Peter Crouch

Ranking the five players to score most headed goals in Premier League history

Traditional target-men have been on the decline in modern football, but an aerial avenue to goal is still among the most effective methods in the game.

We’ve decided to look at a collection of centre-forwards who specialised in the art of headed efforts, ranking the five players with the most headed goals scored in Premier League history.

5. Dwight Yorke – 38

Dwight Yorke might not be the first forward who springs to mind when discussing the Premier League’s best headers of a ball, but the former Aston Villa and Manchester United forward proved hugely effective in the air.

Yorke scored 38 of his 123 goals in the division from headed efforts, including reaching eight headers in a campaign – the joint-second most recorded in a single Premier League season – on two occasions.

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The first of those came in 1995/96, as Yorke fired Aston Villa into Europe. He scored 17 league goals as Villa finished fourth and secured UEFA Cup qualification, with eight coming via his head.

After nine seasons with Villa he moved to Manchester United in 1998 for a then-club record fee of £12.6m. His first season proved spectacular as Yorke fired the Red Devils to a historic treble, as he scored 29 goals in all competitions to win both the Premier League Player of the Season and Golden Boot awards.

The Trinidad and Tobago international reached 20 league goals the following season as United defended the Premier League in 1999/2000, notching eight of that haul with his head.

4. Les Ferdinand – 40

Les Ferdinand was one of the finest centre-forwards in the division during the first decade of the Premier League, with ‘Sir Les’ scoring 60 league goals across three Premier League campaigns at Queens Park Rangers.

That form persuaded Newcastle to spend £6m on Ferdinand, who arrived at St James’ Park as a replacement for the departed Andy Cole.

He hit the ground running with the Magpies during a sensational debut season in 1995/96, one which saw Ferdinand score 25 league goals to win the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award. Eight of those goals came from his head, during a season in which Ferdinand’s formidable frame and finishing tormented Premier League defences.

Alan Shearer’s arrival that summer saw Newcastle form a devastating duo, though their unison lasted just one season before Ferdinand returned to London at Spurs.

He scored 143 goals during his Premier League career, the highest-total of any footballer to have not scored a single penalty.

3. Dion Dublin – 45

Dion Dublin’s aerial threat saw him shine at both centre-back and centre-forward during a career that began in humble surroundings before a rise to the Premier League.

A battering ram at either end of the pitch, he first made his mark in the lower leagues with Cambridge United before an underwhelming two-season spell at Manchester United, in which the setback of a broken leg prevented his hopes of making an impact.

Dublin found a home in the Midlands, however, with prolific spells at Coventry and Aston Villa. The 1995/96 campaign was his most prolific with his head as he scored 57% of his 14 league goals in the air, a haul which helped Coventry survive the drop on goal difference.

Dublin then won a share of the Premier League’s Golden Boot in 1997/98, before a £5.75m move to Aston Villa where he scored seven goals in his first four games for the club.

2. Alan Shearer – 46

Alan Shearer scored a record 260 goals in the Premier League, with 46 of his record-breaking figure coming from his head.

The former England captain’s best football came at Blackburn Rovers, a period in which he scored 112 league goals in 138 games across four seasons. His goals helped Rovers win the Premier League in 1994/95, the club’s first top-flight title in 81 years.

Shearer won the Premier League’s Golden Boot on three occasions, twice with Blackburn and once with Newcastle, having completed a then-world record £15m move to the latter in 1996.

He spent a decade with his hometown side and scored a club-record 206 goals in all competitions, before hanging up his boots as one of the greatest goalscorers in English football history.

1. Peter Crouch – 53

Peter Crouch’s infamous frame provided an aerial advantage for the well-travelled striker, with the 6ft 7in forward often towering above defenders before heading home.

Across a Premier League career of 466 appearances, he represented seven clubs in the top tier, scoring 108 goals.

49% of Crouch’s goals in the top flight came from his head, with the former England international overtaking Shearer’s record to become the first Premier League player to reach a half-century of headed goals.

“If you are a centre-forward, you should be in the box, ready for the ball,” Crouch said after being inducted into the 2018 Guinness World Records book for the most headed goals scored in the Premier League.

“That is the way I have always played my game and that will never change. I see centre-forwards hanging around outside the box and it blows my mind, I just can’t get my head around it.”

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