Between 2010 and 2020, four different teams have won the title. Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Leicester City have all lifted the trophy. We’ve also seen a fair few superstars in the last 10 years, with the likes of Sergio Aguero, Luis Suarez and Eden Hazard all gracing the pitch in England’s top flight.
In this article, we will have a look at the best Premier League players of the last decade, i.e. from 1st Jan 2010. Success is a big factor in the rankings. So we’re talking league titles, PFA Player of the Year awards, Golden Boots, Golden Glove awards etc. Longevity and consistency is also considered important.
Here are the 10 best Premier League players of the last decade –
10. James Milner
Milner’s Premier League decade started in an Aston Villa midfield alongside Stiliyan Petrov, behind Emile Heskey and in front of Carlos Cuellar, Stephen Warnock and Richard Dunne. It will end as a valued member of the European champions and Club World cup winners. A couple of Manchester City titles in between make James Milner an unsinkable island of constant serenity in choppy top-flight waters.
There have been better players this decade, ones blessed with more skill, ability, technique and quality. But for longevity and dedication, few come close to matching the 33-year-old.
9. Jamie Vardy
Vardy made his Premier League debut aged 26, scored one goal and assisted four against Manchester United on his first start, shattered records and lifted the title in his second season. At 33, Vardy shows signs of neither slowing nor settling down.
Vardy had dreamt of being a professional footballer through his childhood and then been released by Sheffield Wednesday at the age of 15. College, a job, his mates, love life and money then become the priorities; football is marginalised to the fringes. We’re told to never stop dreaming, but life often moves too fast for dreams.
Far less often, dreams catch back up with life. Less than six months later, Vardy finally became a full-time professional when signing for Halifax Town. Less than three years later, Vardy joined Leicester City in the Championship. Less than six years later, he made his England debut. Less than seven years later, he broke the the Premier League record for scoring in consecutive matches and won the league title. As a decade of English football draws to a close, Vardy is the hero in the most astonishing individual story.
8. N’Golo Kante
There is little doubt that N’Golo Kante was one of the best signings of this or any decade when Leicester City paid Caen just £5 million for 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.
7. Yaya Toure
The capture of Yaya Toure from Barcelona by Manchester City was transformative in the sense that it showed peak talents that they could move to an emerging force and still win.
He would go on to become the centrepiece of two Premier League title winning sides and earned another as a bit-part player under Pep Guardiola.
He kick-started City’s era of dominance with a scarcely-believable 20 goals from midfield during the 2013-14 season. He was twice voted into the PFA Premier League Team of the Year and was awarded the title of African Footballer of the Year on two occasions, as well as being named City’s Player of the Year in 2014.
6. David de Gea
De Gea bounced back after a nervy start to establish himself as the best goalkeeper in the league since his move to Old Trafford in 2011. That he was named United’s Best Player of the Season three times and in the PFA Premier League team of the year five times since his debut, shows his overall quality.
It is not often that the goalkeeper is considered the most important player at a club, and not a club like United who boast of attacking riches. The truth though is that without the Spaniard, the Red Devils would have finished in bottom mid-table a couple of times in the recent past.