The Premier League has been home to magnificent centre-backs down the years.
Rio Ferdinand, John Terry, Tony Adams, Vincent Kompany, Sol Campbell and Nemanja Vidic are just a handful that immediately spring to mind.
But how many top-class centre-backs does the Premier League have right now?
Most football fans would probably argue that England’s top division currently boasts the best centre-back on the planet.
Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk is now widely regarded as the best player in the world in his position and could potentially win the Ballon d’Or on December 2.
But other than that, are there any genuinely world-class centre-back in the Premier League?
Well, three YouTubers on the ‘James Lawrence Allcott‘ channel have ranked 20 Premier League centre-backs – one from every team – into five different categories: ‘World-class’, ‘Good’, ‘He’s good, but is he good?’, ‘Not for me’ and ‘Championship at best’.
Let’s look at their selections…
Virgil van Dijk
Van Dijk is obviously world-class, but there’s a question mark over the other three. Maguire is the most expensive centre-back of all time but has blown hot and cold following his £80 million move to Man Utd from Leicester in the summer. As for Alderweireld and Evans, the term ‘world-class’ feels, well, rather generous.
It’s a little surprising to see Egan so high up. After all, this is a 27-year-old who is only just playing Premier League football for the first time. Mings, Boly and Tomori all belong in this category, as does Cahill – although his best days are now behind him.
He’s good, but is he good?
It’s interesting that they went for Stones over Aymeric Laporte, who would certainly be a candidate for the ‘world-class’ category. Lots of people still have doubts over Stones and rightly so. Diop, Ake, Tarkowski and Dunk could all have been placed in the ‘good’ category, for our money. Luiz, on the other hand, is both good and bad. It’s hard to tell which category he belongs in. Probably his own, to be fair.
Not for me
We all expected Mina to show more quality at Everton after joining the Toffees from Barcelona. Vestergaard, meanwhile, hasn’t exactly covered himself in glory on the pitch in recent months, so it’s understandable that he’s been placed into this category.
Championship at best
Poor old Cathcart finds himself alone in the ‘Championship at best’ category. This wouldn’t be the case if *every* Premier League centre-back had been judged by the YouTubers. We’re looking at you, Shkodran Mustafi.
GIVEMESPORT’s Rob Swan says:
This list clearly shows the Premier League isn’t as strong in the centre-back department as it was, say, 10 years ago.
With the exception of Van Dijk, and possibly Laporte (who doesn’t feature but we mentioned), there’s no other central defender playing in England that we could confidently label ‘world-class’.
Other decent centre-backs who don’t feature on the video include Jan Vertonghen, Victor Lindelof, Caglar Soyuncu, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip.
But it’s still all a far cry from Ferdinand, Terry, Campbell, Vidic and so on.
Van Dijk is in a league of his own right now and will be remembered as one of *the* great Premier League centre-backs in years to come.
Will that be the case for any other defender mentioned here? Almost certainly not.