30 years of the Premier League: A best XI

·4-min read

Since the Premier League kicked off in August 1992, players from all around the world have come to grace the English top flight.

Here, the PA news agency picks out a team from the past 30 years which, at its prime, might well have given current champions Manchester City a run for their money.

Petr Cech (Goalkeeper)

Premier League appearances: 443, Premier League titles: Four

The Czech goalkeeper enjoyed a hugely successful spell with Chelsea from 2004 to 2015, winning the Premier League title four times, as well as four FA Cups, three League Cups and the 2011-12 Champions League then the 2012-13 Europa League.

Cech, who left to join Arsenal, where he also lifted the FA Cup again, holds the record for overall Premier League clean sheets at 202.

Ashley Cole (Left-back)

Appearances: 385; Titles: Three

Ashley Cole celebrates scoring for Arsenal
Ashley Cole won two Premier League titles with Arsenal before leaving to join Chelsea (Rebecca Naden/PA)

During his time at first Arsenal and then Chelsea, Cole won the Premier League three times and seven FA Cups.

After a successful Arsenal spell, Cole moved to Stamford Bridge following a protracted transfer saga in 2006 and secured a Premier League title, four FA Cups, the League Cup and the Champions League as well as the Europa League.

John Terry (Centre-back)

Appearances: 492; Titles: Five

Chelsea captain John Terry with the Premier League trophy
Chelsea captain John Terry won five Premier League titles (Mike Egerton/PA)

Chelsea captain Terry helped guide the Blues to five Premier League titles and went on to make more than 700 appearances for the club across 19 seasons.

Terry, 41, also lifted the FA Cup five times, the League Cup on three occasions as well enjoying both Champions League and Europa League success.

Vincent Kompany (Centre-back)

Appearances: 265; Titles: Four

Kompany was City’s captain at the heart of the defence, helping secure a first championship title since 1968 and he also lifted the Premier League trophy on four occasions.

After 265 Premier League appearances, Kompany left City at the end of the 2018-19 campaign, which saw Pep Guardiola’s side win the domestic Treble.

Gary Neville (Right-back)

Appearances: 400; Titles: Eight

Manchester United defender Gary Neville
Manchester United defender Gary Neville won eight titles under Sir Alex Ferguson (John Giles/PA Archive)

Neville won eight Premier League titles and the Champions League twice in Sir Alex Ferguson’s side.

The England right-back made 602 appearances between 1991 and 2011, also winning the League Cup twice and three FA Cups.

Kevin De Bruyne (Midfield)

Appearances: 211; Titles: Four

Belgium international De Bruyne, 31, is the only current Premier League player to make our all-time XI.

De Bruyne, who had a spell at Chelsea earlier in his career, has delivered consistent high-quality performances for City, which have helped secure him four Premier League winners’ medals.

Roy Keane (Midfield)

Appearances: 366; Titles: Seven

Manchester United’s Roy Keane holds the Premiership trophy
Roy Keane was the driving force of Manchester United’s midfield (Martin Rickett/PA Archive)

Irishman Keane, signed from Nottingham Forest, was at the heart of United’s midfield during the 1990s and early 2000s.

Keane was later club captain and collected seven Premier League titles, the Champions League and four FA Cup wins.

Patrick Vieira (Midfield)

Appearances: 307; Titles: Three

Frenchman Vieira became the midfield enforcer of Arsene Wenger’s side alongside fellow World Cup winner Emmanuel Petit.

Vieira drove the side through the Invincibles season in 2003-04 and scored the winning spot-kick in the 2005 FA Cup final penalty shoot-out against United. He left for Juventus and also played at Inter Milan, later joining Manchester City for a short spell.

Wayne Rooney (Forward)

Appearances: 491; Goals: 208; Titles: Five

Soccer – Barclays Premier League – Manchester United v West Ham United – Old Trafford
Wayne Rooney is Manchester United’s record goalscorer (Martin Rickett/PA)

Rooney, the second-highest Premier League scorer, won the title five times during a 13-year spell at United, which also saw success in both the Champions League and Europa League as well as lifting both domestic cups.

Having scored 253 goals for United, breaking Sir Bobby Charlton’s record, Rooney moved back to Everton in the summer of 2017.

Alan Shearer (Forward)

Appearances: 441; Goals: 260; Titles: One

Shearer is clear at the top of the all-time Premier League scoring charts with 260 goals, but won his only title with Blackburn.

The England striker joined hometown club Newcastle in 1996 for a then-world record £15m fee and was the Golden Boot winner in three consecutive seasons. Having broken Jackie Milburn’s 49-year-old record of 200 Newcastle goals, Shearer retired in 2006.

Thierry Henry (Forward)

Appearances: 258; Goals: 175; Titles: Two

Converted from a winger after arriving from Juventus, Henry tormented defenders across eight seasons with the Gunners, during which he won the Golden Boot four times.

Henry left for Barcelona in 2007, going on to win the Champions League. He had a brief return to Arsenal on loan during 2012, when Henry took his overall record club tally to 228 goals.