An unlikely Premier League winners XI
These players all have a Premier League winners medal, but you may not remember them for it.
GK: Richard Wright (Arsenal – 2001/02)
Some back-up goalkeepers have required special dispensation to receive a Premier League medal, but Wright made a more telling contribution to Arsenal’s 2002 title than he is remembered for, deputising for David Seaman 12 times.
He also belonged to Manchester City when they won the league in 2014 – but that he is remembered for making no contribution towards that title is completely fair.
RB: Remi Garde (Arsenal – 1997/98)
Arsene Wenger had recommended that Arsenal should sign Garde before he had even taken over at the club.
In the twilight of his career, the Frenchman only managed 31 league appearances in three seasons at Highbury, but his one Premier League medal does at least balance out overseeing Aston Villa’s relegation to the Championship as manager 18 years later.
CB: Tony Gale (Blackburn – 1994/95)
Gale is much more associated with the Premier League era as a pundit than as a player, but he actually won his only major honour post-1992.
After making 300 appearances for West Ham, the then-35-year-old was training with Barnet before Kenny Dalglish surprisingly offered him another year in the top flight with Blackburn. He made 15 appearances as Rovers ended Manchester United’s monopoly on the trophy.
CB: Eliaquim Mangala (Man City – 2017/18)
Man City turned to Mangala to solve their perpetual centre-back crisis in 2014, making him the most expensive defender in British football history.
He is now considered just one of a conveyor belt of failures for City, but – in between loans to Valencia and Everton – he did make enough appearances for the 2017/18 Centurions to pick up a medal.
LB: Jeffrey Schlupp (Leicester – 2015/16)
Leicester’s title-winning starting XI was so repeatable that every other member of their squad received minimal acclaim for their victory.
But of Claudio Ranieri’s substitutes and reserves, Schlupp made more appearances than any other. An otherwise solid but unspectacular Premier League career will always have that going for it.
RW: Luis Boa Morte (Arsenal – 1997/98)
Remembered as a very respectable Premier League footballer for Southampton, Fulham and West Ham, Boa Morte last popped up at the highest level as a member of Marco Silva’s coaching staff at Everton.
Yet his career arguably peaked early on, when he made 15 appearances for Arsenal’s 1998 title-winners. There was, perhaps, more than an element of fortune that he was part of that squad, so he shouldn’t complain that he’s playing on the right flank rather than his favoured left.
CM: Darren Ferguson (Manchester United – 1992/93)
Nothing to see here.
Ferguson was handed a start by his manager in the first 15 matches of the 1992/93 season, before never making another Premier League appearance for any club, let alone Manchester United.
Fortunately, he’d played enough games to pick up a medal to add to the family silver.
CM: Jack Rodwell (Manchester City – 2013/14)
A career that promised much descended into a mess that was played out in front of every viewer of Sunderland ‘Til I Die remarkably quickly.
Rodwell probably joined Man City too early, but at least he has something to show for it.
LW: Yuri Zhirkov (Chelsea – 2009/10)
Brilliant on Football Manager, it was a disappointment that Zhirkov wasn’t so brilliant for Chelsea.
He may have won the Premier League and FA Cup in his two years in west London, but it says something that English football fans remember him more for his virtual efforts than his real-life ones.
ST: Leonardo Ulloa (Leicester – 2015/16)
Another unsung hero of Leicester’s success, Ulloa scored as many league goals (6) as Shinzi Okazaki in the 2015/16 season, despite starting 21 fewer matches.
That is five more goals than his striker partner in this team…
ST: Dion Dublin (Manchester United – 1992/93)
Dublin’s eccentric career path begun with a Premier League title that he, probably fairly, receives very little credit for.
It was only after he left Old Trafford that his career really started to project upwards, all the way to the bedrooms.
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