but Alisson probably needs another winners’ medal triumph to remove all doubts over his legendary status, and he might just get one at the end of the current campaign…

Verdict: Almost there

 

Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)

The Belgian magician may have disappointed during his first spell in the Premier League, but his second stint has been spectacular. Indeed, despite injury issues, the Chelsea flop has been one of the driving forces behind Manchester City’s era of unprecedented domination.

De Bruyne is a five-time title winner who occupies third spot in the Premier League’s all-time assists rankings, with 107, as there is no pass he can’t play, while he’s also got 65 goals to his name. Quite simply, one of the finest attacking talents the English top flight has ever seen.

Verdict: Hall of Fame guaranteed

 

Ruben Dias (Manchester City)

Plenty of players take time to find their feet at Manchester City, given the complexity of Pep Guardiola’s system, but Dias made an immediate impact at the Etihad Stadium after joining from Benfica in the summer of 2020, walking away with the Premier League Player of the Season award at the end of his first year in England.

The Portuguese has now won three consecutive titles and twice been named in the PFA Team of the Year, but it’s worth noting that his position in the heart of the City defence is not quite as secure as it once was. As a result, there’s an outside chance he could end up being remembered a bit like compatriot Ricardo Carvalho, as a great Premier League player, but not a hall-of-famer.

Verdict: Almost there

 

Ederson (Manchester City)

Just like his fellow Brazilian Alisson, Manchester City’s undisputed No.1 has been integral to his club’s Premier League success as much for his ability with the ball at his feet as his sensational saves.

Ederson has won five Premier League titles and claimed the Golden Glove award on three occasions – only Cech and Joe Hart have managed more (four apiece). Of course, some would argue that the 30-year-old often has very little to do, and is worryingly prone to conceding the first shot on target he faces in games, but he repeatedly came up big when called upon during City’s treble-winning campaign.

Verdict: Almost there

 

Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)

Manchester United have had more downs than ups over the past few years, so one dreads to think how bad things would have got at Old Trafford had they not signed Fernandes from Sporting CP in January 2020.

The Portuguese playmaker hit the ground running in England and scored 28 times during a 2020-21 campaign that ended with him being named in the PFA Team of the Year. However, he’s not made one since, has never got close to winning a Premier League title, his returns are diminishing in recent months and his captaincy credentials are regularly questioned.

Verdict: Don’t make me laugh!

 

Phil Foden (Manchester City)

The pride of Manchester City’s academy, Foden is an extraordinarily gifted footballer who was effectively made to play for Pep Guardiola, who has even compared the attacking midfielder to a young Lionel Messi.

Foden is still only 23 but already has five Premier League winners’ medals and was twice named Young Player of the Season. He hasn’t always been a certain starter, of course, but if he maintains his current form and becomes one of City’s real leaders, the Hall of Fame beckons.

Verdict: Needs more time

 

Erling Haaland (Manchester City)

There were some English pundits that thought the Norwegian No.9 might find it more difficult to score goals in the Premier League – but Haaland quickly set about making a mockery of that claim, scoring three hat-tricks in his first eight appearances. The previous record for a treble of trebles was 48 games!

Haaland ended up breaking the single-season record for goals scored by netting 36 times in 2022-23, and he now has 54 in 58 games. If he keeps this up, he’ll break every goalscoring record in the book. The only question mark is over whether he will get bored at City and join Real Madrid sooner rather than later.

Verdict: Needs more time

 

Son Heung-min (Tottenham)

The South Korean has never got his hands on the Premier League trophy – or any major trophy for that matter. He’s also only made the Team of the Year on one occasion, in 2020-21. However, when it comes to appraising Son’s Hall of Fame prospects, context is key.

Son has spent his entire, nine-year Premier League career at Tottenham – and only sporadically as a centre-forward – and still managed to score 117 goals. He even claimed a share of the Golden Boot with Mohamed Salah in 2021-22 – which is a hugely impressive achievement at a success-starved club. Son may not get into the Hall of Fame at the first time of asking – or at all – but it’s an honour he definitely deserves for providing such stellar service to Spurs.

Verdict: Almost there

 

James Milner (Brighton)

James Milner is often the first to admit that he’s not the most exciting player the Premier League has ever seen – but he is unquestionably one of the best. The stats speak for themselves (which is just as well given we’re dealing with such a humble, media-averse character): Only Gareth Barry (653) has made more Premier League appearances than Milner (634); while the versatile midfielder, who has proven over a 22-year career that he can pretty much play anywhere, sits ninth in the assists rankings, with 89 – that’s more than David Beckham for frame of reference.

Milner, who was named Young Player of the Year all the way back in 2010, has also won three titles (two with Manchester City and one with Liverpool).

Verdict: Hall of Fame guaranteed

 

Martin Odegaard (Arsenal)

Odegaard is an incredibly gifted footballer – we’ve known that since he was a teenager. However, it’s only since he arrived at Arsenal from Real Madrid that he’s looked like realising his enormous potential.

In just over three years, Odegaard has established himself as a real fan favourite at the Emirates because of his mix of creativity and industry, which made him a popular choice as captain ahead of the 2022-23 campaign. He’s still got an awful lot of work to do to prove himself one of the best midfielders ever to represent the Gunners, but leading the club to a first title in 20 years would be some statement.

Verdict: Needs more time

Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)

The emergence of Rashford was one of the few bright lights in an otherwise dark period in Manchester United’s history. Here was a local lad that not only inspired with his performances on the field, but his charity work off it.

Rashford also looked to have elevated his game to a whole other level during a 2022-23 campaign that saw him score a career-high 30 goals in all competitions for United, and impress with England at the World Cup in Qatar. However, doubts over Rashford’s character and consistency have blighted his current campaign and there is even talk of him leaving United this summer.

Verdict: Needs more time

 

Declan Rice (Arsenal)

After being released by Chelsea at the age of 14, Rice was signed by Arsenal in the summer of 2023 for a whopping £100 million ($126m) after making history at West Ham by leading the club to victory in the Conference League – their first major European trophy since 1965.

The England international has since had a transformative effect on Mikel Arteta’s midfield and is one of the main reasons why many believe the Gunners might win the Premier League this season. Rice certainly needs a first title to boost his Hall of Fame hopes, because while the potential is obviously there for him to be one day mentioned in the same breath as Roy Keane, Patrick Vieira and Steven Gerrard, the 25-year-old has never even previously featured in a Team of the Year – let alone won an individual accolade.

Verdict: Needs more time

 

Andy Robertson (Liverpool)

Few predicted that Liverpool’s £8m ($10m) signing from Hull City in July 2017 would go on to become one of the best left-backs in the world, with Robertson forming an devastating dynamic with Alexander-Arnold that saw the pair play a pivotal role in the Reds winning every major trophy with their pin-point deliveries and marauding runs into opposition territory.

Indeed, it feels so fitting that Robertson, who has twice made the PFA Team of the Year (2018-19 and 2019-20) has just as many Premier League assists as his club-mate, with 58 apiece. The 30-year-old really isn’t too far off challenging Ashley Cole and Denis Irwin for the title of the best left-back in Premier League history.

Verdict: Almost there

 

Rodri (Manchester City)

People can talk all they want about Manchester City’s wonderful array of attacking talent, but Rodri is Pep Guardiola’s most important player. The treble-winners only ever seem to lose when the Spaniard is either injured or suspended, which pretty much says it all.

Rodri has won three consecutive titles with City and, while doing so, established himself as the best defensive midfielder in the world by some distance. Remarkably, he’s still only 27, so he’s only likely to add to his legacy.

Verdict: Hall of Fame guaranteed

 

Bukayo Saka (Arsenal)

A beloved academy product that has been at Arsenal since the age of seven, Saka has just gone from strength to strength since breaking into the first team in November 2018, with his goals tally improving with each passing season. Saka played a pivotal part in last season’s surprise Premier League title challenge and his thrilling performances on the right wing resulted in him being named the PFA’s Young Player of the Year.

Rio Ferdinand recently claimed that Saka is not yet world-class – and that’s debatable – but what’s clear is that the 22-year-old has the talent and temperament to prove the former England defender wrong. Inspiring Arsenal to a first league title in two decades would represent an excellent start!

Verdict: Needs more time

 

Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)

Just like De Bruyne, Salah made no impact at Chelsea under Jose Mourinho. And just like De Bruyne, Salah returned to England with a vengeance, laying waste to Premier League defences with Liverpool. The Egyptian scored 32 times during his first season at Anfield – breaking the Premier League’s 38-game single-season record at the time – and now has an incredible 152 goals to his name, which is just ridiculous when one considers Salah plays on the right flank.

So, while there is a chance that the 31-year-old could leave Liverpool this summer, he’s already a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame. Indeed, the question at this stage is not whether Salah is one of the best players in Premier League history – but the best.

Verdict: Hall of Fame guaranteed

 

William Saliba (Arsenal)

Sadly, we’ll never know what might have happened had the Frenchman not missed the conclusion of Arsenal’s 2022-23 campaign. But we can say for sure that Saliba’s injury devastated Mikel Areta’s defence, which seriously undermined the Gunners’ title bid.

Happily, Saliba quickly got back to his best after returning to full fitness and is now supporting another championship challenge, with the centre-back once again earning rave views for his incredibly composed brand of defending. Still, Hall of Fame talk seems very premature, given Saliba has only played 55 Premier League games at the time of writing.

Verdict: Needs more time

 

Bernardo Silva (Manchester City)

A winner of five Premier League titles and yet it sometimes feels as if Bernardo Silva does not get the credit that his wizardry deserves. The Portuguese is just a manager’s dream: a technically perfect player that works his socks off for his team-mates.

Because he doesn’t post ridiculous numbers in terms of assists and goals, his creative and defensive work often goes unrecognised, but one can be sure that when he becomes eligible for the Hall of Fame, he’ll be immediately inducted.

Verdict: Hall of Fame guaranteed

 

Raheem Sterling (Chelsea)

There is no getting away from the fact that Sterling has struggled since joining Chelsea from Manchester City. One could also easily argue that his influence at the Etihad was on the wane long before he was allowed to move to Stamford Bridge.

However, Sterling will at least be a Hall of Fame contender, given he is a four-time Premier League-winning winger who hit double figures in five of his seven seasons at City. If he could somehow finish his career with a flourish at Chelsea – or even somewhere else – his inclusion wouldn’t even be up for debate.

Verdict: Almost there

 

John Stones (Manchester City)

The embodiment of the concept of a ball-playing centre-back, Stones is so good in possession that he’s now regularly found in midfield, helping Rodri both keep the ball and protect Manchester City’s back four.

Stone has obviously been seriously hindered by injuries over the years – he’s never played more than 27 Premier League games across a solitary campaign – but, at the end of the day, he’s won five titles and has been twice included in the PFA Team of the Year. At 29, he’s just putting the finishing touches on a Hall of Fame career.

Verdict: Almost there

 

Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)

Liverpool were desperate to sign a dominant centre-back in the summer of 2017, but Southampton refused to sell them Van Dijk. The Reds refused to give up, though, and finally got their man in January 2018. The fee (£75m/$95m) was deemed extortionate by some, but it has proved a bargain. Van Dijk was named Player of the Season in 2018-19 and also made the Team of the Year on two other occasions, including 2019-20, when Liverpool ended their agonising title drought.

The Dutchman has since been named club captain and might just end up lifting the title in May, which would only cement his status as one of the best defenders of the Premier League era after getting back to something close to his best form after a tough 2022-23 campaign. Indeed, the comparisons with John Terry, Rio Ferdinand and Tony Adams began long ago.

Verdict: Hall of Fame guaranteed

 

Kyle Walker (Manchester City)

Walker has regularly courted controversy during his time at Manchester City, and there were times when he appeared to have fallen out of favour with Pep Guardiola. However, he’s now the club’s vice-captain and was handed a new contract last summer, which is testament to the 33-year-old’s importance.

Walker, who has won five Premier Leagues, is not only a wonderfully versatile defender, he’s also still one of the quickest you’ll come across. There are those that consider him the best right-back in Premier League history.

Verdict: Hall of Fame guaranteed

By Sanchez

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