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EPL team of the decade - 2000s

Sinjan Ballav
ANALYST

Defenders

Ashley Cole (Left Back)

ashley cole

Ashley Cole is widely considered as the greatest English left back of all time. Cole was an integral part of the Arsenal Invincibles which went on to win the Premier League title undefeated in 2004. The England international then made a controversial move to London rivals Chelsea in 2006 after being offered a contract he couldn’t refuse with William Gallas moving the other way.

A world class left back who was quick and had an outstanding ability to read the game, Ashley Cole was one of the few players who could keep Cristiano Ronaldo in his pocket at his prime. He wrecked havoc in attack down the left flank for both Arsenal and Chelsea, but always being there when his team needed him in defence.

Ashley Cole, in many ways, was a perfect full-back capable of walking into many such lists such as this.

Cole was inducted to the PFA Team of the Year four times in his career. He won the Premier League thrice and the FA Cup a record seven times. After moving to Roma in 2014 following a World Cup snub by Roy Hodgson, Cole now plies his trade for Major League Soccer side LA Galaxy.


Rio Ferdinand (Central Defence)

rio ferdinand

Rio Ferdinand is one of those rare English centre-backs who possessed an immense amount of technical ability and was more in the mould of continental players. He broke the British transfer record twice and makes the list as one of the centre-backs.

An outstandingly talented player from the West Ham academy, Rio Ferdinand moved to Leeds United where he developed significantly for Manchester United to come calling in 2002 signing him for another record fee of 30 million pounds. His positional play, accurate tackling, distribution of the ball and reading of the game made him one of the best defenders in England and was integral in Manchester United’s exploits in the 2000s.

Ferdinand won six Premier League titles in his time at Old Trafford and famously lifted the Champions League trophy in 2008 after United defeated Chelsea in the finals of the competition. After years of serving Manchester United in the Alex Ferguson era where he established himself as an outstanding defender, Ferdinand played for QPR in the 2014-15 season before announcing his retirement in 2015.


John Terry (Central Defence)

john terry

A centre back who may not be known for the grace he exudes on the pitch, John Terry is one of a kind player who went on to become one of the best defenders in the world largely because of his sheer will and determination to give his best every time he stepped onto the pitch

A Chelsea academy graduate, John Terry has been a beacon of solidarity for the Blues ever since breaking into the first team in 2000. Despite not being the fastest defenders around, John Terry’s skill lies in his brilliant reading of the game and selfless service for his team. Terry’s leadership qualities on and off the field are not unnoticed as the Chelsea fans gave him the title of ‘Captain. Leader. Legend.’

One of the finest defenders to come out of England, John Terry has won four Premier League titles for the Blues. He deservingly redeemed himself by lifting the Champions League trophy (in spite of being suspended in the final) in 2012 after a penalty shootout slip had handed Manchester United the title in 2008. 


Gary Neville (Right Back)

gary neville

An integral part of Sir Alex Ferguson’s Red Army wich dominated the Premier League in the 2000s, Gary Neville makes it to the list as a no-nonsense defender who epitomised hard work and commitment and gave it all for the fans at Old Trafford.

The full-back was known both for his defensive and attacking prowess, often finding pockets of space in the flanks to let free a winger to run with the ball. He wasn’t the quickest or the strongest, but his tactical awareness and work rate more than made it up for his lack of technical abilities.

In his time at Manchester United which spanned twenty years, Gary Neville won eight Premier League titles along with two Champions League trophies. He was a firm favourite at Old Trafford and one of the best right backs to play in the Premier League.

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Edited by Staff Editor

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