With the influx of foreign players into the Premiership and the huge amounts of money on offer for footballers to move clubs, some people think that loyalty in football is dead. But some players do still show loyalty to their boy-hood team and on the odd occasion some players will stay at that team for the whole of their career. Here is a look at the top ten one-club players who are currently playing in English football:
10: Tony Hibbert – Not the most fashionable player in the Premier League, Tony Hibbert is a unsung hero for the Toffees and is a decent player who manager David Moyes can always rely upon. Hibbert was a member of the Everton FA Youth Cup winning team of 1998, and went on to make his first-team debut against West Ham in 2001. The right back is Everton’s longest serving player, and despite being rated by ACTIM as the best right back in the Premiership in the 2004/05 season, he is still yet to play for England. Hibbert has played almost 200 Premier League matches for Everton, and remains a solid player for the Toffees despite being largely disregarded outside of Merseyside.
9: Ledley King – The longest serving player at Tottenham Hotspur currently, King has captained Spurs for the last 4 years and continues to be a valuable player for the club. The 29 year old’s career has been seriously hit by injuries, but when he does play at White Hart Lane, King still shows that he is one of the best defenders in the country despite his lack of training. King joined Spurs as a trainee in 1997 and signed professionally for them in the next season, often playing in central midfield as well as defence. Despite having had to sit out a lot of games because of injury, King has still managed to make over 200 Premier League appearances for Tottenham to date.
8: John Terry – What can you say about this man? Terry has given everything for Chelsea and is one of the most popular players at Stamford Bridge. The England defender started his youth career with Chelsea in 1995, making his professional debut in 1998 before spending a short time on loan at Nottingham Forest in 2000. On his return to Chelsea the arrival of Marcel Desailly seemed to improve Terry as a player no end, and he was given the captaincy by Jose Mourinho in 2004. Since then Terry has been a rock for Chelsea, helping them win 2 Premier League titles and driving the team forward, having played over 400 games in all competitions for the London club.
7: Wes Brown – Not the most highly rated of Sir Alex Ferguson’s youngsters from the 1990s, Brown is highly regarded by Manchester United and has been a loyal servant at the club since 1996. Brown made his Premier League debut for United against Leeds back in 1998, and broke into the first team the next season and helped the club achieve the remarkable treble in 1999. Adept at both centre back and right back, Brown has had to overcome a number of injuries in his career, but has still managed to play over 200 Premiership games for United, and over 300 in all competitions. A consummate professional, Brown continues to give his all for Man Utd without fail.
6: Steven Gerrard – The player through which Liverpool play most of their football, Gerrard is a Liverpool icon and his name has become synonymous with the Merseyside club. The 29 year old made his first-team debut in 1998 and hasn’t looked back since, as Gerrard has grown as a player immensely and is now widely regarded as one of the best midfielders in the Premiership, if not the world. He has now played for Liverpool on around 500 occasions, and has been captain since 2003 and lifted the Champions League trophy in 2005. His efforts for Liverpool have not gone unnoticed either, having been voted 2nd in a poll of the 100 Players Who Shook the Kop.
5: Jamie Carragher – One of Liverpool’s longest serving players, Carragher has been an excellent servant for the Anfield club and provides the team with plenty of passion. Even though he supported Everton as a boy, Carragher has been on Liverpool’s books since 1990 and signed his first professional contract in 1996. Since then, the Liverpool defender has played over 400 times for the club in the Premier League, and is nearing his 600th appearance for Liverpool in all competitions. Dependable and extremely reliable, Carragher has been the rock at the heart of Liverpool’s defence for 13 years and although struggling slightly this season, he is still a Liverpool legend.
4: Steve Harper – Although not playing in the Premiership at the moment, the Newcastle goalkeeper deserves to be on the list, as he has sat on the bench for a number of years and has patiently waited for his chance. Now that former number one Shay Given has moved to Manchester City, Harper has been given an opportunity to wear Newcastle’s gloves and hasn’t let anyone down this season, helping Newcastle to the best defensive record in the Championship so far. Harper grew up in County Durham and was signed by Newcastle in 1993, and has since spent time on loan at many clubs and in his 16 years with the Magpies, he has only made just over 100 league appearances.
3: Paul Scholes – The former England midfielder started his youth career at Manchester United in 1991, signing a professional contract in 1993 and still regularly features for the club currently. Having spent his whole career at the club, he is one of only four players to make over 600 appearances for Man Utd, and is nearing his 100th Premier League goal for the club, having netted 98 times in the Premiership. The 35 year old grew up in Salford and has trained with United since the age of 14, making him a Man Utd player through and though despite supporting Oldham as a boy. Scholes still has much to give, retiring from England in 2004 to prolong his club career.
2: Gary Neville – Another of Fergie’s stars to appear on the list, whereas his brother Phil moved to Everton in 2005, Gary Neville has spent his whole career with Man Utd. Neville first made a name for himself at Old Trafford by captaining the Manchester United youth team to glory in the 1992 FA Youth Cup, and made his senior debut in the same year. Now 17 years later, Neville has played almost 600 games for United and holds the honour of being the club captain. During that time he has won 8 Premier League titles, 3 FA Cups and 2 Champions League titles, and having won 85 caps with England, he is England’s most capped right back in their history.
1: Ryan Giggs – The ultimate one-club player, in his 18 year senior career the Welsh wizard has played for Manchester United and no-one else. The winger almost signed for rivals City, but that has been long forgotten by United fans who have seen Giggs be an excellent servant for the Old Trafford club. Giggs’ stats for Man Utd are unbelievable, having played over 800 games for United, with over 500 of those coming in the Premier League, and Giggs has scored 150 goals in total, with over 100 of those scored in the Premiership. The Welshman is the most decorated player in English football and has scored in every Premiership season to date.
So 4 Manchester United players feature on the top ten list of one-club players in England, with the managerial skills of Sir Alex Ferguson going a long way to help keep them at the club. All of the players on the list are fan favourites at their respective clubs, and each give their team plenty of passion and English spirit in an industry where loyalty is becoming rarer. Are there any other Premier League players who could make it onto this list, and will any of the above players ever leave the club that they have played for throughout their career?