The Premier League has seen some incredible players throughout history, but some have been overlooked and underrated. These players each made significant contributions to their clubs and the league, including being a reason fans bought Premier League Tickets, yet their names often go unnoticed.
This list highlights seven of the most underrated Premier League players of all time, from legendary defenders to prolific strikers and goalkeepers who cemented their place in the league’s history.
Gareth Southgate (Retired 2006)
Gareth Southgate, who led Middlesbrough to win the 2004 Football League Cup and became the club’s first captain to lift a major trophy, is one of the most underrated Premier League players. He made a remarkable 426 appearances in the league and registered an impressive 136 clean sheets during his career. Southgate’s unwavering commitment and leadership on the field were second to none, and his contributions to the league’s history cannot be overstated.
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (Retired 2008)
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, a two-time Golden Boot winner, is arguably one of the most underrated players in the history of the Premier League. He was a prolific striker at Chelsea, scoring an impressive 127 goals in just 288 appearances. Hasselbaink was known for his lightning-quick pace and explosive shot that often left defenders in awe. It’s no surprise that he is considered one of Chelsea’s best-ever strikers.
Thomas Sorensen (Retired 2015)
On the recommendation of fellow Dane and Goalkeeping legend Peter Schmeichel, Thomas Sorensen was signed by Sunderland from the Danish club Odense. Sorensen’s incredible talent and hard work led to an impressive 364 appearances in the Premier League, where he registered 107 clean sheets. His consistency and skill as a goalkeeper cemented his place in the league’s history, and he is widely regarded as one of the best goalkeepers of his time.
Emile Heskey (Retired 2016)
Emile Heskey’s career at Liverpool was overshadowed by the likes of Michael Owen and Robbie Fowler, which is why he remains one of the most underrated players in the history of the Premier League. Despite being overlooked, Heskey possessed a rare combination of pace, physical strength, and intelligence, making him a force to be reckoned with on the field. He was a selfless player who always put his team’s interests first and played a significant role in Liverpool’s success at the club.
Shola Ameobi (Retired 2018)
Shola Ameobi, who made 298 Premier League appearances and scored 43 goals, is regarded as one of the best super-subs in the league’s history. He was a cult hero at Newcastle United and gained a reputation as the “Mackem Slayer” due to his impressive record of 7 goals in 16 games against fierce rivals Sunderland in the Tyne–Wear derby. Ameobi’s impact on the pitch was undeniable, and his ability to score crucial goals from the bench earned him a special place in the hearts of Newcastle United fans.
Gareth Barry (Retired 2021)
Gareth Barry, who holds the record for the most Premier League appearances with an impressive 653 games, is often overlooked when discussing the best midfielders in the league’s history. The former Aston Villa captain was incredibly consistent and was a key player in Manchester City’s triumphant Premier League campaign. Barry’s remarkable career spanned over two decades, with his final years at Everton and West Brom. Despite his significant achievements, he remains one of the most underrated players in Premier League history.
Olivier Giroud (Active)
Olivier Giroud, the consistent and dependable striker, has scored an impressive 90 goals in 255 Premier League appearances for Chelsea and Arsenal. Despite his remarkable performances, Giroud is often overshadowed by more prominent names and is considered one of the most underrated players in the league’s history. As a target man up front, he could utilise his exceptional physical strength and heading accuracy to score crucial goals.
These players may not have always received the recognition they deserved, but their impact on the Premier League cannot be denied. From their exceptional performances on the field to their unwavering commitment and leadership, they have left their mark on the league’s history. As we continue to celebrate the achievements of the league’s biggest stars, let us not forget the contributions of these underrated players who have helped shape the Premier League into the world-renowned competition it is today.