The Premier League over the years has been the pinnacle of excellence, with the league producing footballers who have gone on to become cult heroes for their respective clubs. Forming a team with the best players from the Premier League era was indeed a tough task, but here is our all-time XI
Petr Cech (Chelsea, Arsenal)
The Premier League has witnessed its fair share of remarkable goalkeepers since its inception, with the likes of Peter Schmeichel, Edwin van der Saar and David Seamen gracing the league. But Petr Cech earns a place in the starting XI simply because of the influence he had on the Chelsea backline. Cech chalked up 443 appearances for both Chelsea and Arsenal, with the Czech international going on to keep an impressive 202 clean sheets. He is a four-time Golden Glove winner and also a four-time Premier League champion.
Right Back: Gary Neville (Manchester United)
When it comes to talking about great Premier League right-backs, one need not go far beyond Gary Neville, Branislav Ivanovic and Pablo Zabaleta. But Neville tips the other two purely because of his longevity and the impact he had on the Manchester United team. Neville featured in 400 games for the Red Devils, maintaining an impressive 148 clean sheets. The Englishman was an out-and-out defensive full-back, boasting a tackle success rate of 70%. He won the Premier League eight times with Manchester United, with his last triumph coming in the 2008-09 season.
Left Back: Ashley Cole (Chelsea, Arsenal)
Probably one of the best English left-back, Ashley Cole represented both Chelsea and Arsenal in the Premier League in his stellar career. He made a total of 385 appearances in the Premier League, winning it four times. Cole provided 31 assists and helped keep 148 clean sheets with his impressive displays leading him to be nominated in the PFA Team of the Year four times.
Rio Ferdinand (West Ham Leeds United, Manchester United, Queens Park Rangers) and John Terry (Chelsea)
Two of the best centre-backs England have produced, it is only fitting that Rio Ferdinand and John Terry fill up the defensive slots at the heart of the defence.
Ferdinand formed a formidable partnership with Nemanja Vidic which led to Manchester United becoming one of the best teams in Europe. He featured in 504 Premier League games, winning the title six times.
John Terry is a Chelsea legend, with the central defender winning the Premier League an impressive five times. The central defender kept 214 clean sheets in his 492 appearances in the league. Terry was a threat in both boxes as he netted 41 goals in the English top-flight
Terry for his leadership capabilities, leads this team.
Central Midfielders: Paul Scholes (Manchester United), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool) and Frank Lampard (West Ham, Chelsea, Manchester City)
When one talks about the greatest midfielders in the Premier League era, it is hard to look beyond these three names. The trio had a tremendous impact on their respective sides, often dictating the pace at which the game was played.
Paul Scholes featured for Manchester United throughout his career, with the Englishman featuring 499 times in the Premier League for the Red Devils, contributing to 107 goals and 55 assists. Scholes, who was known for his immaculate vision to find the runs of his teammates, came out of retirement in the 2012-13 season and helped Manchester United clinch the title in Sir Alex Ferguson’s last season in charge of the club.
Steven Gerrard was a complete midfielder and featured for Liverpool most of his career, barring a brief stint at MLS outfit LA Galaxy towards the end of his career. He started his career as an attacking midfielder but transitioned into a more central and defensive role later. The ex-England international featured in 504 Premier League games, scoring 120 goals and providing 92 assists. Gerrard was a stellar figure for Liverpool, often galvanising the team with his standout performances and leading them to script major comebacks.
Frank Lampard made 609 appearances for three clubs combined in the Premier League, winning the title thrice with Chelsea, in addition to being named the PFA Player of the Year for the 2004-05 season. He finished second behind Brazil legend Ronaldinho in the race for the Ballon D’or in 2005. A leader in the middle of the park for both club and country, Lampard was a master of the long balls.
Right Wing: Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)
Cristiano Ronaldo started his career at Sporting Lisbon before moving to England to play for Manchester United. He initially played down the right flank and was later deployed through the middle by Sir Alex Ferguson. Ronaldo was a part of the lethal trio comprising of Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez at Old Trafford.
The Portuguese appeared only 196 times in the Premier League but the impact he made during that time was nothing short of remarkable. Ronaldo scored 84 goals and provided 34 assists in the Premier League, winning the title thrice on the bounce between 2006 and 2009. The Juventus star also won the Golden Boot in the 2007-08 season after netting 31 goals. Ronaldo, in his short time in the Premier League, won the PFA Player of the Year twice, besides winning the Ballon D’or for the first time during his stint in England.
Left Wing: Wayne Rooney (Everton, Manchester United)
A Premier League XI would not be complete without a certain Wayne Rooney in the starting XI. From bursting onto the scene as a teenage sensation from Everton to becoming Manchester United’s all-time leading goalscorer, Rooney has achieved almost everything at club level. He played a total of 491 games in the Premier League, scoring 208 times and providing 103 assists. Rooney is a five-time Premier League champion and also won the PFA Player of the Year once. Rooney was a versatile player and could play anywhere across the front three or as a number 10 behind the striker, and he fittingly takes his spot in the front three.
Central Striker: Alan Shearer (Blackburn Rovers, Newcastle United)
The leading goalscorer in the history of the Premier League, Alan Shearer rightfully takes the final spot in the all-time Premier League XI. Shearer scored 260 goals 441 appearances in the league. He was an out-and-out goalscorer and a tireless worker for his team. His best season came in 1994-95, where he netted 34 goals in 42 games to lead Blackburn Rovers to the Premier League title. Shearer is also a two-time PFA Player of the Year winner and was a handful for any defence.
Sir Alex Ferguson (Manchester United)
The best manager in the history of the Premier League, Sir Alex Ferguson won the league title a staggering 13 times with Manchester United.
As several Premier League legends missed out on the starting XI, here seven players who feature as substitutes.
1. Edwin van der Saar (Fulham, Manchester United)
2. Tony Adams (Arsenal)
3. Patrick Viera (Arsenal, Manchester City)
4. Ryan Giggs (Manchester United)
5. Dennis Bergkamp (Arsenal)
6. Thierry Henry (Arsenal)
7. Vincent Kompany (Manchester City)