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Football has changed beyond measure since the formation of the Premier League in 1992.

Widely regarded as the best league in the world, many great players have graced these shores since; so choosing an all-time XI was going to be a challenge…

I very much doubt anyone could question the quality of the players I have selected; though you may disagree with their inclusion when you consider who I’ve left out.

Football is all about opinions, so here is mine:

GK: Peter Schmeichel

Former Manchester United and Denmark Goalkeeper - Peter SchmeichelAn absolute beast of a man, this Great Dane would scare the living daylights out of many a striker.

He had ultimate command of his box and could pull off a world-class save when required. He organised his defence well and his distribution was phenomenal. He even scored a few too!

RB: Gary Neville

Former Manchester United and England Right Back - Gary NevilleArguably the least talented player in this team, Neville was nevertheless the easiest choice. The consummate professional, ‘Red Nev’ read the game superbly well and would literally die for the club.

He also chipped in with a few assists, combining effectively with first Beckham and then Ronaldo.

LB: Ashley Cole

Chelsea and England Left Back - Ashley ColeAlthough not exactly Mr. Popular, Cole has been without doubt the finest left-back of his generation. Solid, pacy and always in the right place at the right time, Cole has had many a winger in his back pocket over the years.

Eventually, Leighton Baines is likely to claim this left-back spot, but Cole gets the nod due to his longevity and medal collection.

CB: Marcel Desailly

Former Chelsea and France Centre Back Marcel DesaillyCultured yet solid, Desailly was part of a formidable Chelsea defence that gave little away.

The Ghanaian-born French international arrived with a huge reputation and didn’t disappoint.

Although he has a World Cup and European Championship medal to his name, he perhaps surprisingly claimed only 1 FA Cup medal whilst at Chelsea.

CB: Sol Campbell

Former Arsenal, Spurs and England Central Defender - Sol CampbellBest remembered for his controversial switch from Spurs to Arsenal, it’s easy to forget that Campbell played over 500 games in the English top-flight. A colossus at the back, he took no prisoners yet was equally comfortable with the ball at his feet.

Scoring key goals for club and country, he was a key part of Arsenal’s famous ‘Invincibles’ team and was arguably released too soon.

RW: Cristiano Ronaldo

Real Madrid and Portugal Star Right Winger - Cristiano Ronaldo While at Manchester UnitedWas at first criticised for diving and being a show-off, the flying Portuguese winger quickly developed into the world-class superstar he is today. On his day, he was absolutely unstoppable (and still is!).

Fast, athletic and skilful, Ronaldo and Rooney combined with devastating effect. Although his best goal scoring form has been since his world-record £80m move to Real Madrid; he still hit nearly 1 in 2 whilst at Man Utd.

LW: Ryan Giggs

Manchester United and Wales Left Wing Wizard - Ryan GiggsThe only player to have played (and scored in) every Premier League season since it began, Ryan Giggs is a living legend. Still going strong despite approaching 40, he continues to put in faultless performances week after week.

Once blessed with blistering pace, the Welsh Wizard has adapted his game as he’s got older; creating countless chances for team-mates with his amazing vision and ability to thread a pass.

Giggs should also be commended for his loyalty; at one time he was perhaps the most sought-after player in world football. He could have earned far more with a move to Barcelona or Real Madrid, yet decided to stay at Man Utd – overtaking the likes of Bobby Charlton to break their all-time appearance record.

CM: Patrick Vieira

Former Arsenal and France Tough Tackling Midfielder - Patrick VieiraPowerful, athletic and tough tackling, Vieira was the driving force behind Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ and the French World Cup winners of 1998.

Possessing the determination and never-say-die attitude that Arsenal have severely lacked since, he dominated midfield battles and inspired his team-mates to give 110%.

Narrowly gets in ahead of Roy Keane due to his (slightly) better temperament!

CM: Frank Lampard

Chelsea and England Midfielder - Frank LampardControversially gets in ahead of Steven Gerrard for me.

Lampard has scored 162 goals in the Premier League: more than any other midfielder and behind only 4 strikers.

Regularly contributing 10+ goals in a season, he can always be relied upon to pop up in dangerous positions and hurt the opposition.

In 2009/10, he scored an amazing 22 league goals!

CF: Thierry Henry

Former Arsenal and France Striker - Thierry HenryArguably the finest foreigner to ever play in England, Henry was a phenomenon. Fast, skilful and creative, he is Arsenal’s all-time leading goalscorer (averaging a goal every 1.47 games).

Another integral part of Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ team, Henry and my final selection would be unstoppable…

ST: Alan Shearer

Former Blackburn, Saints, Newcastle and England Striker Alan ShearerWho else? The Premier League’s leading marksman with an incredible 260 goals, Shearer was strong, powerful and a constant menace to defenders.

He could score goals of all types: headers, volleys, tap-ins and thunderous drives from the edge of the box.

Hero-worshipped in his home-town of Newcastle, he was unlucky not to add to his solitary Premier League winner’s medal.

Subs

David Seaman, Tony Adams, Steven Gerrard, Roy Keane, Gareth Bale, Dennis Bergkamp and Wayne Rooney

All-time Premier League XI - Subs Bench

All-time Premier League XI – Subs Bench

So, that’s it: my choices for the all-time Premier League XI.

Have I got it right? Let me know what you think…

Post written by Matt Gaughan
Blog: English Footy Blog, Twitter: @chubbygorn

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