Top 10 Premier League Captains Ranked

Vincent Kompany
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The best ever Premier League captains

The Premier League has been home to some of the finest and most exciting teams in the history of football, from Manchester United’s dominant Class of ’92 to Arsenal’s Invincibles.

Every great side has a great leader. However, not all great leaders are part of great sides. The top tier of English football has seen an abundance of inspirational and determined captains, leading their sides with strength, skill and grit.

Here, we take a look at the top 10 club captains of the Premier League era. We have ranked the famous leaders from their actions on and off the pitch and their trophy cabinet and not just how many medals they have won.

10. Dennis Wise

From 1992 to 2001, Dennis Wise made 261 Premier League appearances for Chelsea and left the club in the summer of '01 after stepping out 445 times for the club.

Wise played alongside gifted technicians like Gianfranco Zola and Ruud Gullit, adding a strong, no-nonsense grittiness to Chelsea’s midfield before the turn of the century. Prior to John Terry, Wise was the Blues' most successful ever captain, winning two FA cups a League Cup and a UEFA Winners' Cup whilst wearing the armband.

A true legend of Stamford Bridge and perhaps if he was around in the Roman Abramovich era, he would rank much higher in this list.

9. Ledley King

The greatest talent that never was?

Ledley King was plagued by injuries. The Tottenham Hotspur legend was a man who was never able to hit the heights he could have. So much so, that almost everyone who seems have played with him ranked King as the toughest defender they faced.

The Englishman was made club captain of Spurs by Martin Jol in 2005, and he went on to keep the armband until his retirement in 2012. Although, the centre-back was cursed with knee injuries that hindered his playing career, depriving Spurs of his exemplary leadership from the back and England from a legendary figure.

During his time with the north London club, King played 268 Premier League games at the heart of the defence.

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8. Wes Morgan

The one man who gets in this list after one memorable season.

Wes Morgan earned the captaincy after just one year of with Leicester City and has worn the armband since 2012. However, it's that one year in 2015/16 which gets him into eighth place.

Leicester City’s title-winning side of 2015/16 will go down in football folklore as not just the Premier League's greatest upset, but perhaps in the history of any sport ever.

Morgan captained them that year, starting every one of their 38 league games, keeping a staggering total of 15 clean sheets for the season and upsetting the odds of 5000/1 to win the title.

This man was made captain after just eight months at the club for a reason. Morgan will go down in Leicester’s history as the captain who lifted the most shocking title win we've ever seen. For this reason alone, he has to make it inside the top 10.

7. Alan Shearer

When discussions of the Premier League’s all-time best players arise, Alan Shearer is always included as arguably the best striker the league has ever seen.

The former Newcastle United, Southampton, Blackburn Rovers and England striker scored a record-breaking 260 Premier League goals during his club career – a record that is yet to be beaten today.

What makes Shearer such a great captain, however, is his loyalty to his boyhood club, Newcastle. He played 329 games for the Magpies and stayed loyal to them through their most difficult of times, earning himself a legendary status amongst Newcastle fans.

Although he never won anything with the club, Shearer's record-breaking 206 goals for the club and leadership throughout the 10 years easily put him in this list.

6. Vincent Kompany

Vincent Kompany captained Manchester City into their new era of Premier League dominance, leading some of the greatest sides the league has ever seen.

During his career at the Etihad, the Belgian won four league titles, two FA Cups and four League Cups as captain, leading from the back and commanding the club to countless victories during his 11 years.

The Sky Blues legend was known for his instrumental leadership and courageous defending at centre-back. Kompany even scored some crucial goals for the club, including a 30-yard winner against Leicester and a thunderous header against Manchester United - both goals were ultimately the difference in pipping Liverpool and United to the title, respectively.

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5. Steven Gerrard

Steven Gerrard has featured in many debates on who was the best midfielder to grace the Premier League, playing with Liverpool for 17 years.

Although famously never winning the Premier League, Gerrard is hailed as one of the all-time great captains for his loyalty to his boyhood club, opting to stay with a struggling Reds side when given the opportunity to win titles with Chelsea.

The midfield maestro amassed a total of 504 league appearances for the Reds, scoring 120 and assisting 92 goals from the heart of the Anfield club’s midfield.

Gerrard doesn't need much justification, but it is easy to overlook his worth as a captain just because he never lifted the title. Although not in the Premier League, don't forget Istanbul.

4. Patrick Vieira

Patrick Vieira took the armband from Arsenal legend Tony Adams after his retirement in 2002, serving as Arsenal captain until he left the club in 2005.

The French midfielder was part of three title-winning sides with Arsenal, captaining the Gunners to their famous ‘"Invincibles" season in 2004. Viera's nine years with the club also included three FA Cups under Arsene Wenger.

The Highbury legend's strong leadership qualities and determination to win brought an era of success for Arsenal, making him one of the Premier League’s best ever captains, and sixth on this list.

3. Tony Adams

Tony Adams earned himself the nickname ‘Mr. Arsenal’ on account of his 14 years as captain of the Gunners, winning 10 major trophies in 669 appearances for the north London side.

As a captain, Adams picked up the armband at just 21 and personified leadership. The Gunners legend would captain the club to two Premier League titles and only gave up the role as their leader because of his retirement in 2002.

The English centre-half spent his entire career playing at Highbury and is one of the greatest and most loyal captains to play in the top tier of English football for Arsenal.

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2. John Terry

Terry is one of the most complete central defenders Europe has ever seen. The Blues legend was able to make crucial tackles, dominant anybody aerially, score goals, whilst wearing his heart on his sleeve for Chelsea.

The English centre-back played for most of his career with Chelsea, making 492 Premier League appearances for the club and keeping an astounding 214 clean sheets. His consistently powerful performances for the Blues helped them to secure five Premier League trophies, transforming them into one Europe's heavyweights.

Terry’s accolades and accomplishments are what have earned him second place on this list, as one of the Premier League all-time greatest players and captains.

1. Roy Keane

Roy Keane is at the top of this list as the greatest Premier League captain we have seen, and, it's rare you will find someone who argues otherwise.

The Irish midfielder won a grand total of seven Premier League titles, captaining Manchester United to four of those titles, including back to back wins from the 1998/99 season to the 1999/2000 season.

Keane’s brutal ruling of the midfield during his 366 Premier League appearances helped the Red Devils to become the most successful Premier League team of all time. It's simple, players were scared to not perform to his demands as captain, which ultimately, brought out the winner in everybody.

Nobody has led with more of an example on being the best and nobody has struck fear into the hearts more often. Keane is as good as it gets with the armband.

By Bradley Beecham


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