Gerrard, Scholes and Lampard: Who is the best midfielder in Premier League history?

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Midfield is arguably the most important position on the pitch.

Playing in the middle of the park allows you to do pretty much everything. Defend, attack, assist, score goals...

Some of the best players we’ve ever seen play the game operated in midfield.

The Premier League has seen some pretty decent ones too.

But who is the greatest?

On Wednesday, talkSPORT pundit Jamie O’Hara caused a stir by suggesting three Englishmen are in the top-four midfielder of all-time.

O’Hara said that Steven Gerrard, Paul Scholes, Glenn Hoddle and Zinedine Zidane are the four best ever.

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It was certainly a controversial claim and it got us thinking: ‘Who are the best midfielders to play in the Premier League?’

Well, we decided to use Tiermaker to rank the 25 best central midfielders to have appeared in the Premier League into five categories: GOAT, World class, Quality, Decent and Overrated.

Let’s take a look at the results as we don our tin hat…

Overrated

Paul Pogba
Mesut Ozil
Michael Carrick
N’Golo Kante
Nicky Butt
Paul Ince

Before we get pelters, we’re not saying these six are bad players. They’re in the top 25 Premier League midfielders of all time for a reason. We’re just saying they’re, perhaps, not quite as good as the others.

Pogba and Ozil have the ability to be world-class but probably won’t be leaving behind too much of a legacy if they were to both leave in the summer.

Carrick was a hugely important player for Manchester United but, let’s be honest, it can’t have been too difficult to play in that side alongside some of the best players in world football. The same can be said about Butt and Ince, who can consider themselves fortunate to have made the top 25 in the first place

Kante has been sensational for Leicester and Chelsea, helping them to Premier League titles. But he’s currently out of form and can’t be compared to some legends.

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Decent

Juan Mata
Christian Eriksen
Emmanuel Petit
Joe Cole
Michael Essien
Ruud Gullit

A real mixed bag here with only one player still featuring in the league - Mata. The Spaniard has had a long and successful career in England with Chelsea and now United.

The only other player still playing is Eriksen, who is now at Inter Milan. He served Spurs brilliant for seven seasons.

Meanwhile, Petit was probably underrated in an Arsenal side full of superstars.

Cole, Essien and Gullit all enjoyed spells at Chelsea and, despite all being very different players, were 'decent'.

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Quality

Roy Keane
Luka Modric
Xabi Alonso
Yaya Toure
Patrick Vieira
Cesc Fabregas
Claude Makelele
David Silva
Matt Le Tissier

In truth, all of these players are or were world-class. But they’re probably a level below the trio of players we’ve placed in the above category.

Keane captained Man Utd to numerous league titles, while Vieira captained Arsenal to a few himself - including the Invincible season.

Then there’s Man City legends, Yaya Toure and David Silva who will go down in the club’s history.

Makelele was so good they named a role after him as he made the defensive midfield position his own at Chelsea.

Former Arsenal and Chelsea man, Fabregas, is probably the best passer the league has ever seen.

If it’s not Fabregas isn’t, then it’s Alonso who formed a brilliant midfield partnership with Gerrard at Liverpool.

Modric is now 35 and still going strong at Real Madrid. He enjoyed four brilliant campaigns at Tottenham and was an absolute joy to watch. He’s also won a Ballon d’Or.

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World class

Frank Lampard
Paul Scholes
Kevin de Bruyne

Lampard’s 177 Premier League goals won’t be bettered by a midfielder for a long time as he established himself as a Chelsea legend during his 13 seasons at the club.

Scholes played more than 700 times for Manchester United, winning 11 league titles. He had it all. Well, apart from the ability to tackle.

De Bruyne struggled at Chelsea but in five-and-a-half seasons at City, he’s been nothing short of magnificent. Probably the best midfielder in world football right now.

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GOAT

Steven Gerrard

There could only be one and we’ve gone for Gerrard. Yes, we know what you’re all saying: ‘But he didn’t win the Premier League!’ Let’s not forget the players he was playing with at Liverpool. Gerrard single-handedly dragged his side to multiple trophies and, if we really wanted to, could have moved to Chelsea and won several league titles. He gets the vote over Lampard and Scholes for us.

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The full results

So, we’ve crowned Gerrard - a player who didn’t win the title - as the Premier League’s greatest ever central midfielder.

Lampard, Scholes and now De Bruyne are close behind as they deserve their own category above a host of ‘quality’ talent that includes Keane, Modric and Silva.

Six players are placed in the ‘Decent’ category as we didn’t feel they quite deserved to be in the same conversation as some of the league’s legends.

Another six have, unfortunately, been placed in the ‘overrated’ tier. As we’ve already mentioned, we’re not saying they’re bad players but they don’t hold a candle to some of the best players.

There will, no doubt, be plenty of you who disagree…

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