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The top 5 most underrated Premier League players in the last 20 years

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Over the last two decades, the Premier League has been home to some of the greatest players to grace the game. Meanwhile, some more understated players also have shown unbelievable skill and consistency but have not been given the praise they deserve. Here are five of the most underrated players the top-flight has seen over the last 20 years.

Peter Crouch (Stoke, Liverpool, Tottenham, Portsmouth, Aston Villa, Southampton and Burnley)

The 6”7’ striker was well known for his robot celebration with England, but consistent goal-scoring was something that Crouch also brought to the table. In 468 Premier League matches he managed to score 108 goals.

As listed, Crouch played for seven different clubs in the league and only failed to score at his last club Burnley. In addition to his century of goals in the league, his record for England was excellent. He was able to score 22 goals in 42 caps, but of those games, he only started 19. Despite being so tall, his footwork was fantastic and he was always a handful for defenders to deal with.

Ricardo Carvalho (Chelsea)

Back in 2004, the Portuguese centre-half joined the Blues for just under €30m. In his six seasons in the Premier League, he won three league titles. In his first season, under Jose Mourinho Chelsea only conceded 15 league goals. Carvalho’s partnership with John Terry during his time in English football was phenomenal, and it is usually the former Chelsea captain who gets all the credit. But it cannot be underestimated the importance of Carvalho during his time at the club.

Jamie Carragher (Liverpool)

Now best known for his work as a pundit, Carragher was once a brilliant centre-back for Liverpool. After becoming professional with the club in 1996, the Bootle-born defender made a remarkable 508 Premier League appearances, scoring three goals along the way. Despite not being the most naturally gifted player, his work rate and versatility made him a key part of the Liverpool squad for 17 years.

Even though he did not win a league title, he was a part of Liverpool’s historic 2005 Champions League triumph in Istanbul. For his longevity and consistency, Carragher is without a doubt one of the most underrated Premier League players.

Gareth Barry (Aston Villa, Manchester City, Everton and West Brom)

The man who holds the record for the most Premier League appearances with 652, Barry played in the top-flight for 21 consecutive seasons. The former England international was also in the City squad that won the league back in 2012, with the last-minute Sergio Aguero goal against Queens Park Rangers on that dramatic final day.

Despite playing a defensive midfield position, he was able to score 53 Premier League goals. He was rarely the most outstanding player on the pitch, yet his work was not often given the credit it deserved.

Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City)

The German international has just left for Barcelona this summer but finished his time at City by being the captain of their treble winning side. During his seven years in England, he won five league titles and scored 44 goals in 188 appearances in the league.

His main stand-out season was the 2020-21 campaign where he scored 13 goals in 28 matches and picked up two Player of the Month awards in the January and February. His work went under the radar for a lot of his time in English football, and only at the end of his stay in the Premier League was Gundogan seriously appreciated for his talent.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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