Wayne Rooney and the Top 10 Premier League Players of All-Time

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentSeptember 12, 2011

Wayne Rooney and the Top 10 Premier League Players of All-Time

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    So much can change in one year.

    Last year, in the midst of prostitute Jenny Thompson's tell all, Wayne Rooney was left out of Manchester United's squad against Everton; shielded from the unsavory, vicious and hate driven rhetoric the Goodison faithful had installed for their once prodigious son.

    Now, it seems he's once again taking up the mantle left by Cristiano Ronaldo in dominating the game seemingly with such ease. 

    Let's evaluate where Rooney could place in a ranking of the top 10 Premier League players of all-time.  

Wayne Rooney

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    "Remember the name: Wayne Rooney."

    What a great line from commentator Clive Tyldesley as then 16-year-old Everton prodigy Wayne Rooney scored a stunning goal leaving Arsenal goalkeeper David Seaman grasping at thin air. 

    Rooney's goal ended Arsenal's 30-game unbeaten streak and also heaped misery on Seaman as four months earlier, Ronaldinho's cheeky 42 yard lob dumped England out of the 2002 FIFA World Cup. 

    It was inevitable Rooney would move to bigger and better things and to think St James' Park could have been home instead of Old Trafford.

    Unlike Alan Shearer who chose Newcastle United, Rooney chose Manchester United as Everton were compensated with £25.6 million. 

    It also sparked a spiteful and hateful relationship between Everton and Rooney.

    110 goals later, there's no doubt Rooney will end up in the top 10 Premier League players of all-time. The question is where? 

    Barring unforeseeable circumstances, Rooney is set to become the best Premier League player of all-time.

    Though it's premature to put in him the list as he's still 25 years old.   

10. Matt Le Tissier

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    One of Xavi's boyhood idols was Southampton talisman Matt Le Tissier, whose boyhood idol was Tottenham Hotspur star Glenn Hoddle. 

    Yet when London came calling via Spurs, Le Tissier reaffirmed a virtue which is basically extinct in contemporary football—loyalty. 

    Many will recall that chip over Peter Schmeichel in a rare 6-3 thrashing of Manchester United, others will remember his part in making Massimo Taibi and Ali Dia cult names.

    Yet what makes him great was season in, season out, Le Tissier kept Southampton in the Premier League, all whilst playing a brand of lazy but at times extraordinary football.

    Nowadays the Saints play in League One as their academy players like Theo Walcott, Gareth Bale and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have no afterthought in showing the same loyalty Le Tissier reinforced for 17 years.   

9. Paul Scholes

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    Paul Scholes could have done a Giovanni Trapattoni this season.

    Trapattoni spent his entire career at A.C. Milan before deciding to spend a solitary season at Varese.

    Scholes had talked about potentially playing one season with boyhood club Oldham Athletic. 

    Yet at the end of the day it wasn't his body that let him down, rather his mind. 

    Perhaps the wear and tear of scoring long range goals, controlling the midfield in such an artful manner and the at times criminal tackling just was too much.

    There's always two what ifs with Scholes; what if he was more composed with his tackling and what if decided not to abstain from the England international team which cost him two FIFA World Cup tournaments.  

8. Gianfranco Zola

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    Try to envision this. 

    It's 1996. Rookie manager Carlo Ancelotti has decided Parma's star midfielder Gianfranco Zola's place in the team is on the bench.

    Zola was so unhappy that he was ready to quit football.

    "During the last few months I hated it, I didn't want to play football any more."

    Chelsea came calling and Zola boarded the first flight to London.   

    Ancelotti later recanted how it was perhaps one of his biggest regrets in forcing Zola out of Italy but put a positive spin on it: it's the reason why he entertained so many at Chelsea.

    Just a disclosure, because of Zola, I support Chelsea.

    You could tell his Napoli days with Diego Maradona had rubbed off on him because Zola wasn't the fastest nor the strongest but he was one of the smartest and his technique was outstanding.

    The number 25 shirt isn't officially retired, but to my understanding no-one has worn it since Zola. It should be officially retired to recognise the little Italian's efforts in an era pre-Roman Abramovich.      

7. Andy Cole

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    Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke. What a partnership.

    The duo at times had a telepathic understanding and complimented each other so well. 

    Yet not many people seem to discuss Cole's partnership with Teddy Sheringham.

    Did you know they loathed each other?

    Cole could never quite get over what Sheringham did to him on his England debut; not shake his hand. 

    Yet they still scored 84 goals together.

    Cole ended up with 187 Premiers League goals; second only to Alan Shearer.     

6. Peter Schmeichel

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    I wonder what type of bonus the Manchester United Danish based scout received when he recommended Manchester United to sign Peter Schmeichel.


    Five time Premier League champion, PFA Team of the Century and save of the decade have solidified his legacy. 

    Of retired Premier League goalkeepers, there is no doubt Schmeichel reigns supreme, with only David Seaman and Tim Flowers in contention. 

5. Eric Cantona

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    The best example to describe a pre-Manchester United Eric Cantona is Antonio Cassano. 

    Like Cassano, at times Cantona's mental thought process went awry which was on hand against Crystal Palace where he not only kicked Palace defender Richard Shaw but then launched his infamous kung-fu kick at Palace fan Matthew Simmons. 

    In 1991, then French manager Michel Platini attempted to engineer a move for Cantona to Liverpool only for then manager Graeme Souness to turn down the move down. 

    Sir Alex Ferguson took a calculated risk in signing Cantona for £1.2 million and as they say, the rest is history. 

    If not for his hot hotheadedness, Cantona would have achieved so much more not only before Manchester United but importantly for the French national team.     

4. Dennis Bergkamp

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    Hated by the Italian media, Dennis Bergkamp never quite settled at Inter Milan, and was shipped to Arsenal. 

    What a perfect Arsène Wenger player.

    Disciplined, high football IQ, incredible technician and could changes just games with a moment of magic. 

    He did this all whilst travelling to away games via transport that wasn't airplane related.

    Tough aerophobia cost him so many away games where he it wasn't logistical to travel in a mode only available through the airplane.  

3. Alan Shearer

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    Alan Shearer turned down Manchester United twice and in doing so missed out on nine Premiership titles.

    Yet he traded the titles away to play for clubs where he was always the main man, where he was almost treated like a deity and combined with the deadliest finishing the Premier League has ever seen; Shearer became the all-time Premier League top scorer with 260 goals. 

2. Thierry Henry

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    Nowadays Thierry Henry lives in New York wowing the MLS. 

    Though a decade earlier, when Henry was in his pomp, he dominated the league with such class, such flamboyance and so many memories left for Arsenal supporters.

    It's hard to imagine this was the same misfit of a player who the Italians thought was all hype, no substance and had arrived in London devoid of confidence.

    Yet it was Henry's one time Monaco manager Arsène Wenger who transformed him from a winger to one of the greatest forwards to ever grace the game.

    You look at some of Wenger's greatest ever players: Dennis Bergkamp, Patrick Vieira and Henry. What do they all have in common?

    They all misfired at their respective Italians club yet Wenger still took a risk in signing them.      

1. Ryan Giggs

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    If not for an overeager Salford newsagent and Old Trafford steward called Harold Wood who was so convinced of Ryan Giggs' quality that he kept insisting Sir Alex Ferguson to take a look at the Manchester City 13-year-old—Giggs would never have had the same legacy. 

    Since 2000, Giggs has the most assists in the Premier League with 100, imagine how many assists he would have accumulated if the Premier League began recording assists since the inception of the league?

    He was a tearaway winger who reformed himself into a crafty centre midfielder in order to elongate his impressive career.

    It's not like he's holding on for dear life, when he comes off the bench or has the odd start, he still oozes of class.

    Then there's the professionalism (he did slip up with Imogen Thomas but she's so fit, so I'll give him a pass), the dedication, the loyalty and the ability over such a long span of time that makes Giggs the obvious choice of the best ever Premier League player. 

    Watch the video. It's inspirational.   

Your Opinion

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    Will Wayne Rooney become the greatest Premier League player ever?

    Who is your top 10 Premier League players of all-time.

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