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The most underrated Premier League XI of all time… maybe

After much deliberation, we have settled on a line-up of underappreciated stars

There’s plenty of debate to be had about about the greatest Premier League XI of all time.

Scholes or Gerrard?
Terry or Ferdinand?

Bendtner or Chamakh?


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Who to choose, who to choose?

Jamie McPhilimey - The Sun
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Who to choose, who to choose?

What about the players whose brilliance was taken for granted?

Here we seek to heap praise on some underappreciated greats, those who are adored by their own fans, but rarely recognised elsewhere.

KEEPER: Shay Given

A victory for tall, but not tall, keepers everywhere

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A victory for tall, but not tall, keepers everywhere

A veteran of 134 caps for Republic or Ireland, the Newcastle legend had a penchant for physics-defying saves in his prime.

At 6ft tall he didn’t dominate his box like some of the giants we’ve seen on English soil, but his athleticism saved his sides countless points.

Other nominees: Nigel Martyn, Thomas Sorensen.

RIGHT-BACK: Stephen Carr

BDE

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BDE

We promise this isn’t going to be an all Irish XI.

Carr was so unerringly consistent — he put in a 7/10 every week.

He was named in the Team of the Team twice during his prime Spurs years but is rarely mentioned alongside the likes of Gary Neville and Lee Dixon in discussions of great Prem right-backs.

Other nominees: Pablo Zabaleta, Steve Finnan.

CENTRE-BACKS: Lucas Radebe and Steve Bruce

South Africa’s finest

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South Africa’s finest

Leeds fans still chant in support of their South African legend to this day.

The Chief read the game as easily as a children’s book and he was paid the ultimate complement by Sir Alex Ferguson when the Scottish gaffer said ‘everyone should be interested in Lucas’ when asked about transfer rumours.
Those of a certain age will remember Bruce the player, a no-nonsense centre-back to set your watch to.

His distinctly English style and relative lack of glamour means his playing days have been forgotten all too readily by non-United fans.

Other nominees: Colin Hendry, Stephane Henchoz, Gareth Southgate.
LEFT-BACK: Graeme Le Saux

Not your average player

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Not your average player

Le Saux was not like other footballers.

The England international rejected 1990s lad culture in favour of antique shops and artisan cafes.

As a result, he was subjected to foul abuse from opposition fans, and even his peers.

All this distracted from the fact that, after Ashley Cole and Denis Irwin, he may be the best left-back the Prem has ever hosted.

Other nominees: Leighton Baines, Wayne Bridge.

RIGHT-MIDFIELD: Darren Anderton

It’s actually a bit of a myth that he was always injured

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It’s actually a bit of a myth that he was always injured

Straight away your mind goes to his nickname — sicknote.

Anderton’s injury troubles came to define his legacy despite the fact he played well over 300 Premier League games.

He had a sumptuous right foot and always seemed to make the right decisions.

Other Nominees: Nolberto Solano, Theo Walcott.

CENTRE-MIDFIELDERS: Michael Carrick and Mousa Dembele

Pep Guardiola once said Carrick would have suited his Barcelona side

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Pep Guardiola once said Carrick would have suited his Barcelona side

Carrick’s retirement prompted a widespread review of his quality and his so public opinion of him as gone up in recent times.

But for years he went underappreciated, particularly by England managers.

Dembele is one of the best ball-retainers of all time; the way he uses his body is unmatched.

Kevin De Bruyne reckons his international team-mate is the best five-a-side player in the world while most Spurs players will tell you Dembele is the best they have.

A master of subtle excellence.

Other nominees: Steed Malbranque, Gilberto, Tim Sherwood.

LEFT-MIDFIELD: James Milner

Boringly brilliant

PA:Press Association
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Boringly brilliant

Milner’s true value only becomes apparent when he plays for your team.

He’s comfortable in any midfield role and even proved himself to be a respectable left-back.

Man City fans will tell he did a good job up front for a while as well.

Often applauded for his work rate and professionalism, it’s easy to overlook the fact he’s technically sound.

Other Nominees: Damien Duff, Gary Speed.

FORWARDS: Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Goals. Goals, goals, goals.

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Goals. Goals, goals, goals.

Hasselbaink is a two-time Premier League Golden Boot winner.

Such is the volume of world-class goalscorers on these shores since 1992, the Dutchman’s playing days have hardly been referred to by pundits since his retirement.

He was prolific for Leeds before forming a productive strike partnership with Eidur Gudjohnsen at Chelsea.

Hasselbaink reached double figures for league goals in eight consecutive Prem campaigns — truly a tremendous No9.

Fergie’s secret weapon

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Fergie’s secret weapon

As for the baby-faced assassin, his loyalty to Man United should be commended.

For any other club, Solskjaer would have been a regular starter but with the likes of Dwight Yorke, Andy Cole, Teddy Sheringham and Andy Cole at Sir Alex Ferguson disposal, the Norweigan was often deployed as a super sub.

Still he managed 91 Premier League goals, boasting one of the best goals-to-minute ratios in Prem history.

His 20-minute, four-goal cameo against Nottingham Forest will never be forgotten.

In another life Solskjaer would have as many goals as Les Ferdinand, Michael Owen or Robbie Fowler, but he simply loved United too much.

And for that reason, he’ll always be criminally underrated.

Other nominees: Jermain Defoe, Peter Crouch and Olivier Giroud.

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