Match of the Day: Top 10 podcast: Premier League captains

Any great Premier League team needs a great captain, and there have been several legendary players to wear the armband over the years – but who is the greatest?

That was the subject discussed by Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer and Ian Wright on the new Match of The Day: Top 10 podcast.

Taking themselves out of the studio, the series will be recorded in Lineker’s kitchen and, inspired by the much-debated MOTD television running order, the ex-players will be getting into deep discussion to produce a top 10 on a variety of topics.

First up, the trio ranked the top 10 Premier League captains from a shortlist drawn up by the BBC Match of the Day commentary team.

To hear their final selections, make sure you listen to the podcast on BBC Sounds. And you can make your own ranked list at the bottom of the page.

  • Listen to the first episode of Match of the Day: Top 10

Tony Adams

Premier League appearances: 255

Goals: 12

Clubs: Arsenal

Premier League titles: Two

Wright: “No matter what he was going through personally, he came in every day and was always the leader, the captain, ready to go. He led by example, he looked you in the eye and told you exactly what he wanted from you. He would tell you home truths. He was a proper leader.”

Shearer: “He was the best centre-half I played against in the English game. A great leader and organiser. That back four that he played in was relentless and incredibly tough to play against.”

Steven Gerrard

Premier League appearances: 504

Goals: 120

Clubs: Liverpool

Premier League titles: None

Shearer: “Look at his appearances, more than 500 in the Premier League, and what he gave to that football club and what that football club meant to him. He did it every year, week in, week out.”

Wright: “What he did in the Champions League final [in 2005] was a fantastic achievement, one of the greatest I’ve seen.”

Jordan Henderson

Premier League appearances: 335

Goals: 29

Clubs: Sunderland, Liverpool

Premier League titles: None – although Liverpool are runaway leaders in the 2019-20 season

Lineker: “He’s had to step into the shoes of Steven Gerrard, who is one of the greatest English players of all time. He’s come in, they’ve won the Champions League, they are inevitably going to win the Premier League. He’s done an unbelievable job.”

Roy Keane

Premier League appearances: 366

Goals: 39

Clubs: Nottingham Forest, Manchester United

Premier League titles: Seven

Wright: “I loved Roy Keane. He was captain for so many years when Manchester United were absolutely dominating. He is exactly what you need as a captain. He wasn’t someone everybody liked, but you don’t need to like the captain. He led – and what it means on the pitch is what it is all about.”

Shearer: “I had loads of rucks with him and I wasn’t the only one. But he was a brilliant player.”

Vincent Kompany

Premier League appearances: 265

Goals: 18

Clubs: Manchester City

Premier League titles: Four

Shearer: “He was an excellent player and a leader. He started in midfield, went back to centre-half and delivered titles. He was huge with the fans, he got it in terms of what the club was about.”

Lineker: “A captain has to be there at the big moments and there is no captain who was there for the big moments more than Vincent Kompany. Remember the goals he scored against Manchester United in 2012 and Leicester last season? Big-time – big moments and a big leader.”

Wes Morgan

Premier League appearances: 164

Goals: 8

Clubs: Leicester

Premier League titles: One

Wright: “With the team he had and the way Leicester did it, it is the miracle of the Premier League. He had to keep them going through that season. One of my favourite moments was when Wes was about to lift the Premier League trophy, his eyes closed and it was magic, a moment of fulfilment.”

Alan Shearer

Premier League appearances: 441

Goals: 260

Clubs: Blackburn, Newcastle

Premier League titles: One

Lineker: “The only reason you’re on the list is because it is the only topic where we can get you in at the bottom.”

John Terry

Premier League appearances: 492

Goals: 41

Clubs: Chelsea

Premier League titles: Five

Shearer: “He was everything you wanted in a captain. He had the respect of managers, fans and players. He wasn’t liked by other fans, but it didn’t affect him – it probably spurred him on if anything, and he delivered.”

Nemanja Vidic

Premier League appearances: 211

Goals: 15

Clubs: Manchester United

Premier League titles: Five

Shearer: “He was hard as they come. I can’t argue with what he delivered. A fantastic player and captain.”

Patrick Vieira

Premier League appearances: 307

Goals: 31

Clubs: Arsenal, Manchester City

Premier League titles: Three

Shearer: “Vieira was horrible to play against, in a nice way. He could play if he wanted to play, but if you wanted to have a fight or be physical with him, he was as hard as they come.”

So you have heard what the pundits think, but what about you? Rank your top 10 Premier League captains below:

Best Premier League captain

Rank your favourite Premier League captain

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