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Top 10 Premier League Defenders

Written by Sean Harris The premier league has had many incredible defenders, and we've ranked the very finest of all time! WatchMojo UK presents the Top 10 Football Defenders in the Premier League! But who will take the top spot on our list? Rio Ferdinand, John Terry, or Tony Adams? Watch to find out! Watch on WatchMojo: Have an idea for what video we should make next? Submit your suggestion here: WatchMojo.commy/suggest.php

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These players take no prisoners. Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 Premier League defenders!

For this list, we’re looking at any defender from the Premier League era, including full-backs and centre-halves.

#10: Vincent Kompany

A cult figure at Manchester City, Kompany was at the heart of his side’s success in the 2011-12 campaign. Captaining the Etihad club to their first top flight title in 43 years, he cut an immovable and unplayable force in the centre of defence. He won his second Premier League in 2014, and he’s a regular inclusion in the PFA Team of the Season. Were the big Belgian a little less injury-prone, he’d probably have featured higher today; but lengthy absences have prevented him from having an even greater impact.

#9: Gary Neville

Having spent his entire career at Man United, and having held down a first-team position for almost two decades, Gary Neville is one of English football’s most decorated players. The right-back spent 19 seasons at Old Trafford, forming formidable right-side partnerships with the likes of David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo. A tough tackler, he was also a willing runner, and he could pick out a cross from deep. By the time he’d hung up his boots, he’d won eight Premier League titles.

#8: Ledley King

While his career was curtailed by injury, King invariably proved an outstanding performer whenever he was on the pitch. Another one-club man, the central defender played for Tottenham from 1999 to 2012, racking up 268 Premier League appearances. A key figure at Spurs for some of the club’s most successful seasons, he was widely lauded by players and pundits for his versatile style of play, and his composure on the ball. Despite ongoing knee problems, he’s a legend for the Lilywhites.

#7: Ricardo Carvalho

Chelsea have enjoyed their fair share of fine centre-backs, and we almost gave the nod to Gary Cahill today, but Carvalho was a cut above the rest. The stylish Portuguese international played six seasons at Stamford Bridge, across a very fruitful spell for the West London club. He moved to Real Madrid in 2010, but not before bagging three league titles at Chelsea. Carvalho left England having earned a clean sheet in almost half the games he played in, contributing to a Blues backline which seemed impossible to breach.

#6: Jamie Carragher

Though Carragher did play in a variety of defensive positions during his seventeen-year career at Liverpool, he had most success as a centre-half, where he could marshal the rest of the side. A combative, committed and exceptionally competitive player, few Prem forwards could match him for strength, or beat him in the air. A heart-on-sleeve leader during his playing days, he had been tipped for management once he retired – but he pursued a successful media career instead.

#5: Nemanja Vidić

A no-nonsense centre-back who signed for Man United following a near-perfect World Cup qualifying campaign with Serbia, Vidić debuted in the Premier League in 2006. He quickly became an integral part of a vintage United side, captaining the Red Devils for the final three seasons of his nine-year stay. An unparalleled physical presence and a chief organiser for the team, he won the league five times at Old Trafford, and also scooped a Champions League medal in 2008.

#4: Ashley Cole

Today’s highest-ranking full-back, at the height of his career Ashley Cole was widely considered one of the world’s best players. The left-back broke through at Arsenal, before becoming an important member of the Invincibles squad, and winning two Prem titles with the Gunners. A controversial move saw Cole transfer to Chelsea in 2006, where he’d win the league again, in 2010. Known for his attacking style, Cole proved an intense and difficult opponent at both ends of the pitch.

#3: Tony Adams

An undisputed legend at Arsenal, Tony Adams made his senior debut for the club in 1983 – in the old First Division. In ‘88, he was given the Arsenal captaincy, which he retained until 2002. And he’s the only player in English football history to captain a title-winning side in three separate decades. Having played in the first ten Prem seasons, and lifted the trophy on two occasions, he was an all-out leader, in the heart of an exceptionally effective defence.

#2: Rio Ferdinand

Considered one of England’s greatest ever centre-backs, by the time Rio Ferdinand moved to Man United he had already proven his worth by making over 100 Premier league appearances for West Ham, and over 50 for Leeds. But Ferdinand’s finest form came in Manchester, where he played 312 league games, on his way to winning the title six times. Forming an especially formidable partnership with Nemanja Vidić, he was known for his technical skill, clean style and intelligent play.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Jaap Stam

Sol Campbell

Patrice Evra

#1: John Terry

He has earned his fair share of critics throughout an often-controversial career, but it’s impossible to pick holes in John Terry’s game. An icon at Chelsea, in 19 seasons at Stamford Bridge he won five Premier Leagues, five FA Cups, three League Cups, a Champions League and a Europa League – and he was club captain for the majority of those victories. A tenacious defender who formed partnerships with Carvalho, Gallas and Desailly, he also bagged plenty of goals – netting 41 times in the league for the Blues.

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