Premier League: Who are the most underrated players in history?

Manchester United cult hero Ji-Sung Park

We all know about the greatest figures in Premier League history. David Silva, Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Scholes, Thierry Henry - the list goes on. 

But what about those players who impressed week-in, week-out and yet rarely received the level of attention their performances deserved?

"Unsung hero" was once a common phrase among English football nomenclature, although it fittingly seems to have been forgotten about these days as the media continues to focus on the big names. 

Regardless, every club still has one and when we look back across the beautiful game over the last 30 years, there are copious examples of players who were in their own way exceptional but don't get enough appreciation for it. 

Fortunately, however, a Twitter thread has been set up to try and shine a light on the unsung heroes who truly deserve greater notoriety. 

Chester FC manager Anthony Johnson kicked things off by asking his followers to name the most underrated footballer of the last 30 years before naming his own candidate in Leeds icon David Batty, and he soon received a wealth of responses. 

@greenberg999 argued a case for Gary Pallister, who rarely gets a mention these days but was crucial in establishing Manchester United's early dominance over the Premier League. 

Former footballer Frank Sinclair weighed in by naming former Leicester City team-mate Muzzy Izzet, insisting he was as good as any other No.8 in the 1990s and early 2000s. 

@arky1975 mentioned another midfield goalscorer in Tim Cahill who, despite averaging seven goals per Premier League campaign for Everton, never seemed to quite take the fancy of the division's top clubs and ended his Goodison career trophyless. 

A number of people, such as @johnmasonrtid and @samwatters20 mentioned former Blackburn Rovers pass master Tugay, with fellow admirer @m_isherwood explaining: "an absolute genius. Never left the centre circle other than to slap one into the top corner".

There were also several mentions for Nicky Butt and Gareth Barry, both being somewhat similar to Batty in their knack for doing the often unseen dirty work in midfield, as well as Manchester United's one-time relentless ball of energy Ji-Sung Park

And the late Gary Speed was another popular choice, with @Lufc_royal declaring: "every club manager and fans he played for know what he brought to the team. Yet if there’s ever a best prem team he never gets a mention."

@JordanATait1 suggested Aaron Hughes, who actually ranks 21st for all-time Premier League appearances and featured in 17 straight seasons of the competition, despite hardly being a household name. 

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Alexey Smertin - Chelsea

Can you name this obscure former Premier League player?

And some of the responses went down a slightly different route, insisting third all-time top scorer Andy Cole and namesake Ashley Cole were even better than people thought at the time, despite being widely revered as elite players during their careers.

But perhaps the most common answer was Manchester United icon Dennis Irwin. It's another controversial suggestion considering Irwin spent 12 years at Old Trafford and picked up plenty of silverware.

However @CantonaCollas, @LMCarslen_, @Chrisbax8, @PuddinGRK86, @geethreedeebees and many more nominated the Irishman, with another Twitter user describing him as the "most underrated footballer ever."

There seems to be plenty of debate not only who the most underrated player is, but also what qualifies for such a description. But that's the underlying beauty of football - everyone has an opinion!

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