Eight of the best left-wingers in Premier League history

When football fans refer to players who are worth the admission fee alone, it’s often when discussing the finest wingers in the game.

There’s little more exciting that an adventurous winger who revels in taking on opposition full-backs, with pace, balance and close control leaving defenders dizzied.

We’ve decided to pay tribute to some of the wonderful wingers of the Premier League era, profiling eight of the best left-wingers the division has seen.

Eight of the best left-wingers in Premier League history.

Ryan Giggs

Ryan Giggs spent more than two decades tormenting defenders, the Welsh wonderkid who evolved into one of Manchester United’s all-time greats.

Introduced into the side as a teenager, Giggs’ blistering pace and fleet-footed football saw him command a regular role as Sir Alex Ferguson’s side became the dominant force of the Premier League.

Giggs became the most decorated footballer in English football history, collecting a barely believable 13 league titles, four FA Cups and two Champions League trophies among his honours. No player has ever made more appearances for Manchester United (963), while his 162 assists is a Premier League record.

Giggs was unrelenting in full flow, a blend of dribbling and delivery and capable of weaving through defensive gaps that didn’t appear open. He became the first player in history to win the PFA Young Player of the Year in consecutive seasons before winning the senior award in 2009.

Despite adapting his game to move into a central role during his latter years, the flying forward threat of Giggs in his youth should be the abiding memory of his brilliance.

David Ginola

David Ginola’s stylish swagger perfectly suited a Newcastle United team dubbed ‘The Entertainers‘ under Kevin Keegan, with the flamboyant Frenchman a must-watch winger at his best.

Signed from PSG, Ginola starred as Newcastle battled Manchester United for title success during the mid-nineties, scoring spectacular goals and leaving defenders twisted, turned and terrified.

He was technically gifted, two-footed, entertaining and handsome, the sort of footballer your old man loved and your mum even more so.

He moved on to sign for Spurs and soon won the hearts of those in north London, including a fantastic 1998/99 season that saw Ginola crowned as the PFA Player of the Year.

His individual triumph came while representing a Spurs side that finished 11th in the Premier League table, voted as the league’s best ahead of Manchester United’s treble-winning team. He remains the only player to have won the award for a bottom-half side.

David Ginola wasn’t a great goal scorer, but a glamorous scorer of great goals

Marc Overmars

If there’s one thing that defenders hate more than anything, it’s pace. Arguably the one attribute that is impossible to defend, Marc Overmars had it in abundance.

The turbo-charged Dutchman was spectacular during his spell at Arsenal, having signed for the Gunners from Ajax. His first season saw the north Londoners win a domestic double under Arsene Wenger and it was Overmars who scored the crucial goal in a pendulum-swinging win at title rivals Manchester United.

The diminutive Dutchman’s explosive acceleration had fans on their feet and he so often delivered in crucial moments, including the opener in the 1998 FA Cup final and a brace as Arsenal wrapped up the Premier League title against Everton.

Overmars struggled to recapture the heights of his debut campaign at Arsenal as injuries began to hit, but he departed for Barcelona having scored 41 goals in 142 appearances across three seasons.

Robert Pires

Robert Pires admitted that he had reservations about life in the Premier League after a difficult introduction to English football, but the Frenchman found his feet to become one of the stars of the division.

Pires was magnificent during Arsenal’s golden period under Arsene Wenger, a crucial part of the club’s title successes. Pires was both creative and clinical, popularising the inverted winger role which has since become the norm.

Arsenal’s left-sided axis of the Frenchman, compatriot Thierry Henry and Ashley Cole was one of the most aesthetically pleasing combinations of the Premier League era as the trio interchanged to devastating effect.

Pires was named as the FWA Footballer of the Year during Arsenal’s double season in 2001/02 and was excellent during the club’s Invincibles campaign two seasons later. He scored 14 league goals from a wide role in three consecutive seasons for the Gunners and netted 87 in all competitions for the club.

Golazo Merchants: Arsenal’s Gallic genius, Robert Pires

Gareth Bale

Gareth Bale’s stuttering start at Tottenham almost saw the Welshman moved on, a scenario Spurs were grateful never happened after his incredible evolution. Bale’s six seasons in north London saw him transform from struggling full-back to unstoppable winger, a tour de force of speed, stamina and skill.

His incredible destruction of Inter Milan right-back Maicon – then regarded as arguably the world’s best in his position – during the 2010/11 season saw the world sit up and take notice, the first real sign that Bale was destined for world-class levels.

He won the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award that season, before earning the accolade for a second time in 2012/13. The list of multiple winners in the Premier League era: Alan Shearer, Thierry Henry, Cristiano Ronaldo, Bale, Kevin De Bruyne and Mohamed Salah is a testament to the level of that achievement.

That final season at Spurs saw Bale at his brilliant best, a rampaging force of elite athleticism. He was head and shoulders above the rest of the league, scoring 21 league goals which included a catalogue of spectacular efforts from range. Such performances predictably attracted attention, with Bale becoming the world’s most expensive player when leaving the Premier League for Real Madrid.

Iconic Performances: The memorable night in the San Siro when Bale announced his genius

Eden Hazard

Those who played alongside Eden Hazard often eulogise about the brilliant Belgian, a wideman with incredible natural talent and a gift for gliding past defenders.

Hazard spent seven seasons at Chelsea and was the leading light of the club’s title triumphs in 2015 and 2017, the first of which saw the winger named as the Premier League’s finest talent. Hazard was a footballer for who numbers did not do justice, but rather the eye test of watching him slalom past defenders in signature smooth fashion.

His low centre of gravity allowed him to wriggle round the outstretched legs of opposition challenges, while he could accelerate sharply past his marker before stopping still, equally as quick, to leave them headed rapidly in the wrong direction.

Hazard scored 110 goals in all competitions for Chelsea and won six major trophies, before departing with the Blues faithful full of fond memories and favourite moments.

“He should have been the best player in the world,” former Lille team-mate Joe Cole told The Athletic. β€œThat little spell where Luka Modric won the Ballon d’Or – that should have been Eden Hazard. But he lives his life to be happy. To be content. And there’s plenty to be said for that.

β€œHe’s a beautiful artist. The best I ever played with. He’s not got the mindset of a Ronaldo or a Messi, and that’s fine. He’s given so much joy to Lille and Chelsea fans over the years and won so many trophies that he should be proud. He achieved it all playing with a smile on his face, enjoying himself.”

Son Heung-min

Son Heung-min has been a pioneer for Asian footballers in the Premier League, with perhaps only compatriot Park Ji-sung able to rival the South Korean’s contribution to English football.

Son has scored 145 goals in 342 games for Tottenham and is the only Asian player to reach a century of Premier League goals, with the wide-forward having been a consistent goalscoring threat across eight seasons in north London.

Son has scored 10+ league goals in seven straight seasons and has formed a formidable partnership with Harry Kane. The dovetailing duo have smashed the Premier League record for goal combinations and have carried the weight of expectation at Spurs.

His fantastic finishing saw Son become the first Asian to win the Premier League’s Golden Boot during the 2021/22 season, while he holds the all-time record for most weak-foot goals in the division.

Sadio Mane

Sadio Mane was a crucial signing for Jurgen Klopp. The first big-money arrival of his tenure, the Senegalese star helped Liverpool to Champions League qualification during his debut season and pushed the first domino on their climb to major trophies.

Mane had piqued the interest of the Reds recruitment team while at Southampton, with a series of electric performances – including a record-breaking hat-trick scored inside two minutes and 56 seconds against Aston Villa – persuading Liverpool to secure his services.

At Anfield he evolved into one of world football’s finest, forming part of a formidable front three alongside Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino. That trio tormented teams as Liverpool won a host of honours, including the 2019 Champions League and the 2019/20 Premier League – the club’s first top-flight crown in three decades.

Mane was a mix of work-rate and skill, pace and power, his bursts infield leaving defenders for dead as he racked up the goals. He scored 120 goals in six seasons at Liverpool and was named in the PFA Team of the Season on four occasions, while a 22-goal campaign earned Mane a share of the Premier League’s Golden Boot in 2018/19.

Read –Β Eight of the best strikers in Premier League history

Read Also –Β Eight of the best defensive midfielders in Premier League history

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