Premier League "Team of the Noughties"
With the last Premiership football of the noughties now in the bag, I’ve decided to put together what I consider to be the Premiership team of the decade.
It’s been a decade of fantastic players playing fantastic football and no doubt people will have different opinions but these are the players who I feel were the best players of the era.
Honourable mentions go to Brad Friedel, Jussi Jaskelainen, Jamie Carragher, Roy Keane, Paul Scholes, Patrick Vieira, Robert Pires, Denis Bergkamp, Alan Shearer, and Didier Drogba.
Goalkeeper: Shay Given
One of the easiest picks despite not playing for any of the supposed “Big Four.”
Given’s consistency and excellence between the sticks alongside his impressive loyalty to an underachieving Newcastle Utd deserve to be recognised.
Whilst not the biggest in stature for a goalkeeper, Given’s command of the area, his influence on his teammates and his amazing anticipation and agility have produced some of the highlight saves of the decade and after 12 tumultuous years of service to Newcastle in which he played under nine different managers, he has carried on his amazing form at Manchester City proving to be Mark Hughes’ best signing during his time at the Eastlands helm.
Right Back: Gary Neville
Although he’s never been one of the premiership’s most popular players, the simple fact that he has spent his whole career at the country’s biggest club as their first choice right back should be enough to spell out his quality.
Not the greatest technically, he made up for it with his passion and self belief with those same qualities often getting up the noses of his fellow professionals as well as fans.
His impeccable defending backed up by his underrated bursts down the right flank were a regular sight throughout the decade before injuries began slowing him down.
In my view he is unquestionably one of the best right backs England has ever produced.
Centre Back & Captain: John Terry
While the Chelsea and England captain may not be quite the force of old, his consistent quality and reliability over the years despite some niggling injuries mean he is still rightfully regarded as one of the best in the business.
Having emerged as a first team regular and England international under Claudio Ranieri, it was under Jose Mourinho that he truly emerged as a world class defender.
His dominance in the air and ferociousness in the tackle coupled with sublime organisational skills and great leadership qualities mark him out as a defender that would benefit any side.
Centre Back: Rio Ferdinand
Still the world’s most expensive defender after joining Man United from Leeds United in 2001, he has more than payed back his £30M fee with year after year of commanding performances.
The frequent lapses of concentration that characterised the early promise of his career are a thing of the past now with the classy and composed defender well on the way to becoming a Man United legend.
Left Back: Ashley Cole
While he’s another player who wouldn’t make the Christmas card list of many opposition fans, surely no sane individual can doubt his quality and consistency over the last decade for both Chelsea and Arsenal, as well as England.
While always a real handful going forward with pace to burn, he’s put the work in on the defensive side of his game to become one of the world’s top full-backs.
Never seems to come up against an opponent who fazes him and would walk into any side in the world club or country in my opinion.
Right Midfield: Cristiano Ronaldo
No Premiership team of the decade would be complete without this man.
Jaw-droppingly brilliant and controversial in equal measure, the premiership is a less colourful place without him.
Magnificent technique and dribbling skills, lightning pace and amazing finishing enabled him to torment premiership defences all over the country for six years before his world record move to Real Madrid.
Probably the most talented player to ever play in the Premiership.
Central Midfield: Frank Lampard
Chelsea’s Mr. Consistency, he has emerged as one of the best midfielders of his generation and surely one of the greatest Chelsea players of all time.
His desire and heart alongside an incredible work ethic make him invaluable for both club and country and his passing skills and eye for goal make him capable of both scoring and assisting in equal measure.
Central Midfield: Steven Gerrard
He may very well be the last of a dying breed in being a one-club man and it would therefore be a travesty if he was to finish his career without a premiership title with his beloved Liverpool.
Simply put he’s the most complete midfielder in world football today—equally capable of breaking up an opposition attack with a bone shuddering tackle as he is lighting up a game with a memorable goal or a wonderful assist.
At times he has carried the whole Liverpool team on his back and he is undoubtedly already a Liverpool legend—premiership title or not.
Left Midfield: Ryan Giggs
Can only be one man to fill the left-sided role—the man who has played in every single premiership season since its formation, terrorising poor defences ever since.
At 36 years old, he is still as influential and dominant as ever for the reigning premiership champions and while it’s a disappointment that one of Britain’s greatest ever players never played in a World Cup or European Championships for his country, he has a stack of honours won with Man United as consolation.
His contribution to not only Man United football club but to the premiership as a whole will be remembered long after his playing days are over.
Centre Forward: Ruud Van Nistelrooy
Five years in England with Manchester United produced an astonishing 150 goals in 220 appearances including 38 in the UEFA Champions League making him United’s all time top European goal-scorer.
Although his time in England finished on a somewhat sour note, he was a goal machine of the highest order who was second to none at putting the ball in the net.
Centre Forward: Thierry Henry
My personal unbiased choice as the premiership’s greatest ever player, Arsenal’s all-time record goalscorer’s contribution to English football should never be forgotten.
A true phenomenon who was capable of doing it all whether it be assisting or scoring goals. Pace, power, wonderful finishing, exceptional skill—just a true genius who at his peak would have walked into any team in the world and who could still get into most teams now.