Match of the Day: Top 10 podcast: Premier League captains

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March 18, 2020
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    Roy Keane, Steven Gerrard and Alan Shearer

    Roy Keane? Steven Gerrard? Where do they rank? And where will Alan Shearer rank Alan Shearer?

    Any great Premier League team needs a great captain, and there have been several legendary players to wear the armband over the years – but who is the greatest?

    That was the subject discussed by Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer and Ian Wright on the new Match of The Day: Top 10 podcast.

    Taking themselves out of the studio, the series will be recorded in Lineker’s kitchen and, inspired by the much-debated MOTD television running order, the ex-players will be getting into deep discussion to produce a top 10 on a variety of topics.

    Gary Lineker, Ian Wright and Alan Shearer

    Gary Lineker, Ian Wright and Alan Shearer will be recording the series from Lineker’s kitchen

    First up, the trio ranked the top 10 Premier League captains from a shortlist drawn up by the BBC Match of the Day commentary team.

    To hear their final selections, make sure you listen to the podcast on BBC Sounds. And you can make your own ranked list at the bottom of the page.

    Tony Adams

    Tony Adams celebrating scoring a goal for Arsenal

    Tony Adams spent his entire career at Arsenal, winning 13 major trophies between 1983 and 2002

    Premier League appearances: 255

    Goals: 12

    Clubs: Arsenal

    Premier League titles: Two

    Wright: “No matter what he was going through personally, he came in every day and was always the leader, the captain, ready to go. He led by example, he looked you in the eye and told you exactly what he wanted from you. He would tell you home truths. He was a proper leader.”

    Shearer: “He was the best centre-half I played against in the English game. A great leader and organiser. That back four that he played in was relentless and incredibly tough to play against.”

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    Steven Gerrard

    Steven Gerrard celebrating a goal for Liverpool

    Steven Gerrard is the only footballer to score in an FA Cup final, a League Cup final, a Uefa Cup final and a Champions League final, winning on each occasion

    Premier League appearances: 504

    Goals: 120

    Clubs: Liverpool

    Premier League titles: None

    Shearer: “Look at his appearances, more than 500 in the Premier League, and what he gave to that football club and what that football club meant to him. He did it every year, week in, week out.”

    Wright: “What he did in the Champions League final [in 2005] was a fantastic achievement, one of the greatest I’ve seen.”

    Jordan Henderson

    Jordan Henderson holding his hands above his head, saluting the Liverpool fans

    Jordan Henderson lifted the Champions League, the Uefa Super Cup and Club World Cup in 2019

    Premier League appearances: 335

    Goals: 29

    Clubs: Sunderland, Liverpool

    Premier League titles: None – although Liverpool are runaway leaders in the 2019-20 season

    Lineker: “He’s had to step into the shoes of Steven Gerrard, who is one of the greatest English players of all time. He’s come in, they’ve won the Champions League, they are inevitably going to win the Premier League. He’s done an unbelievable job.”

    Roy Keane

    Roy Keane playing for Manchester United

    Roy Keane won 17 trophies at Manchester United, including the treble in 1999

    Premier League appearances: 366

    Goals: 39

    Clubs: Nottingham Forest, Manchester United

    Premier League titles: Seven

    Wright: “I loved Roy Keane. He was captain for so many years when Manchester United were absolutely dominating. He is exactly what you need as a captain. He wasn’t someone everybody liked, but you don’t need to like the captain. He led – and what it means on the pitch is what it is all about.”

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    Shearer: “I had loads of rucks with him and I wasn’t the only one. But he was a brilliant player.”

    Vincent Kompany

    Vincent Kompany lifting the Premier League trophy in 2012

    Vincent Kompany left Manchester City in May 2019 after 11 seasons at Etihad Stadium

    Premier League appearances: 265

    Goals: 18

    Clubs: Manchester City

    Premier League titles: Four

    Shearer: “He was an excellent player and a leader. He started in midfield, went back to centre-half and delivered titles. He was huge with the fans, he got it in terms of what the club was about.”

    Lineker: “A captain has to be there at the big moments and there is no captain who was there for the big moments more than Vincent Kompany. Remember the goals he scored against Manchester United in 2012 and Leicester last season? Big-time – big moments and a big leader.”

    Wes Morgan

    Wes Morgan kissing the Premier League trophy

    Wes Morgan became the third outfield player in Premier League history to play every minute of a title-winning season in 2015-16

    Premier League appearances: 164

    Goals: 8

    Clubs: Leicester

    Premier League titles: One

    Wright: “With the team he had and the way Leicester did it, it is the miracle of the Premier League. He had to keep them going through that season. One of my favourite moments was when Wes was about to lift the Premier League trophy, his eyes closed and it was magic, a moment of fulfilment.”

    Alan Shearer

    Alan Shearer celebrating scoring a goal for Newcastle

    Alan Shearer is the Premier League’s record goalscorer with 260 goals in 441 appearances

    Premier League appearances: 441

    Goals: 260

    Clubs: Blackburn, Newcastle

    Premier League titles: One

    Lineker: “The only reason you’re on the list is because it is the only topic where we can get you in at the bottom.”

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    John Terry

    John Terry lifting the Premier League trophy

    John Terry is Chelsea’s most successful captain, winning 17 trophies including five Premier League titles

    Premier League appearances: 492

    Goals: 41

    Clubs: Chelsea

    Premier League titles: Five

    Shearer: “He was everything you wanted in a captain. He had the respect of managers, fans and players. He wasn’t liked by other fans, but it didn’t affect him – it probably spurred him on if anything, and he delivered.”

    Nemanja Vidic

    Nemanja Vidic waving to the Manchester United fans

    Nemanja Vidic won five Premier League titles at Manchester United, two of them as captain

    Premier League appearances: 211

    Goals: 15

    Clubs: Manchester United

    Premier League titles: Five

    Shearer: “He was hard as they come. I can’t argue with what he delivered. A fantastic player and captain.”

    Patrick Vieira

    Patrick Vieira playing for Arsenal against Manchester United

    Patrick Vieira captained Arsenal during their ‘Invincibles’ season of 2003-04 when they went the entire Premier League season unbeaten

    Premier League appearances: 307

    Goals: 31

    Clubs: Arsenal, Manchester City

    Premier League titles: Three

    Shearer: “Vieira was horrible to play against, in a nice way. He could play if he wanted to play, but if you wanted to have a fight or be physical with him, he was as hard as they come.”

    So you have heard what the pundits think, but what about you? Rank your top 10 Premier League captains below:

    Best Premier League captain

    Rank your favourite Premier League captain

    First1Second2Third3Fourth4Fifth5Sixth6Seventh7Eighth8Ninth9Tenth10Confirm selection


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