It’s taken a little longer than expected, but finally, the Premier League has its own Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame was created to “recognize and celebrate the exceptional skill and talent of players who have graced the League since its inception in 1992.”

Two players have already been automatically inducted as a part of the inaugural class: Thierry Henry and Alan Shearer. Henry was an Arsenal legend, a member of the club’s 03/04 unbeaten, invincible team, and in my opinion, the greatest Premier League striker on talent alone. Shearer is, of course, the top goalscorer in the league’s history and played 14 incredible EPL seasons. The other six inductees will be chosen through a fan vote out of 23 nominees.

I’m not going to lie; it was extremely difficult to choose six from a list of players that are all legends in their own right.

Here are my picks for the Premier League Hall of Fame.

Eric Cantona

This was probably the most obvious choice to me on the list. Not only was Cantona the best striker in the league for the better part of his six seasons in the EPL, but he also led Man United to their first title in 26 years back in 1993. Man United wasn’t the Man United we know today until he arrived. By the time Cantona retired, the Red Devils had won three more titles and firmly planted themselves among the world’s biggest clubs.

His controversial nature and enigmatic personality made him that much more of a global superstar. No player commanded the pitch quite like Cantona, which is why he gets into the Hall.

Ashley Cole

Ashley Cole is the best left-back in Premier League history. It’s not even close. Cole split his career between London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea, racking up 385 Premier League appearances and 147 clean sheets along the way. It’s not often that a player is a key contributor in title campaigns for two different clubs.

Cole won two titles at Arsenal before transitioning to Chelsea and leading them to a title of their own. An incredible feat that not many can lay claim to. Cole also revolutionized the wing-back position, becoming one of the first defenders who had a true offensive game in their arsenal (no pun intended).

As a Premier League revolutionary and one of the great defenders this game has ever seen, Cole certainly deserves his spot in the Hall of Fame.

Roy Keane

Photo: Premier League

Most young Premier League fans like myself probably know Roy Keane best as the curmudgeonly Sky Sports pundit who likes to criticizing Paul Pogba. He was actually an outstanding player in his own right, one of the best, in fact. Along with Cantona, Keane lead Man United to EPL dominance during the 1990s as the team’s midfield anchor. He was much more than an offensive player; in many ways, Keane’s best abilities lied on the defensive side of the ball.

He was never afraid to go in for a hard tackle or rough it up with an opponent. Keane was the enforcer in a Man United squad that absolutely needed his toughness to be so successful. Keane won 7 titles during his time at Old Trafford and went down as one of the more versatile players the EPL has ever seen.

Patrick Vieira

Another player who revolutionized his position, Vieira played nine seasons at Arsenal as a box-to-box midfielder who could do everything. Aggression was the name of his game, and because of Vieira’s tenacious nature, there were long stretches throughout his career where he was unstoppable.

Vieira’s style of play on both ends inspired the next generation of defensive midfielders, like N’Golo Kante and Thomas Partey, to follow in his footsteps. Another easy selection for the HOF.

Paul Scholes

So this is when things get really tricky. There are about 10 other players that I deem worthy of the Premier League’s top honor, but somehow, I whittled it down to just two, starting with Paul Scholes. The conversation around Scholes really should start and end with the fact that he won 11 Premier League titles, the most by any English player. The Premier League title is the hardest domestic trophy to win in the world, and Scholes did it an incredible 11 times.

Not only that, but he was a tremendous player in his own right. Scholes was best on the ball and had the ability to make a run towards a goal on his own or make a brilliant pass to set up one of his teammates. Scholes was both a great winner and a great player, so he gets in.

Frank Lampard

I’m going to have to with the greatest Chelsea midfielder of all time for my final selection. There a couple of reasons why I have Lampard in over some of the other nominees. Firstly, he was a key part of the most successful period in Chelsea’s history.

Lampard led Chelsea to three Premier League titles while fellow midfielder Steven Gerrard, another worthy contender for the HOF,  never even got his hands on one. Even though winning the Champions League technically doesn’t count towards this EPL-based award, I still think it does add to his legendary status.

Then there was his unparalleled ability to score goals. Chelsea’s all-time leading goal scorer: Frank Lampard. Most Premier League goals for a midfielder: Frank Lampard. The only player to score double-figure goals in the Premier League for 10 straight seasons: Frank Lampard. His resume speaks for itself, and while he may not have won as much as some of the other players on this list, he gets in as one of the best goal-scorers English football has ever seen.

Honorable Mentions

There are a few other players who were close but just missed the cut:

I’d expect all four of these guys to get into the Hall of Fame at some point. For now, they’re on the outside looking in.

Featured Image: Premier League
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