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Five highest scoring Welshmen in Premier League history

Wales may have enjoyed limited success on the international stage throughout the years, but the nation has undoubtedly produced some of the finest players the Premier League has seen.

Several of the country’s very best have gone on to establish themselves as iconic figures in the top tier of English football, and we’ve decided to look at some of the Dragons’ greatest goalscorers of the Premier League era.

Here are the five highest scoring Welshmen in Premier League history:

John Hartson – 55 goals

The towering target-man became the most expensive teenager in British football history when signing for Arsenal from Luton Town, where he quickly showed he belonged at the highest level and memorably scored in the club’s Cup Winners’ Cup final defeat to Real Zaragoza in 1995.

Squeezed out following the arrival of Dennis Bergkamp, however, he moved on to West Ham and enjoyed the most prolific spell of his Premier League career, scoring 33 goals in 73 appearances for the Hammers in all competitions.

After mistaking the head of teammate Eyal Berkovic for a football in a training ground bust-up, the burly Hartson later enjoyed an impressive three-year spell at Wimbledon after becoming the club’s record-signing before a single season stint at Coventry.

He scored 55 top flight goals before a move north of the border to Celtic, winning three league titles during a memorable spell in Glasgow that saw him named as the PFA Scotland’s Player’s Player of the Year in 2005.

Mark Hughes – 64 goals

The finest football of Mark Hughes’ career perhaps came pre-Premier League, but ‘Sparky’ was still a hugely influential figure during Manchester United’s early successes in the newly branded division.

Hughes scored 15 league goals as the club ended a 26-year wait for a league title during the Premier League’s inaugural campaign, before hitting 22 goals in all competitions the following year as Sir Alex Ferguson’s side completed a famed domestic double.

The Welshman later moved onto Chelsea and helped the west London side to League Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup success, proving a regular source of goals for the Blues during a three-year stint at Stamford Bridge.

Brief spells at Southampton, Everton and Blackburn followed before his retirement in 2001, the forward’s 64 goals making him the fourth-highest scoring Welshmen in Premier League history.

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Gary Speed – 80 goals

One of the great Premier League servants, the late, great Gary Speed brought a touch of class to a succession of top flight sides including Leeds, Everton, Newcastle and Bolton.

The midfielder proved to be a model of consistency throughout his 535 top-flight appearances – a record at the time of his retirement – possessing a sweet left foot and an ability to arrive into the box and influence proceedings with vital goals.

Speed’s professionalism saw him play past his 40th birthday and his renowned leadership saw him captain several of his sides, whilst only two Welsh players have ever managed more than his 80 Premier League goals.

His tragic death aged just 42 remains a devastating loss to the footballing community.

Craig Bellamy – 81 goals

The fiery forward was a fans’ favourite at a host of Premier League sides, though his tempestuous nature often saw him bounce between clubs during a long career at the highest level.

Bellamy earned his first chance at Premier League level with Coventry but after one season and relegation, moved onto Newcastle where he enjoyed a fine four-year spell, scoring regularly as the Magpies secured back-to-back top four finishes.

Clashes with teammates – most notably a golf club incident with John Arne Riise at Liverpool – dogged Bellamy’s career, but he was a fine player in full flight, a live-wire of a centre-forward with pace to burn and a constant desire to hassle and harry defenders.

He scored 81 Premier League goals during a career that also included stints at Blackburn, West Ham, Manchester City and home-town club Cardiff, and remains the only player in the division’s history to have scored for seven different clubs.

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Ryan Giggs – 109 goals

Arguably the greatest Welsh footballer of all-time and certainly amongst the best in Premier League history, the career of Ryan Giggs is one difficult to comprehend in terms of both longevity and success.

The most decorated player in the history of English football, Giggs burst onto the scene as a teenager at Manchester United and spent his entire career at Old Trafford, playing past his 40th birthday and winning a barely believable 13 league titles.

Two Champions League titles would also be added to his 34 trophies won, Giggs having made more appearances for the Red Devils than any other player.

No Welsh player has ever scored more than his 109 Premier League goals, whilst no player – of any nationality – can better his divisional record of 162 assists.

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