The Long and Short of the 2011 EPL: The 5 Tallest and 5 Shortest Players
Soccer is not a sport like basketball, in which players face a severe disadvantage if they stand under 6 foot 3 inches or thereabouts.
Neither is it a sport like hockey, in which players who stand over a certain height are at a very distinct disadvantage. A seven-foot tall NHL player looks like a giant swatting at a swarm of gnats; sheer physical comedy.
Being short has its advantages in soccer, as does being extremely tall. Here you will find the five tallest and five shortest players in the EPL in 2011, alongside all of their shortcomings and strengths, as well as tall tales of run-ins with the law.
Zonking Zigic of relegation battle stalwarts Birmingham is a mountain of a man. Standing 202 cm, or about 6 feet 7½ inches, this Serbian center-forward is so large that Sky Sports once wrote that he “injected a note of panic hitherto undetected” into opposition defenses.
Zigic was known to score regularly in Serbia and La Liga before making the move to the EPL. He has found the back of the net six times in all competitions for Birmingham this season. All told, he has scored 113 times in 226 career performance, at a rate of one goal for every two games.
Colossal Crouch of Tottenham Hotspur measures in at a whopping 198 cm, or 6 foot 6. This lanky forward is the same height as basketball legend Michael Jordan.
His long limbs and lordly leaping give Crouch a distinct advantage over defenders. Petey’s skeletal frame has earned him a number of nicknames, including coat hanger.
It is rumored that Crouch is something of a fiend in the bedroom and on the dance floor. Though he looks somewhat like an exaggerated awkward schoolboy from a comic strip, the England international has had marked success with the ladies.
Crouch is also a master of the dance move known as The Robot, which has earned him the moniker RoboCrouch. Your move, creep.
Who’zat you’re talking about? Zat? Zat what? Zat one over there? Zat Knight? The 198 cm, 6 foot 6 inch Bolton center back?
Zat Knight ties Peter Crouch for the mantle of second-tallest man in the EPL in 2011. The 30-year-old Englishman has played professional football for over a decade, including an eight-season, 150-match streak at Fulham. He has since played for Villa and current club Bolton.
Knight has also played at the international level for England. The center-back appeared on the U-21 squad in his youth and and in two matches for England in 2005, one against the United States and one against Columbia.
He is the cousin of former Chelsea player Leon Knight.
Edwin Van Der Sar
Manchster United’s placid, unflappable 40-year-old keeper has more going for him that his immaculately quaffed hair, which often makes him look more suited for a shampoo commercial than the Old Trafford pitch.
Van der Sar, who will be retiring at the end of the season, measures a Brobdingagian 197 cm, or 6 feet 5½ inches. He has played for Ajax, Juventus, Fulham and the Red Devils throughout his career, and has 130 caps for the Dutch national team. Van der Sar even managed to score a goal during his tenure with Ajax.
Paramount Pascal’s height is something of a mystery. He has been listed as both 198 and 197 centimeters in the past. The official statistics of the EPL in 2011 list him at 197 cm, on even keel with Van der Sar.
Rumor has it that the Fulham keeper preferred not being listed directly next to crouch, at 198 cm, as his lackluster dance moves shame him in the face of RoboCrouch.
Well played, Pascal. Well played.
Tottenham’s little Lennon is lighting. He is purported to be faster than any player in the EPL in 2011, including Arsenal’s fleet-footed youngster Theo Walcott.
This 165 cm, or 5 foot 5 inch, winger has played for Spurs since 2005 and has 19 caps for England.
Lennon’s diminutive stature works to his advantage regarding football and comic relief. Being small allows Lennon to control the ball more easily while zipping by defenders.
He also looks quite funny standing alongside Tottenham teammate RoboCrouch and current girlfriend Montana Manning, a model and singer who is at least as tall as Lennon.
Wee Wright-Phillips plays the right wing for Man City and measures a slight 166 cm, or 5 feet 5½ inches. He’s a full foot shorter than Van der Sar, but uses his size to his advantage.
This compact south Londoner is the adopted son of footballer Ian Wright and the half brother of Charlton Athletic striker Bradley Wright-Philips. Shaun has 36 caps and six goals for England since first being called up in 2004.
Currently out of favor with Mancini at Man City, Wright-Philips has been connected to countless clubs through the rumor mill. Most recently, it was posited that would make a move to Bolton during the January 2011 window, a move that never came to fruition.
Liverpool’s pequeño Pacheco is one of the four EPL players in 2011 that stands 168cm, or 5 feet 6 inches. The 20-year-old Spaniard went through the youth systems at both Barcelona and Liverpool and shows plenty of promise as a striker and attacking midfielder.
Under the tutelage of Gerrard and Mereiles, this vertically challenged young man may grow, at least figuratively, into an important figure in the Dalglish renaissance alongside Carroll and Suárez.
Pacheco scored five goals in 12 appearances with Spain’s U19 squad during its 2009-10 campaign.
Red Devils stalwart Paul Scholes has made the most of his size, all 168 cm of it. The 36-year-old has been an integral cog in Alex Ferguson’s machine for seventeen seasons, during which time he has scored 150 goals in 660 games in all competitions.
Scholes racked up 66 caps for England between 1997 and 2004, during which time he scored 14 goals. All of this despite the fact that he suffers from Osgood-Schlatter disease, an affliction of the knees, and asthma.
The Red Devils’ shy wee fellow described an average day to Euro TV in 2004: "Train in the morning, pick up my children from school, play with them, have tea, put them to bed and then watch a bit of TV."
Tiny Tevez, another of the EPL’s 168 cm men, casts a shadow on the world of international football far larger than his stature would logically permit. This Tasmanian devil of an Argentine striker has 18 goal and five assists thus far in the 2010-11 EPL season.
Mighty Mr. Carlosito has a fascinating personal life to fit alongside his phenomenal skills as a footballer. He is the singer of the cumbia (a form of Latin American music) band Pioal Vago, which has found limited chart success in Argentina.
In September 2010, Tevez’s half brother and brother-in-law were arrested for a botched armed robbery in Argentina. Tevez himself had a run-in with the law in Manchester in 2009, when he was pulled over for having illegally tinted windows. Danger is his middle name.