Wed 23 December 2020 | 14:30

Best Number 10s in Premier League History

The No. 10 jersey in soccer carries with it a certain sense of prestige, and a symbol of admiration. For as long as I can remember, the number 10 shirts have been the most up-to-date commodity on the youth level and what the best players struggle to earn.

"10" is one of the most characteristic squad numbers in football, due to the total number of football legends that used the number 10 shirt. The number 10 is given to the playmaker or attacking midfielder on a football team. They will play just behind the forwards and are responsible for creating goal-scoring opportunities for the team. The number 10 jersey has been worn by some of the greatest soccer players in the history of the game.

Perhaps the most competitive football league in the entire world, The Premier League, often referred to outside England as the

English Premier League

or the EPL, is the top level of the English football league system. English Premier League has attracted a lot more fans than Bundesliga, Ligue 1, La Liga or even Serie A. In every neighborhood, you’ll find a kid who supports either of the English Premier League teams. 

In this article, we go through the list of best No. 10s in Premier League history.

Greatest No. 10s in Premier League of All Time

Follow us to the journey of

Premier League greatest ever number 10s


Mesut Ozil

The number one player on the list of best number 10s in Premier League history is this little genius, called Mesut Ozil. Is there anyone who is unaware of the magic this man performs on the pitch? Mesut Ozil may very well be in the shadows, but that doesn’t change the fact that he is a football genius. An agile and creative player, he is blessed with great technique and dribbling skills, as well as his vision, passing range, and dead-on crossing abilities. The King of Assists, had the best assists ratio per game in the Premier League till January 2016.

Joachim Low, Germany coach, has also praised Ozil for his “genius moments”. One of Mesut’s main attributes is his performance without the ball. Yet, his abilities are not limited to that. When he has the ball, he has total control of it. Many strikers have a dream of having Ozil play behind them, since his vision and his passing abilities is a dream for strikers. His offensive power and creativity as a playmaker are exceptional. Horst Hrubesch, Germany U-21 manager once said: “We in Germany are prone to rave about foreign players. We praise Wayne Rooney to the heavens, likewise Ronaldo or Messi. But we have our own Messi. Our Messi is Özil.” His style of play is opportunistic. Is there even a shadow of a doubt that Ozil should be on the list of

best premier league players to wear number 10 jersey

? No, there isn’t.

Joe Cole

The 2nd name on the list of

best number 10s in Premier League history

is Joe Cole.

Once considered an aspiring young star, who had hot prospects ahead of him for the future, Joe Cole was a smart, versatile, and gifted player. He was agile and creative, and that made him a great asset to England’s national team, or Chelsea. He could do both, provide assists and score goals, because of his vision, passing and shooting abilities. Just take a look at his goal in 2006 World Cup against Sweden. The 34th minute volley from probably 25 yards away, alongside his 85th minute assist to Steven Gerrard, earned him a Man of the Match award.

Cole’s problem with injuries plagued his whole career. He failed to live up to the potential he showed in his youth, because of the injuries throughout his whole career. Nevertheless, he is a player that was praised by Pele. Joe Cole is definitely one of the players I will add to my list of best No. 10s in Premier League history.

Eden Hazard

"He is already a top player and his evolution has been fantastic. He is still very young and he can become the best player in the world.”

__Jose Mourinho on

Eden Hazard

The 3rd name on the list of best number 10s in Premier League history is Eden Hazard.

Once known as a genius, he has lost his touch in Real Madrid. Thus, in order to talk about his genius-ness, we must go back to his Chelsea days. At Chelsea, Hazard ripened into a world-class player and was mainly employed as a left midfielder, a position which enabled him to cut into the center and strike on goal, very much like Arjen Robben, only with his stronger right foot. Although Hazard's preferred role is as a left winger, he is a versatile striker, and has also been deployed as a second striker, as a lone striker, or even as a false-9 in some instances throughout his career. His development into one of the world's best players was commenced in the 2014–15 Season; during this season he won multiple awards and received praise from numerous pundits and managers. Beyond his speediness, creativity, technical skills, and offensive qualities, he is also a precise penalty and freekick taker. Hazard's pace, alongside his finishing and ability to retain possession, led to his former coach Claude Puel labeling him "little Messi", in reference to the Barcelona player. Eden Hazard is surely one of the

best number 10s in EPL history


Harry Kane


I played in different positions as a kid and it helped me learn different parts of the game. Playing alone up front means you have to be good at so much more than taking chances. I know, in a game, I am going to receive the ball with my back to goal, and that the team will need me to link up and bring others into play.


— Kane on his footballing education, 2016

The 4th name on the list of

best number 10s in Premier League history

is Harry Kane.

While a teenager, Kane initially struggled in Tottenham's academy, as partially due to his date of birth in July, he was not as physically developed as other players, nor was he as fast. However, he gained the respect of coaches with his technique and craving for self-improvement. Kane was best as a lone striker, with his "hold-up play and close control" making him apt in other positions as well. Kane was initially considered a pure goal scorer, he's actually a good all-round player, often playing as an attacking midfielder", pointing out that during the 2018 FIFA World Cup "Kane's contributions in deeper positions were outstanding, his back-to-goal work as impressive as ever". Indeed, although


is mainly known for his irrefutable finishing and prolific goalscoring ability as an out-and-out striker, he is also known for his vision, technique, link-up play, and passing ability, which enables him to drop deep, bring his teammates into play, and create chances for other players; as such he is also capable of playing in a more creative role as a number 10. Harry Kane is considered as one of the

greatest No. 10s in Premier League of all time


Robin van Persie

"Robin van Persie's such an amazing footballer. He hardly needs any space or time to become dangerous."

— Bert van Marwijk

The 5th name on the list of best number 10s in Premier League history is RVP, or Robin van Persie. 

You know a football player is exceptional when Leo Messi gives a public statement, complimenting him. This is Robin van Persie. A versatile player, who could play as a left-winger, or a second striker, or a central forward. A player, who could provide assists, score loads of goals, and orchestrate team’s attacking play by building up through passes. He is regarded as one of the best strikers of his generation, and also, he is the all-time top scorer for the Netherlands men's national team.

RVP should definitely be included in the list of Premier League greatest ever number 10s.

Ruud van Nistelrooy

The 6th name on the list of best number 10s in Premier League history is Ruud van Nistelrooy.

A highly prolific goalscorer, Van Nistelrooy was known for being extremely clinical and opportunistic in front of goal, and stood out throughout his career for his outstanding striking ability and finishing ability with either foot as well as his head, which earned him a reputation as one of the best strikers of his generation. Due to his excellent positional sense, quick reactions, and intelligent offensive movement, he excelled at finding space in the penalty area and at anticipating his opponents to the ball, and was also known for his ability to time his runs to lose his markers, beat the offside trap, and get on the end of his teammates' passes; his tendency to be in the right place at the right time in the box saw him occasionally labelled as a "poacher" in the media. A well-rounded centre-forward, in addition to his eye for goal, Van Nistelrooy was gifted with pace, physical strength, and shooting power, as well as excellent technical skills, and an ability to hold up the ball with his back to goal and link-up with his teammates or provide them with assists, due to his ability to read the game. In spite of his talent and goalscoring ability, however, at times he drew criticism from managers, players and pundits for his controversial behaviour, as well as for having a tendency to be selfish, overly flamboyant, or for his penchant for simulation. Ruud van Nistelrooy, should not be excluded from the list of best Premier League players to wear number 10 jersey.

Micheal Owen

The 7th name on the list of best number 10s in Premier League history is Micheal Owen. 

In his prime, he used to wear the number 10 shirt in Liverpool. Owen was highly regarded for his great pace, opportunism and agility, as well as his technical ability and his eye for goal, which enabled him to be considered as one of the greatest English and Premier League strikers of his generation. A prolific goalscorer, Owen was a powerful and accurate finisher, who was also effective with his head, despite his lack of height. He was also capable of linking up with and creating chances for teammates due to his short passing ability and vision. Despite, or even due to, his precocious talent in his youth, Owen faced many injuries throughout his career, which in later years affected his pace, fitness, mobility and the overall consistency of his performances. Micheal Owen is considered, by many experts and analysts, as one of the

best No. 10s in Premier League history


Wayne Rooney

The 8th name on the list of best number 10s in Premier League history is Wayne Rooney.

Pundits often don’t speak a lot about Rooney and his quality, which was always neglected. Being overshadowed by Messi and Ronaldo, his scoring records were barely seen by the press. Rooney was rarely praised for his phenomenal goals and skills, and highly criticized for his tempers, partying, and drinking controversies. Joining Manchester United at the age of 19, playing alongside Ruud van Nistelrooy, Ferdinand, Neville brothers, Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Scholes, Roy Keane, and a handful of other quality players allowed him to excel himself at many levels. He was well-known for his aggressive on pitch mentality and energy. Being a versatile attacker, he was capable of playing anywhere along the front line, though he preferred to play as a striker. “Wazza” was a prolific goalscorer in his prime at Manchester United.

He is a powerful striker of the ball and an accurate finisher, capable of scoring goals both inside and outside the penalty area, as well as his lethal volleys. The main problem with Wayne Rooney, except his wild lifestyle, of course, was his injuries and his weight issues. Sir Alex Fergusen frequently warned Rooney that he had to train well in the gym because “he is very stocky.” Former Manchester United fitness coach Mick Clegg says: “Wayne didn't see the importance of the gym. He'd say 'I'm here to play football.” Rooney could’ve played for Real Madrid, had he trained well, and didn’t live the wild lifestyle of most English football players such as Gazza. Wayne Rooney is considered as one of the best number 10s in EPL history.

Sergio Aguero

The 9th name on the list of

best number 10s in Premier League history


Sergio Aguero


Often considered to be one of the best strikers in the world, Aguero is regarded as an all-out centre forward, although he is a versatile player, who can also play as a second striker off another striker. Due to his passing ability, link-up play, tactical intelligence, and vision, which made him a capable assist-man. When asked to name the players who influenced his playing style. He wears "Kun" on his shirt, a childhood nickname based on the title character from the cartoon Kum-Kum. He is widely considered as one of the best strikers of his generation and one of the best players in Premier League history. Aguero is considered by many fans and pundits, as one of the greatest No. 10s in Premier League of all time.

Dennis Bergkamp


I mean, I've seen it a lot of times and still can't find my mistake in that move. In the area, I did not make any mistake. There is incredible control by him


Roberto Ayala on Bergkamp's 2-1 goal on Argentina in the 1998 World Cup

The last player on the list of best number 10s in Premier League history is, the magnificent Dennis Bergkamp.

Originally a wide midfielder, Bergkamp was moved to main striker and then to second striker, where he remained throughout his playing career. Nicknamed the "Non-Flying Dutchman" by Arsenal supporters due to his fear of flying, Bergkamp is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of his generation.

Although he was known for his composure and ability to score several goals for his team as a forward, Bergkamp was also capable of playing in a free role behind a lone striker, where he essentially functioned in the number 10 role as a playmaking attacking midfielder or deep-lying forward, due to his ball skills and creative ability, which enabled him to drop deep between the lines and link-up play, and operate across all attacking areas of the pitch. A quick, elegant, intelligent, and gifted player, who was regarded as one of the most technically accomplished players of all time, he possessed an excellent first touch, which – allied with his quick feet, dribbling ability, and change of pace – enabled him to beat defenders in one on one situations, while his attacking movement, physique, balance, and close control allowed him to hold up the ball and create space for teammates; his vision and passing range with both feet, despite being naturally right-footed, subsequently allowed him to provide assists for on-running strikers. He is considered as one of the premier league greatest ever number 10s.

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