Premier League best XI: Ronaldo, Vieira, Lampard, but no Henry

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Selecting an all-time best Premier League XI sounds easy, right? Over 28 seasons, since the competition began in 1992-93, there have been a host of world-class players and record-breaking achievements, as well as plenty of stars who have either shone briefly or others who have performed at the top for almost two decades.

Some have amassed a huge medal collection, others have won nothing, or won everything except the Premier League itself. Six clubs have lifted the Premier League trophy — Manchester United lead the way with 13 titles — and within all of those teams, there have been players who made themselves indispensable and became Premier League legends.

But only 11 can make a team, and some seriously great players won’t make the cut. You can be certain that everybody will end with a different all-star XI, but here goes in a 4-1-2-3 formation.2

Perhaps the easiest selection of them all. The likes of Petr Cech, David Seaman and Edwin van der Sar were huge figures during the Premier League era — providing the foundation for a series of title wins for Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United respectively — but none of them were as influential as Schmeichel at United.

The Dane was as crucial to United’s dominance of the 1990s as Eric Cantona and Roy Keane, making as many match-winning or match-saving contributions as any of his teammates. He could throw the ball with pinpoint accuracy as far as he could kick it, and he intimidated opposition forwards with his presence and agility.

This was a tough one. Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold is developing into one of the leading right-backs in the world at Anfield and the 20-year-old could yet become the best the Premier League has seen, but in terms of reliability, durability, longevity and success, Neville has to be the selection. The former Manchester United captain made his debut as a 17-year-old in September 1992 and played his final game in January 2011, making 602 appearances for Sir Alex Ferguson’s team, winning 17 major honours including eight Premier League titles.

Defensively, Neville was a classic full-back, but he could also overlap and contribute going forward, albeit without the spectacular number of assists that Alexander-Arnold produces for Liverpool. If you want a full-back to make defending a priority, Neville remains the best.