Top 10 Premier League stars over the past decade
The last ten years of the Premier League have been packed with plenty of talent. Here, we run down the top 10 stars of the decade.
David De Gea
The goalkeeper has been a bright spot in a largely dire decade for Manchester United. A regular match-winner, De Gea has earned countless points for the Red Devils with some stunning saves since signing from Atletico Madrid in 2011.
The Spaniard won four Player of the Year awards in five years, single-handedly racking up points for an otherwise-underwhelming United side.
Still in his prime, he has already completed a clean sweep of English domestic honours, including the Premier League title in 2013.
There is a danger of trivialising just how brilliant he has been. The 30-year-old was a regular for the Premier League’s second-best defence in his solitary season at Southampton, conceding 33 goals. Alderweireld traded that for the joint-best defence at Tottenham a year later, letting in 35.
Virgil van Dijk
It feels like Van Dijk is still a relatively new phenomenon in terms of being the best centre-back in the Premier League but the Dutchman has been bossing England’s top division since joining Southampton from Celtic in 2015.
The Liverpool defender is a machine and his arrival at Anfield ultimately transformed Jurgen Klopp’s side into an unbeatable powerhouse.
A Champions League winner and leader domestically, the 2020s could be even better for the 28-year-old.
It takes a certain kind of player to persuade Jose Mourinho not to sign Zlatan Ibrahimovic as they stage a simultaneous raging against the machine of football’s ever-changing culture. Harry Kane is the sort of throwback, unadorned forward both can appreciate, albeit without that same brash demeanour or constant need for attention.
It is an attitude surely inspired not only by Tim Sherwood but through his brief and early journeys outside the Premier League. Kane started the decade on loan in League One with Leyton Orient, transitioning to Millwall and Leicester in the Championship and a Norwich spell that hardly suggested a career out of the ordinary.
Kane did not score till his ninth Premier League appearance, which makes his current haul of goals all the more remarkable. And his consistent excellence should not be underplayed: Only he, Alan Shearer and Thierry Henry have ever scored 20 goals or more in four consecutive Premier League seasons.
Aguero, with a solid head-start, is the one man to outscore him this decade. And what once sounded preposterous, the idea of a Spurs player coming close to Shearer’s record, now seems probable. Kane’s link-up and nous as a target man is also exquisite. He is the ideal foil for Spurs, making every player around him better.
The driving force behind Manchester City’s rise, he would steamroll through the midfield and always had a screamer up his sleeve.
While he always looked nonchalant, he turned in tireless performances in the middle of the park and kept the ball ticking over. The heartbeat of one of this country’s most successful teams, Toure will define City’s dominant era years from now.
Another underrated player in the grand scheme of things, his record is astonishing and he is the best striker in the Premier League of the 2010s.
Still just 31, he is only marginally away from besting the Premier League goals of Thierry Henry and Frank Lampard. That should say it all.
A poacher and marksman, he is also capable of scoring stunners from any distance and every angle. He also happened to score the goal that defined the decade.
There is no doubt that N’Golo Kante was one of the best signings of this or any decade when Leicester City acquired his services in the summer of 2015.
The effect he had for the Foxes in one of the most shocking Premier League title races of all time was profound. He followed that up by claiming the same trophy with Chelsea a year later, before going on to win the World Cup with France.
The Premier League Player of the Season in 2017, the PFA Players’ Player of the Year the same season, twice in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year and once in the FIFPro World XI, Kante has been among the very best midfielders in the world over the past five years.
One of the most individually-talented players the league has ever known, Hazard set the Premier League alight for seven years before finally moving to Real Madrid in the summer of 2019.
He has been a Premier League title winner twice, once each under Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte, and has delivered countless golden moments for Chelsea fans throughout his time in the Premier League.
He has been in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year four times and the FIFA Pro World XI the last two years running. He has twice been in the UEFA Team of the Year for good measure. In 2015, he was voted both the PFA Players’ Player of the Year and the Premier League Player of the Season.
Such is his consistency and versatility that there could be a call to include Cesar Azpilicueta in three defensive positions; those of right-back, right-sided centre-back and finally at left-back.
It is in that position where he predominantly played in winning a Premier League title under Jose Mourinho, who once said he’d love “11 Azpilicuetas”, and he added another at centre-back under Antonio Conte.
Once voted Chelsea’s Player of the Year, he is now club captain under Frank Lampard.
Robin van Persie
Robin Van Persie was already a Premier League legend before he joined Man United in 2012, having spent eight years with Arsenal.
But at Old Trafford, the Dutchman took his career to new heights by almost single-handedly delivering Sir Alex Ferguson’s team the title in his debut season.
On an individual level, RVP scored 48 goals for both Arsenal and United between 2010 and 2015, winning back-to-back Golden Boots in the process.
Adored by many, but still somehow one of the most underrated players of the Premier League era.
A magician with the ball at his feet, his ability to turn on a sixpence and play balls through the eye of a needle is truly out of this world.
His level of consistency is incredible and he is still a vital player as he enters his 10th year with the club. A key part of the greatest team the Premier League has ever seen, Silva has been a favourite of Pep Guardiola as well as his predecessors Manuel Pellegrini and Roberto Mancini.
Two times in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year and once voted City’s Player of the Season, Silva’s astonishing career has not got the individual recognition it deserves.