With the introduction of the new Premier League Hall of Fame being announced last month, speculation has arisen over who will be named in the weeks to come for what the Premier League are describing as the ‘highest individual honour awarded to players’.
The first two inductees – widely assumed to be Alan Shearer and Ryan Giggs – will be announced in March, followed by another three.
Here are my next three that simply have to make their way into the Premier League’s Hall of Fame above anyone else.
Arguably one of the most gifted forwards football has ever seen, Thierry Henry was another Arsenal player that tore the Premier League up when arriving.
Coming from Juventus relatively unknown and having struggled to acclimatise to Italy, Henry made his name as world-class player under the tutelage of Arsene Wenger.
The Frenchman honed in on what made him special – raw athletic ability, cuteness in and around the box and an understanding of how to score goals – and accelerated his game and progression in the years to follow.
Henry became Arsenal’s all-time top scorer with 228 goals and a breaker of a number of records while playing in England, as well as winning the Premier League twice.
There is always a debate regarding who was better between Henry or Shearer, but it is clear that both deserve their early place in the Hall of Fame.
Perhaps one of the most underrated midfielders in the past 20 years, Paul Scholes was Manchester United’s lynchpin over a career that spanned three decades.
The debate will continue over who was better between Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Scholes, but there is no doubt about it that the Red Devils’ midfielder should be inducted to the Premier League Hall of Fame next.
Not only was he a special player with the ball at his feet, but the sheer amount of honours he has won during his time as a Man United player is astonishing. In England alone, Scholes has won the Premier League 11 times, FA Cup thrice and the League Cup on two occasions.
It is hard enough to win England’s top-tier division once, but to go and achieve that feat 11 times is nothing short of magical. Scholes will always be remembered as a player who could find the desired pass at any given moment, as well as tactically stop any opposing transition from happening.
The Englishman remained at United throughout all of his career and has the trophies to back up why he deserves to be one of the first Hall of Famers.
One of the all-time great midfielders of the modern era, Patrick Vieira defined an Arsenal side that were incredibly successful.
The French midfielder had it all: from being a combative monster in the middle of the park to the panache and finesse to play in tight spaces even with such a tall and lanky frame. Vieira was one of the best drivers with the ball at his feet, racing through midfield, and was an incredibly difficult player to dispossess.
Winning the Premier League and FA Cup on three occasions, as well as being the leader in the invincible season in 2003/04, Vieira deserves his place in the Hall of Fame for his consistency through the years.
A true commander, many have emulated their style on Vieira, such was his presence in English football. The highest endorsement he has received of how important he was to the Gunners is probably the fact that they are still yet to find a suitable replacement for him in their midfield to this day, 14 years on.