Last week saw the retirement of Steven Gerrard, one of the greatest players in Premiership history. Naturally, sports writers, pundits and fans have been singing his praises. For many associated with Liverpool, Gerrard is unquestionably the Premier League’s outstanding midfielder. But are they right? When discussing the greatest anything, there are parameters to be considered. These include raw statistics like goals, assists, appearances and more subjective parameters like consistency and influence. As such, there is bound to be a degree of subjectivity in coming to a conclusion.
When discussing the greatest midfielder in Premiership history, certain things need to be clarified. That means:
a) Central midfielders only. The likes of Giggs, Pires and Beckham had different job descriptions. They do not count.
b) Premier League only. That means they must have played between 1992/93 and now. It also means their best performances must have been in the Premiership. So the likes of Veron, Ballack and Schweinsteiger aren’t in contention.
One way to answer who the greatest central midfielder is is to think of who would make most people’s All Time Premier League XI’s. The likes of Michael Essien, Cesc Fabregas and Yaya Toure are worthy candidates. But they fall a little short of the five outstanding candidates: Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Patrick Vieira, Paul Scholes and Roy Keane. In part 2 of this article, I will examine each of these five legends and make a conclusion. For now, though, cast your vote on who you believe to be the Premiership’s greatest ever central midfielder: