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Lefties: Picking an all-time left footed Premier League XI

For some unbeknown reasoning, left-footed footballers tend to possess a mystique that their right-footed counterparts simply do not.

Preference for the left side is less common, of course, though even with that statistic some of the game’s all-time greats including Lionel Messi, Diego Maradona and Ferenc Puskas were all very much lefties.

 

The Premier League has also played host to some fine left-footed footballers throughout its near three decade existence, and we’ve decided to compile the very best into a talented if unbalanced side.

Goalkeeper: Petr Cech

Oddly, one of the most competitive positions on our team sheet was in goal, with several leading Premier League goalkeepers including the likes of Thibaut Courtois, Hugo Lloris and Ederson dominant on their left side.

We’ve opted, quite rightly, for the goalkeeper with the most clean sheets in the division’s entire history, four-time Premier League title winner Petr Cech.

In an era of lavish spending at Chelsea, the £7m paid to sign the Czech international from Rennes proved one of the shrewdest acquisitions of the Blues’ recent history, Cech a formidable last line of defence as the west London side claimed back-to-back league titles under Jose Mourinho – the first coming with an all-time record low of just 15 goals conceded.

Cech won the Premier League’s Golden Glove during that debut season in English football, the first of a joint-record four times he won the honour alongside Joe Hart.

The goalkeeper made almost 500 appearances in all competitions for Chelsea and won 13 major honours, later lifting the FA Cup during a four-season spell at Arsenal and becoming the only goalkeeper ever to reach 200 Premier League clean sheets.

Centre-back: Jan Vertonghen

Our uber-attacking side will be marshalled by a back three, with Tottenham stalwart Jan Vertonghen the first of our left-footed defensive line up.

The most capped player in the history of the Belgian national side, Vertonghen has twice been named in the PFA Team of the Year and provided a reliable defensive presence in over 300 appearances for the north London side.

Spurs may have been unable to deliver silverware in recent seasons but the defender has shone for arguably the club’s strongest side of the Premier League era, forming a solid partnership alongside compatriot Toby Alderweireld and showcasing his versatility in occasionally filling in at left-back.

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Centre-back: Aymeric Laporte

Alongside Vertonghen and at the heart of our defence is current Manchester City defender Aymeric Laporte, the Frenchman having oozed class since his arrival from Athletic Bilbao in January 2018.

The defender has helped Pep Guardiola’s side to back-to-back league titles as well as the first domestic treble in English football history, whilst his importance to the side has been evident by City’s faltering form in his absence through injury this season.

Strong defensively and comfortable in possession, Guardiola has often spoken of the balance Laporte brings to the Etihad side and has labelled the centre-back the ‘best left-sided central defender in world football’.

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Centre-back: Ashley Cole

Ok, we’re massively cheating here by placing Cole on the left-hand side of our central back three, but given that left-footed right-backs are seemingly rarer than rocking horse sh*t, pigeon-holing one of the division’s greatest ever defenders seems fine to me.

Arguably the greatest left-back of his generation and in the Premier League era, Cole was a formidable attacking threat while also defensively brilliant, forming part of two title-winning sides at Arsenal before a trophy-laden spell across the capital at London rivals Chelsea.

Cole earned over a century of caps for the England national team and won 13 major honours throughout an illustrious career, including three league title, the 2012 Champions League and a record seven FA Cups.

Midfield: Gary Speed

Providing the midfield balance in our left-footed XI is the late, great Gary Speed.

The former Wales international made 535 Premier League appearances during a distinguished career at the top level, taking in spells at Leeds, Everton, Newcastle, Bolton and Sheffield United.

Consistent and reliable, Speed inspired those around him and was a natural leader at the heart of the side for each of his clubs, a box-to-box midfield presence who developed a penchant for arriving in the box to score vital goals.

A popular figure and consummate professional who played well into his late 30’s, the footballing world still sadly mourns the tragic loss of Speed after he took his own life in 2011.

Midfield: David Silva

David Silva’s decade at Manchester City will come to an end this summer, but the Spaniard’s place amongst the Premier League’s all-time greats is assured following his influential role in the club’s rise to the summit of English football.

The diminutive Spaniard has made over 300 league appearances for the Etihad side since his arrival from Valencia, winning four league titles and seven domestic cups amongst his wealth of honours.

Silva’s effortless ability to find pockets of space and thread passes has seen him stand-out amongst the very best playmakers England’s top tier has seen, the star affectionately nicknamed El Mago by the adoring City faithful.

Regarded by many as the greatest player in the club’s history, Silva’s creativity has been central to his side’s success in recent years and he is seventh on the all-time list for Premier League assists (90).

Midfield: Ryan Giggs

The most decorated player in the history of English football, Giggs’ career at Manchester United delivered records and achievements that may well never be matched.

The Welshman’s quality and longevity saw him star during a dominant era under Sir Alex Ferguson, playing a part in each one of the Scots’ 13 league title successes and scoring in a record 21 consecutive Premier League seasons.

Only Gareth Barry has made more appearances in the division than Giggs, whilst no player can better his tally of 162 assists. Giggs emerged as a left-winger before adopting a creative central role, a generational talent who spent over two decades at the very top.

See also – 15 of the best quotes about Man Utd legend, Giggs

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Right-wing: Mohamed Salah

Salah’s arrival at Liverpool helped transform a good team into a great one, arriving from Roma and setting a whole host of goalscoring records to help transform Jurgen Klopp’s team into European champions and the Premier League’s finest side at present.

His debut season saw him break the record for most goals in a 38-game Premier League campaign (32), setting a host of single-season records along the way, including most games scored in (24), most left-footed goals (25) and becoming the first player in history to outscore three of the division’s teams (West Brom, Swansea and Huddersfield).

Named as the PFA Player of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year, he retained the Golden Boot last season after finishing level at the top with Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and teammate Sadio Mane.

Left-wing: Gareth Bale

Gareth Bale’s rise to Real Madrid Galactico came after a golden period in the colours of Tottenham, the Welsh winger peerless in the Premier League during his final seasons in north London.

Bale’s latter years as a Spurs player saw him become a unique proposition, an incredible blend of athleticism and technique marking him one of the most exciting talents the Premier League has witnessed.

Twice named as the PFA Player of the Year, Bale’s final season in English football is one of the most memorable in recent history as he scored 21 league goals to win a clean sweep of individual honours – adding the FWA Footballer of the Year and PFA Young Player of the Year awards to his second senior PFA gong.

See also – Remembering just how phenomenal Gareth Bale was during the 2012/13 Premier League season

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Forward: Robin van Persie

Van Persie spent eight seasons at Arsenal and evolved from injury-hit winger to talismanic central forward, enjoying a prolific run of form during his latter years and winning the Premier League’s Golden Boot in his final season at the Emirates.

The Netherlands international departed in a controversial move to Manchester United in search of silverware, however, Sir Alex Ferguson capitalising on a contract situation to snare the reigning Footballer of the Year.

The move turned out to be inspired as Van Persie proved to be the difference in Ferguson’s final title success, scoring 26 goals to become just the second player – after Alan Shearer – to win consecutive Golden Boots at two different clubs.

Forward: Robbie Fowler

No player in Premier League history has ever scored more left-footed goals than Robbie Fowler, a player often described among the most natural finishers the Premier League has seen.

Fowler burst onto the scene as a teenager at Liverpool and scored prolifically for the Merseyside club, being named as the PFA Young Player of the Year in back-to-back seasons following a goal-laden spell at Anfield.

The Toxteth-born star scored 120 league goals during his first spell at the club before moves to Leeds and Manchester City, later returning for a second stint with the Reds under Rafael Benitez in 2006.

Fowler finished his career with 163 top flight goals, the seventh-highest in the competition’s history and the highest tally of any left-footed player.

Read – The English clubs with the most points earned in the top flight since 1888

See also – 90’s Football Hall of Fame: Super Dan Petrescu

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