Full-backs may not get the credit that other players get but today they do, but who are the best 5 left-backs to have graced the Premier League? In my opinion:
Dennis Irwin has always been one of the most underrated players to have played in the Premier League, in my eyes. After making over a hundred games for Oldham he joined Manchester United in 1990 and his career took off from there.
He won seven Premier League titles and was part of the treble winning side in 1998-99. Sir Alex Ferguson recently called him Mr 8 out of 10, as he was always dependable and rarely made mistakes. Leeds wanted to sign him just before United signed Cantona, but Sir Alex realising his potential wouldn’t let him go and it proved to be an inspired decision as he went on to become one of the best left backs in the league.
Nigel Winterburn rose to prominence playing over a 100 times for Wimbledon but it was for Arsenal he became a star. 440 appearances for the Gunners saw him form a formidable back five with Seamen, Adams, Keown and Dixon.
He was part of the side that won the 1994 Cup winners cup and also the double in the 1997-98 season. He would eventually lose his place to Graeme Le Saux but before this he did more than enough to make this list.
After a dodgy start to life at Manchester United, Patrice Evra has gone on to become arguably one of the best left-backs in the world. His speed and athleticism is the key part to his game and you are just as likely to see him bombing forward as you are to see him defending. His attacking instincts make it extremely hard for teams to stop crosses being delivered and his leadership as seen him named captain on many occasions.
A regular in the French side, despite some disciplinary issues, confirm his ability and in his seven years at the club he has win five Premier Leagues and also has be named in the PFA team of the year three times. Adding all this together Evra has been one of the best Premier League left backs in history.
Like Dennis Irwin, Ian Harte went through his career underrated for me. He was part of the Leeds side that made it to the semi-finals of the Champions League but unlike the others on this list his individual honours aren’t quite the same. But nevertheless Harte was the cornerstone of the Leeds side during their few years at the top.
One of the best set piece players in the game, Harte was always solid and loyal towards Leeds, despite some rumours that Real Madrid and Barcelona both tried to sign the Irishman throughout his career. Despite promotion with Levante and Reading, he never got the big win he would have wanted whilst in the Premier League but he is deserving of his place on this list.
He may not win many popularity competitions but Cole has consistently been one of the best left-backs the Premier League has seen. His move from Arsenal to Chelsea left many Gunners fans furious but the individual honours he has racked up since then has vindicated the move. One Premier League title and also a Champions League on top of the two League medals he had already won with Arsenal highlights the skill of Cole.
Athletic as they come, Cole gets back and forward with ease and rarely has a dip in form. He has kept his place in the Arsenal, Chelsea and England side, although Baines is now challenging his England berth, but Ashley Cole could be the best Premier League left-back of all time.
Honourable mentions: Graeme Le Saux, Stuart Pearce