The role of a winger has changed quite drastically over the past 20 years or so.
In the past, a winger was instructed to hug the touchline in a 4-4-2 formation and then whip in pinpoint crosses for a big centre-forward to attack.
These days, wide players are essentially unorthodox strikers and the very best in the position are now expected to grab at least 15 goals a season.
So given the changes to the role, selecting the Premier League’s greatest ever winger is a pretty tough job.
However, it’s not something we’ve shirked away from and using TierMaker, we’ve placed 16 of the division’s greatest ever wide players into five different categories, ranging from ‘GOAT’ to ‘Overrated’.
Here’s out verdict…
Overrated: Nani, Steve McManaman
We’re not saying Nani and McManaman were bad players, far from it.
However, given they were both pretty inconsistent during their careers in English football, they have to be labelled as ‘overrated’ compared to the rest of the Premier League’s finest wingers.
Decent: Arjen Robben, Raheem Sterling, Marc Overmars, John Barnes
Sterling still has a lot to prove to be among the best of the best and despite Barnes being a solid performer for Liverpool and Newcastle in the Premier League era, his best days were behind him.
Quality: Ryan Giggs, Gareth Bale, Alexis Sanchez, David Ginola, David Beckham, Freddie Ljungberg
To be honest, hese players were world-class for much of their Premier League careers, but they’re just slightly inferior to the four superstars ahead of them.
Giggs won trophies for fun at Manchester United, Bale delivered one of English football’s greatest ever individual campaigns in 2012/13 and Sanchez was a goalscoring machine at Arsenal.
Ginola is actually underrated by many in the present day, while Beckham and Ljungberg were consistently excellent for United and Arsenal respectively.
World-class: Mohamed Salah, Eden Hazard, Robert Pires
Three of the greatest players the English game has ever seen.
Salah has scored 86 league goals since signing for Liverpool in 2017 and is firmly one of the best players in the world right now.
Hazard was the complete package at Chelsea, scoring 85 goals and winning the PFA Players’ Player of the Year in 2014/15.
Pires was a slightly more traditional winger, but was also a goalscorer and he’s one of the best dribblers to grace the Premier League – a truly unique player.
GOAT: Cristiano Ronaldo
The second greatest player in the history of the Premier League, behind only Thierry Henry.
Ronaldo redefined the role of a winger at United, scoring a ridiculous number of goals and scooping the Ballon d’Or in 2008. He’s the last man to win the award while playing for an English team.
A bonafide Premier League legend.
So Ronaldo takes top spot, which some will agree with and others won’t.
It was a hard call to make, but the Portuguese’s Ballon d’Or-winning season in 2007/08 was the decisive factor.
We may never see an individual campaign from a Premier League player quite like that again.
The full results: