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Ticket Compare > The 10 Best Premier League Midfielders of All Time

The 10 Best Premier League Midfielders of All Time

The Premier League is amassed with incredible talent year in year out, and we’ve had the pleasure of witnessing some genuine greats play their football in England’s top flight. In this Ticket-Compare article, we discuss the 10 best Premier League midfielders of all time.

We discuss masters of their craft, including Kevin De Bruyne, Yaya Touré, the famous English trio Scholes, Lampard and Gerrard plus many more. If you’d like to learn more about the best midfielders to play for English sides, we recommend reading on.

What is a Midfielder?

Before we dive into the greatest Premier League midfielders of all time, let’s define what a midfielder is, so that there’s no confusion when we compile our list. In football, a midfielder is someone who operates in the spaces between the defensive and forward lines, who has both attacking and defensive duties during a match.

This means that in our list you won’t find any forwards including the likes of Mohamed Salah, Eden Hazard and Son Heung-min, as these players operate in areas higher up the field than traditional “midfielders”.

The Best Premier League Midfielders of All Time

Here’s our list of the 10 best Premier League midfielders of all time:

  1. Kevin De Bruyne
  2. Frank Lampard
  3. Yaya Touré
  4. Steven Gerrard
  5. David Silva
  6. Paul Scholes
  7. Patrick Vieira
  8. Rodri
  9. Roy Keane
  10. Cesc Fàbregas

When compiling our list, we’ve chosen players that didn’t necessarily win all the honours, but entertained fans throughout their time in the Premier League, as well as some future contenders.

1. Kevin De Bruyne

EPL Titles5*
EPL Appearances242*
EPL Goals64*
EPL Assists101*
*Player is still playing in the Premier League

It’s no surprise to see that Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne tops our list as the greatest Premier League midfielder of all time. Having only made 3 Premier League appearances for Chelsea before being sold to Wolfsburg in a deal worth £18 million, De Bruyne became a midfield monster.

It didn’t take long for Manchester City to realise the elite-level potential in the Belgian, signing him in the 2015/16 season for a fee of £55 million. This was a club-record fee at the time.

He possesses vision that sets him apart from 99% of all other players across the globe, as well as having an incredibly diverse passing range. He’s a real threat from set-pieces and can finish chances from both short and long distances. During his Premier League career, he’s racked up 101 Premier League assists and scored over 60 league goals.
In addition, De Bruyne has won 1x Champions League, 5x Premier League titles, 5x League Cups, 2x Super Cups and 2x FA Cup.

2. Frank Lampard

EPL Titles3
EPL Appearances609
EPL Goals177
EPL Assists102

Although his managerial career hasn’t started particularly brightly, there’s no denying that Frank Lampard was a brilliant midfielder. After starting his career at West Ham, where Harry Redknapp famously claimed that he “would go right to the very top”, Lampard went on to become a Chelsea, England and Premier League legend.

Lampard scored 177 Premier League goals from midfield, being deployed in different roles throughout his career. He most famously played as a number 8 but could also operate as a 6 or a 10, regularly scoring goals from both inside and outside the penalty box.

In addition, he scored plenty of set pieces, having a prolific penalty and free kick record. He scored 43 penalties throughout his Premier League career and 9 free kicks.

Being both a club captain and a national talisman, it’s easy to see why Frank Lampard is number 2 in our list of the best Premier League midfielders of all time.

3. Yaya Touré

EPL Titles3
EPL Appearances230
EPL Goals59
EPL Assists33

Back to Manchester now with our 3rd greatest Premier League midfielder of all time. Yaya Touré was what they call a “Rolls-Royce” football player. An absolute powerhouse in midfield, the Ivorian had the ability to do pretty much anything on a football pitch.

Manchester City signed him from Barcelona in 2010, and he took to the Premier League like a duck to water. He scored 59 goals as a deep lying midfielder in 8 seasons for the blue half of Manchester, chipping in with some impressive free kicks.

When Touré was firing, defenders found it impossible to stop him. He had the strength and ability to drive with the ball 60 yards at a time before coolly sticking the ball in the back of the net. This makes Yaya Touré a worthy entry in our list of the best Premier League midfielders, for sure.

Enjoy some of the best Premier League goals scored by Touré during his time at Manchester City, there are some real gems in this compilation:

4. Steven Gerrard

EPL Titles0
EPL Appearances504
EPL Goals120
EPL Assists92

Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard needs no introduction to Premier League enthusiasts. A charismatic character, he lived every player’s dream by coming up through the academy of the club he supports to then go on and become captain of his club and country.

Although he’s undoubtably one of the best Premier League midfielders of all time, Gerrard failed to win an EPL title throughout his career. His infamous slip against Chelsea subsequently scuppered his chances of winning the title, reducing Liverpool’s lead to 3 points instead of 6 with 2 games left to play in the 2013/14 season.

Don’t let this slip change your mind on Gerrard, though. He was a powerhouse, a goalscorer, and a leader.

5. David Silva

EPL Titles4
EPL Appearances309
EPL Goals60
EPL Assists93

It wouldn’t be long before we’d have to mention Manchester City again, and this isn’t surprising, as the blue half of Manchester have been blessed with a conveyor belt of great midfielders over recent years.

David Silva is number 5 in our list of top Premier League midfielders of all time. The Spanish playmaker would often be described as a “magician” or a “wizard”, having lots of success with his “wand of a left foot”.

Having played in the Premier League for 10 seasons, Silva made 309 appearances, scoring 60 league goals and chipping in with an impressive 93 assists. He was a flexible midfield option, having played in a number of different roles during his time in the Premier League, including out on the left, as a number 10 and in a more traditional centre midfield role.

It was hard for Manchester City to see Silva leave the club in 2020, moving to Real Sociedad. The club even built a statue of him outside their stadium to honour his legacy, something only a handful of ex-players have been given.

6. Paul Scholes

EPL Titles11
EPL Appearances499
EPL Goals107
EPL Assists57

An English midfielder that shouldn’t need an introduction is Paul Scholes. A one-club player, he spearheaded the Manchester United midfield for a mammoth 19 seasons, from the 1994/95 season to the 2012/13 season. In this time, he won 11 Premier League titles, something most players can only dream of doing.

He made 499 Premier League appearances in that time, scoring 107 goals and racking up 57 assists. His goals tally puts him 3rd in our rankings behind Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard. These three players would often be the subject of footballing debates, as they were all English and playing at the top level at the same time.

Fans across England like to argue why who out of Scholes, Lampard and Gerrard is the better footballer. From a stats-perspective, Frank Lampard is clear, however Gerrard and Scholes legacy at their respective clubs was massive.

Renowned for his technical abilities, Paul Scholes was a great passer of the ball who had intelligent movement and an impressive ability to score from range. Something most football fans won’t know is that Scholes played as a striker in his youth career, but found himself suiting a midfield role much more during his professional career.

He’s not short of fans, either. Scholes has been admired by fellow footballing greats, including Zinedine Zidane and Edgar Davids, and this is a clear indication as to why he belongs in our list of the top Premier League midfielders of all time.

7. Patrick Vieira

EPL Titles3
EPL Appearances307
EPL Goals31
EPL Assists34

7th in our list of the best Premier League midfielders is Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira. During his time in North London, he played for the club 307 times, scoring 31 goals and recording 34 assists.

He was the pinnacle of a box-to-box midfielder, demonstrating endurance, agility and athleticism on the football pitch. An aggressive player, he would regularly dictate play in midfield, and was regarded by some pundits as one of the best players in his position. He even captained Arsenal’s invincibles squad from the 2003/04 season.

He developed a bitter rivalry with Irish midfielder Roy Keane, during the time in which Manchester United were Arsenal’s arch nemesis. He won 10 trophies whilst playing for the Gunners, which included 3x Premier League titles, 4x FA Cups and 3x English Super Cups.

8. Rodri

EPL Titles3*
EPL Appearances138*
EPL Goals14*
EPL Assists12*
*Player is still playing in the Premier League

We’re going to put our necks out on the line with this next pick. 8th in Ticket-Compare’s list of the greatest Premier League midfielders of all time, we have Spain’s goliath, Rodri. At the age of 26, he’s already won 3x Premier League titles, 2x League Cups, 1x FA Cup, 1x Community Shield and a Champions League trophy.

In fact, he scored the winning goal in the 2022/23 Champions League final, where Manchester City beat Inter Milan 1-0 in Istanbul, Turkey.

As a number 6, Rodri has it all. His spacial awareness, scanning, passing range and accuracy is elite level, with many opposition players claiming it’s hard to get anywhere close to him. He’s able to single-handedly win midfield battles without breaking a sweat. 

As long as he stays at Manchester City, we believe he’s going to win many more trophies and cement himself as a one of the best Premier League midfielders of all time. Certainly a punt from our side, but one we’re not too worried about!

9. Roy Keane

EPL Titles7
EPL Appearances366
EPL Goals39
EPL Assists33

A mainstay of Manchester United’s midfield throughout the 90s and early 2000s was Roy Keane. After signing for the Red Devils from Nottingham Forest in 1993, Keane went on to win 7x Premier League titles.

Although he wasn’t particularly known for his goal involvements, he did score 39 goals and recorded 33 assists in 366 Premier League appearances. He was mostly known for his physicality on the pitch, making his presence known in central spaces. He would regularly pick up bookings, and was sent off 7 times in Premier League matches and 13 times in all competitions.

His leadership and presence in the dressing room demanded big performances from every player, and this was arguably his best trait. Fellow teammate Gary Neville once said that “His greatest gift was to create a standard of performance which demanded the very best from the team. You would look at him, busting a gut, and feel that you’d be betraying him if you didn’t give everything yourself.

A born winner, and a one of a kind player, Roy Keane comfortably cements his place in our list of the greatest Premier League midfielders.

10. Cesc Fàbregas

EPL Titles2
EPL Appearances350
EPL Goals50
EPL Assists111

The final place in our list of greatest Premier League midfielders is Spanish technician Cesc Fàbregas. He had a decorated career, initially coming up through both Barcelona and Arsenal’s youth academies.

Fàbregas was a part of the famous Arsenal “invincibles” squad who won the Premier League title in 2003/04 without losing a game. Although he was part of the squad, he failed to make a league appearance, which meant that he didn’t win a medal.

In the 2004/05 season, Fàbregas was swept into the Arsenal midfield following a string of injuries. He would have a great mentor in Patrick Vieira (who has also made our list). He based his playing style around his Spanish and Barcelona idol, Pep Guardiola.

Cesc Fàbregas’ Premier League career was a colourful one, having played for two of the top-four clubs – Arsenal and Chelsea. He made a combined 350 appearances for these two clubs, scoring 50 EPL goals and recording an impressive 111 assists.

Both of his Premier League title wins came during his 5-season stint at Chelsea, winning them in 2015 and 2017 under managers José Mourinho and Antonio Conte.


The Premier League has witnessed some of the greatest players to ever play the game, and specifically, some of the best midfielders. It’s a tough task to build a list of some of the best Premier League midfielders of all time, however, we hope we’ve done it justice with our top 10 choices.

From Kevin De Bruyne to Roy Keane, we’ve covered a range of midfield profiles, all of which have their own reasons to be deserving of a place.

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All data was taken from FbRef.

Header image: Nigel Wilson, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Kevin De Bruyne the Best Midfielder in Premier League History?

Several pundits have collectively agreed that Kevin De Bruyne is the best midfielder in Premier League history. His presence and skill set is at an elite level, and he makes Chelsea’s decision to sell him look all the more significant each time he plays.

Who Has Scored the Most Goals in the Premier League for Midfielders?

Frank Lampard has scored the most goals in the Premier League as a midfielder. He scored 177 goals in 609 EPL appearances.

Chris Goodacre

Written by Chris Goodacre

Chris Goodacre is a specialist football writer at Ticket-Compare, a podcast host and a coach with a passion for the beautiful game. His in-depth articles provide insightful analysis and are a trusted source of football information for fans across the world. Having been a co-host on a dedicated football podcast and an FA Level 1 Coaching badge holder, Chris combines his extensive knowledge with a genuine passion for the game. Enjoy Chris’ perspective on the world of football.