Mash Up XI: Most Loyal Football Players (PL edition)
Premier League’s most loyal football players XI
They say football and loyalty don’t go together but that’s not always the case; some players are extremely loyal. Here we prove exactly that with a look at a Loyal XI. Now, this side isn’t made up of one club men but to be considered they players need to have racked up plenty of appearances for a single club with our focus being on the Premier League’s most loyal football players.
GK – Tim Howard
Qualifying stats: 354 Premier League appearances for Everton
Keeping goal for our team of the Premier League’s most loyal football players is American goalkeeper Tim Howard. Howard actually arrived in England when he joined Man United back in 2003. He struggled to nail down the number one spot at Old Trafford though and joined Everton, initially on loan, in 2006. A permanent move followed with Howard leaving the club after making 354 league appearances.
RB – Gary Neville
Qualifying stats: 400 Premier League appearances for Man United
Manchester United have had their fair share of loyal footballers over the years but few have been as dedicated as Gary Neville. Neville wasn’t the best player at the club but his passion and hard work saw him spend his entire playing career there. In total he made 602 appearances for the club winning a total of 15 major honours. He is rightly regarded as one of the best right backs of all time.
CB – John Terry
Qualifying stats: 492 Premier League appearances for Chelsea
When you think of Chelsea at their most successful most people will picture John Terry leading them to glory. He was an exceptional defender and more than capable at playing out from the back but that often gets overlooked with his ‘heart on sleeve’ mentality and willingness to put his body on the line remembered instead. He did have a final hurrah away from the club but his legend status and loyalty to the Blues cannot be doubted.
CB – Jamie Carragher
Qualifying stats: 508 Premier League appearances for Liverpool
Partnering JT in our Loyal XI is Bootle boy Jamie Carragher. Everton fans might take an issue with him being categorised as one of the Premier League’s most loyal football players given he was a Toffee growing up but the fact he’s now seen as a Liverpool legend says it all. Carragher was a versatile defender that would never give up hence he stayed at Anfield for his whole career.
LB – Leighton Baines
Qualifying stats: 348 Premier League appearances for Everton
It feels like Leighton Baines is often a forgotten man when you talk about Premier League players but he’s a hero amongst Everton fans. It’s for good reason too. Baines arrived at Goodison from Wigan back in 2007 and, alongside being a stalwart for the club, he was phenomenal for them too. Defensively sound and with a lethal strike, he could contribute in all phases of play. He retired with 420 appearances and 39 goals on his Everton record.
RM – Ray Parlour
Qualifying stats: 333 Premier League appearances for Arsenal
Ray Parlour is an often overlooked member of Arsenal’s squad that won the league and cup double in 1998 and the 2004 Invincibles team; he played a big role in both of those successes. They are obvious highlights to his career but he actually spent a whopping 15 years with the Gunners after coming through the ranks as a trainee. In total Parlour, who now pals around with fellow TalkSport presenter Alan Brazil, made 466 games for Arsenal; his 333 Premier League appearances is a club record.
CM – Steven Gerrard
Qualifying stats: 504 Premier League appearances for Liverpool
Is Steven Gerrard the best player never to win the Premier League? His name is certainly up there in that conversation. We’re not sure he’d change his career though. Gerrard enjoyed vast success with Liverpool in other competitions with more than notable contributions to the famous Champions League win in 2005 and in the 2006 FA Cup. The Scouse midfielder could have won the Premier League as well having been heavily courted by Chelsea but he opted to show loyalty to his boyhood team.
CM – Paul Scholes
Qualifying stats: 499 Premier League appearances for Man United
Partnering Gerrard in this team of the most loyal football players is another former England international in Paul Scholes. Scholes was part of the famed Class of 92 to come at Manchester United and is arguably the most talented of the lot. With the likes of Zinedine Zidane and Xavi labelling Scholes as the best player they’ve ever played against, the flame haired technician could have had his pick of clubs. He only ever turned out for Man United; that’s something he did 718 times.
LM – Ryan Giggs
Qualifying stats: 632 Premier League appearances for Man United
632 Premier League appearances – especially for one club – is pretty bonkers. Giggs, however, actually racked up a few more when England’s top flight was known still as the First Division. Throughout his playing career the Welsh Wizard racked up north of 1,000 games with all of his club action coming for the Red Devils; that accounts for 963 appearances. His 13 Premier League titles is an individual record.
ST – Wayne Rooney
Qualifying stats: 393 Premier League appearances for Man United
Wayne Rooney played for two Premier League clubs in his career. One was his boyhood team where he broke through in memorable fashion before returning for a goodbye. The other was the Manchester United where he scored a record number of goals (253) whilst racking up 559 appearances and firing them to 11 major trophies.
ST – Alan Shearer
Qualifying stats: 303 Premier League appearances for Newcastle
From one record setting striker to another. Where Alan Shearer is concerned his best known record relates to the most goals in Premier League history; 148 of them came for his beloved Newcastle United. That in itself proves that he is one of the most loyal football players of all time. Of course, Shearer had already won a Premier League title – with Blackburn – but he could have joined the dominant force that was Sir Alex Ferguson’s Man United. The call of home was far too strong.