The Premier League is often referred to as the most demanding league in world football, played at a frenetic tempo and players often require elite athleticism to thrive.
No position is perhaps as physically demanding as being at the heart of a midfield battle, but these select stars have impressively managed to be ever-presents despite the rigorous intensity of England’s top tier.
We’ve decided to take a look at the nine midfielders to have featured in every Premier League game so far this season and assess their respective impacts:
Mason Mount – Chelsea
Amongst a collection of academy graduates to have starred for Chelsea so far this season, Mount honed his talents during a loan-spell under Frank Lampard at Derby last season before being handed his opportunity by the newly-appointed Blues boss this term.
Mount has quickly established himself as a key figure in the west London side’s squad and has featured in all of their league fixtures to date, scoring an impressive six Premier League goals and providing a further four assists.
Mount’s industry and creativity has also seen him recognised with regular inclusion in the England squad, with Gareth Southgate a huge admirer of a player set for a big future for both club and country.
The 21-year-old has adapted seamlessly to life at the top level and will hope to improve further as part of an exciting young side at Stamford Bridge.
Declan Rice – West Ham
Declan Rice’s future at West Ham continues to be a source of speculation given their struggles this season, the midfielder having been strongly linked with moves to Manchester United and Chelsea in recent months.
The England international has been a rare bright spot in an otherwise disastrous campaign for the Hammers thus far, David Moyes’ side facing a real fight to stay in the division at present.
Comfortable in possession and a fine reader of the game, the 21-year-old has largely thrived in a defensive midfield role despite many feeling his long-term position could come at centre-back.
West Ham’s poor management at all levels is likely to lead to the departure of their prized asset regardless of the outcome of their survival battle, Rice enhancing his personal reputation with a series of mature performances in a side lacking any form of unity.
Ruben Neves – Wolves
A favourite of the footballing purists, Ruben Neves just oozes class at the centre of an impressive Wolves side, the Portuguese playmaker the club’s chief conductor and an instrumental part of Nuno Espirito Santo’s game-plan.
The midfielder combines an elite passing range with a willingness to work for his side, his ability to effortlessly switch the play to either full-back or winger a key part of Wolves’ attacking strategy.
Arguably the key component of a side seeking Champions League qualification ahead of the run-in, Neves will be hoping to return to a stage on which many feel he belongs.
We need to talk about how good Ruben Neves is at football 🤤pic.twitter.com/jxwCQFxu0V
— Goal (@goal) June 22, 2020
Joao Moutinho – Wolves
Featuring alongside Neves for each of Wolves’ league games this season is compatriot and midfield partner Moutinho, the Portuguese international having proven to be one of the club’s shrewdest investments since returning to the Premier League.
The 33-year-old continues to thrive despite his advancing years, dictating the play for the Molineux side and contributing one goal and six assists in his 32 appearances so far this season. Named as the club’s Player of the Season last term, Moutinho’s ever-present presence this term has contributed to a campaign which could see Wolves secure a historic top four finish.
The third of Wolves’ midfield ranks to make this list, Dendoncker has provided the defensive platform to allow his playmaking Portuguese teammates to thrive in the Midlands.
An understated and perhaps underrated member of Nuno’s Wolves side, Dendoncker has also showcased his versatility by dropping into the club’s back three on occasion this season.
The Belgian international has been a model of consistency at Wolves since his move from Anderlecht two years ago, the 25-year-old an unsung hero who often allows others around him to take the plaudits.
Three wins from three games since the restart for Wolves 💯
Man of the Match Leander Dendoncker gives his thoughts on another successful day at the office…
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) June 27, 2020
James Ward-Prowse – Southampton
Southampton’s season of struggle has been revitalised following a resurgence under Ralph Hasenhuttl, the Saints surging clear of the relegation places and now eyeing an unlikely place in Europe next season.
Danny Ings’ run towards the Golden Boot aside, much of Southampton’s threat has come via the cultured right-foot of Ward-Prowse, the midfielder’s delivery a potent weapon from either set-pieces or open play.
The 25-year-old has scored five league goals including a fine free-kick against Watford last time out, his importance to the south coast side emphasised with his appointment as club captain earlier this month.
5 – James Ward-Prowse has scored five direct free kick goals in the Premier League since the start of 2017-18 – the most of any player in the competition in this period. Execution. #WATSOU pic.twitter.com/yciY7vcddH
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 28, 2020
Dwight McNeil – Burnley
McNeil burst onto the scene at Burnley last season and has continued to enhance his burgeoning reputation this time around, the likes of Everton, Leicester and both Manchester clubs having been tentatively linked with prising the winger away from Turf Moor.
The 20-year-old has a fine left foot and is capable of playing in a variety of roles, equally adept on the left-hand side or in a more central creative position.
Only Trent Alexander-Arnold has provided more assists amongst English players in the Premier League this season, the youngster’s contribution having gone somewhat under the radar in a Burnley side largely void of creative quality.
McNeil has the talent and potential to truly flourish should he be given a greater platform, which could come with a major move this summer.
6 – Burnley's Dwight McNeil has assisted more @premierleague goals (six) than any of his teammates this season; indeed, the winger has surpassed his assist tally for all of last season (five). Craft. #BURWAT pic.twitter.com/1WOel2oZXx
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 25, 2020
Todd Cantwell – Norwich
Another promising homegrown talent who has starred in a struggling side, Norwich’s return to the Premier League looks likely to end in a swift return to the second tier despite the efforts of Cantwell.
The winger has provided an end product that has been woefully lacking amongst his teammates despite Daniel Farke’s commendable attacking approach, scoring seven goals in all competitions and developing a reputation as a big-game player, netting against Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United.
Cantwell’s work-rate, unpredictable style and fearless attitude have won many admirers and the Canaries face a fight to hold onto a player who looks at home at Premier League level.
Todd Cantwell has this season scored against:
⚽️ Man City
⚽️ Man Utd
A sweet strike to bring Norwich level. pic.twitter.com/3ay6RySKTu
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) June 27, 2020
Oliver Norwood – Sheffield United
Sheffield United’s success story has been built on collective strength and the brilliantly innovative system implemented by Chris Wilder at Bramall Lane.
The Blades have won plaudits all over the pitch this season with the likes of Dean Henderson, John Fleck and Lys Mousset having all impressed, but amongst the most vital components of the side’s style is midfielder Norwood.
The 29-year-old has spent his career in the lower leagues since failing to make the grade at Manchester United, but after winning three consecutive promotions to the Premier League was finally handed his opportunity in the top tier this term.
Brighton and Fulham both allowed the midfielder to leave upon promotion, but that has looked like a mistake following Norwood’s performances this term, a classy customer who has helped keep Wilder’s side ticking during a memorable campaign so far.