The best player in the Premier League – Really?


Fans have voted Steven Gerrard the best player in the Premier LeagueOur sister site, or perhaps that should be parent site, (go ahead and check it out, it’s really quite good, but be sure and head right back) recently ran a grand survey with Zoo magazine and came up with some pretty fascinating results. For instance, most punters consider The Emirates to be the best away ground in the League, despite the all-too-common accusation that there’s no atmosphere to speak of. Moreover, despite Arsenal being the crowned-kings of fine, fast, flowing football (in England at least), it’s Spurs that most neutrals consider to be their ‘second’ Premier League team.

I know who I’d rather watch, but there you are. You can find the rest of the results of the survey here. Or heck, just go down to your local newsagents and pick up the latest copy of Zoo, at least now you have an excuse – right?

The result I find most questionable, most antiquated and least comprehendible is that football fans around the country consider to Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard to be the best player in the Premier League. Steven Gerrard? It’s not 2005 anymore folks.

It’s startling not only that fans consider him to be the best Premier League player, but that the decision has so much support. A massive 21% of people surveyed consider him to be the best in the League. Cesc Fabregas placed second with only 14% of the vote and Carlos Tevez managed a respectable 13% to come in third position.

Before we get started, let me make it clear that the purpose of this article isn’t to criticise or berate Steven Gerrard. It’s fair to say that he’s firmly established himself as one of football’s greatest central midfielders. I just question whether he is the best.

My feeling is that the question has been interpreted (perhaps fairly), not as who is currently the best player in the Premier League, but who, in the grand scheme of things, is the best player still playing in the Premier League.

After all, if we were talking about this current season, my feeling is that Steven Gerrard wouldn’t get much of a look in. Despite a resurgence of sorts under Dalglish, Liverpool have been way out of sorts this season. As club captain, Gerrard has to take a measure of responsibility for that. Samir Nasri or Carlos Tevez would likely come in first position, with Bale following not too far behind. After all, surely the elected player would have to be responsible for bringing some kind of success to the club?

So we must be talking about players who still compete in the Premier League and who have been ‘great’, ‘consistent’ or ‘successful’ over a long period of time. In that case, what about a certain Mr. Paul Scholes (who has only managed to conjure up 4% of the vote)?

Scholes is a player who has been just as integral to Manchester United’s success over the years as Gerrard has been to any success that Liverpool have earned. Scholes has 9 Premier League titles to Gerrard’s 0. Scholes has 3 FA Cup victory medals to Gerrard’s 2. Scholes has 2 UEFA Champion’s League final victories, to Gerrard’s 1. Scholes has, I’m sorry to say, a greater legacy than Gerrard.

Those surveyed, it seems, have shown a willingness to examine which player they consider to be the best in terms of overall contribution to football and their legacy, but have been let down by an unwillingness to extend that examination much further beyond what’s stored in their recent memories.

Steven Gerrard has played consistently great football in the centre of what has usually been a pretty average midfield. His doing so has brought him a degree of success. Paul Scholes, on the other hand, a man caparisoned head to toe, in success, has played his football in the centre of some of the best midfields in sporting history and has still managed to stand out.

In this case, the voting public really needs to start examining their priorities.

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  • jessop says:

    Probably helps that he is British and thus is about 50x more appealing to the Great British public than the likes of Cesc Fabregas

  • Seepy says:

    Last year Gerard wasn’t in the top 20 goal scorers or top 20 assists, same this year. Even more crazy is that Lucas has been consistently better which makes this even more bizarre.

  • Mikey Forrester and the Russian Sailors says:

    Though it’s hardly to qualify what being the best involves considering players positions etc but I can imagine most premiership players would resoundingly say Paul Scholes has been the been the most gifted player yo play in the premiership.History will show this too.Even in Steven Gerrards book he stated that when he joined the National side he was watching Paul Scholes do things that he couldn’t believe.

    The Ginger Ninja will be sorely missed when he retires.

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