With fans anticipating the much awaited start to the new Premier League season, let us take a look at the history books to find the team of the decade, spanning from 02/03 season to last season’s 12/13 campaign.
Using the PFA’s Team of the Year’s, this team is compiled of players who featured consistently on the list during the last ten years. The team is representative of the dominance of Manchester United whilst also showing the power Chelsea and Arsenal had during this time period.
Goalkeeper – Edwin van der Sar
Van Der Sar set a worldwide league record, keeping a clean sheet for over 1212 minutes, which he set in the 08/09 season.
The Dutchman is also the oldest player to win the Premier League which is credit to his overall professionalism and dedication to the game.
He was a stand-out candidate for the goalkeeping position as he was a fantastic 'keeper for Fulham before cementing his Premier League legend status at Manchester United.
He has featured an impressive three times in the Team of the Year in 06/07, 08/09 and 10/11.
Right-back – Gary Neville
The ex-England international set the standard in a Manchester United team who dominated English football.
The right-back consistently performed at the highest level and was an integral part of numerous different Manchester United squads.
He rightly finds himself in the side and the highly rated Sky Sports pundit will go down as one of England’s greatest defenders.
He has featured twice in the Team of the Year in the last 10 seasons, appearing in the 06/07 season and in 08/09.
Centre-back – Rio Ferdinand
The big central defender was twice the most expensive signing costing over £48m in combined fees.
His dominance in the heart of a Manchester United defence was pivotal for their continued success during this time period.
He has leadership qualities and cemented his name in Premier League folklore.
He has successfully appeared in the Team of the Year an incredible five times in 04/05, 06/07, 07/08, 08/09 and last season in 12/13.
Centre-back – John Terry
The Chelsea and ex-England captain is considered a Chelsea legend and a warrior amongst the back line of defence.
He succeeded in guiding Chelsea to the Premier League on three occasions and his commitment to the game is respected on a worldwide stage.
Terry is often discredited off the pitch for personal antics but on the field he has become a living legend and is often regarded as one of the most natural leaders in the current game. Terry has featured three times on the Team of the Year in 03/04, 04/05 and 05/06.
Left-back – Ashley Cole
Mr Consistent was a solid performer for Arsenal and developed into one of the world’s best players at Chelsea.
He has won everything in the English game and has been an important part of every team he’s represented.
Although he’s often disliked off the field, his ability has pushed him to become a Premier League legend and a great example of an attacking-minded yet defensively sound full-back.
He has been inaugurated into the Team of the Year four times over the last 10 seasons in 02/03, 03/04, 04/05 and 11/12.
Right-midfield – Cristiano Ronaldo
The Portuguese star lit up the Premier League after his debut in 2003, but it wasn’t until 2005 that he truly became a Premier League star.
Handed the prestigious number seven Manchester United shirt, he shined and was named in the team of the season.
He kept up his incredible exploits and eventually won everything possible in the English game before leaving for Real Madrid in 2009. He featured on the team four consecutive occasions in 05/06, 06/07, 07/08 and 08/09.
Centre-midfield – Frank Lampard
Frank Lampard became Chelsea’s all time top goal scorer last season, which is an incredible feat considering he is a midfielder by trade.
The goal grabbing maestro has become both a Chelsea and Premier League legend who consistently guided Chelsea to a number of domestic trophies.
He is now reunited with Jose Mourinho and may yet feature again in the Team of the Season.
He has, over the last 10 seasons, qualified four times, being in the side three times in 04/05, 05/06 and 06/07.
Centre-midfield – Steven Gerrard
Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard has been the heartbeat of a Liverpool side who have, due to no fault of his own, been in decline.
One of only two players to make the team without winning the league shows his ability.
The one-man-club player has been phenomenal in his occupancy in the middle of the park and has created incredible partnerships during his time.
Xabi Alonso, Fernando Torres and Luis Suarez have all thrived off Gerrard’s ability and whilst players have come and gone, Gerrard remained and featured in the Team of the Year an incredible and record six times over the past 10 years.
He made the squad in 04/05, 05/06, 06/07, 07/08, 08 /09 and 09/10.
Left-midfield – Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale was electric last season and has been playing great football for the past three seasons. He has excited fans with his direct runs, fantastic pace and incredible shooting. He, along with Gerrard, are the only players to feature without winning the league and he is also the youngest player to feature on the list.
The Welsh winger has featured an incredible four times in the Team of the Season, however his 2006 prize was awarded whilst in the championship.
He has been integral to the recent Premier League Team of the Year and has been in the side in 06/07*, 10/11, 11/12, 12/13.
Centre-forward – Thierry Henry
The French superstar became a Premier League icon during his time at Highbury. He was consistently the league’s top-scorer and spearheaded Arsenal’s ‘invincibles’ with Dennis Bergkamp. He became an international house-hold name due to his on-field performances and advertisement works.
He, both domestically and internationally, has succeeded in every possible way winning prestigious trophies.
He is considered one of the best finishers of all time and was named in the Team of the Year in 03/04, 04/05 and 05/06.
Centre-forward – Wayne Rooney
The Englishman broke onto the scene as a 16-year-old and earned a big-money move to Manchester United. Since then, he has excelled in the English game and has become one of the biggest names in world football.
He has been instrumental in numerous successful title campaigns for Manchester United and is rated as one of England’s most prestigious talents ever. He has been in the Team of the Year three times, featuring in 05/06, 09/10 and 11/12.
Special mentions go out to Ryan Giggs, Dennis Bergkamp, Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira. They missed out due to the majority of their PFA awards coming before the 02/03 season.
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