We’re continuing our run through of candidates for the Premier League Hall of Fame, following the announcement of inaugural inductees Alan Shearer and Thierry Henry.
The celebration of the division’s finest is set to include some of the greatest names in Premier League history, with a 23-man shortlist having been announced for the next players to be immortalised.
Here are five right-backs who should be included in the Premier League Hall of Fame.
Part of an Arsenal back four still celebrated for their defensive reliance today, Dixon signed for the north London side during the pre-Premier League era before forming part of the club’s defence for the first decade of the rebranded division.
Dixon was part of the old-school style of full-back in which stopping opponents overrode attacking intentions, proving a determined defender and making 305 Premier League appearances for the Gunners.
Having twice won the First Division title before the Premier League’s inception, the right-back added a whole host of further silverware, including forming part of the side that won a domestic cup double in 1992/93 and winning two further titles as part of domestic doubles under Arsene Wenger in both 1998 and 2002.
Dixon finished his career having made 616 appearances in all competitions for the Gunners, scoring 28 goals and winning eight major honours.
No right-back has ever enjoyed more Premier League success than Gary Neville, the defender coming through the ranks at Manchester United as part of the club’s fabled ‘Class of ’92’ before forming part of a side that would dominate English football.
Neville was a model of consistency at right-back during the great Red Devils’ sides of the nineties and 2000s, winning eight league titles and lifting a historic Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup treble during the 1998/99 campaign.
The former England international was recognised by his peers as the best right-back in the division at his peak, being named PFA Team of the Season on five occasions, including three successive seasons between 1997 and 1999.
Neville spent his entire career with his boyhood side and made 602 appearances before his retirement, an ever-reliable and committed performer in an era of unprecedented success for United.
Branislav Ivanovic returned to the Premier League this season with the veteran making a surprise move to West Brom, though it’s the defender’s decade at Chelsea that earns him inclusion on this list.
Ivanovic arrived as a relative unknown and took time to settle at Stamford Bridge, before becoming one of the Blues’ best pieces of business of the Premier League era.
The Serbian was an imposing and intimidating defender comfortable centrally or at right-back, forming part of a formidable backline as Chelsea collected a wealth of major honours.
Ivanovic won three league titles, three FA Cups, as well as the League Cup, Champions League and Europa League, scoring a stoppage-time winner in the latter final as one of several crucial goals scored during his Chelsea career.
Pablo Zabaleta remains a firm fans’ favourite at Manchester City, having been a key figure in the club’s emergence as England’s dominant force.
The tough-tackling Argentine arrived the day before City’s transformative billionaire takeover, before playing an integral role in the club’s rise and unprecedented period of subsequent success.
Zabaleta formed part of the side that ended a wait of 35-years for a major trophy with FA Cup success in 2011, before winning two league titles and two League Cups during his time at the Etihad.
Zabaleta’s relentless competitiveness saw him adored by the terraces during his City career, one that saw him make 333 appearances across all competitions before a three-season spell at West Ham.
One of two current players – alongside the aforementioned Ivanovic – shortlisted amongst our five, Kyle Walker has been one of the Premier League’s best right-backs in recent seasons for a dominant Manchester City side.
Walker spent eight seasons at Tottenham after coming through the ranks at Sheffield United, establishing himself as one of the best in the division at the north London side with his raw pace and athleticism tailor-made for the modern game.
He signed for City in a £50m deal in 2017 and has since become a key cog under Pep Guardiola, winning the league title with a record haul of 100 points during his debut season, before retaining the title as part of a historic domestic treble the following campaign.
Walker’s game has evolved under Guardiola’s tutelage with his buccaneering style having been refined, the England international now comfortable tucking inside to create midfield overloads and has filled in at centre-back on occasion for both club and country.
The 30-year-old’s four seasons at the Etihad have already delivered seven major honours, with the prospect of more to come as City close in on Premier League and Champions League success in 2020/21.
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The post Five right-backs who should be included in the Premier League Hall of Fame first appeared on The Football Faithful.
Author: Harry Diamond