The Premier League has announced a shortlist of 15 former players in the running to join its prestigious Hall of Fame this year, with Jermain Defoe and Michael Carrick receiving nominations for the first time.
A total of 16 English top-flight icons have been inducted into the Premier League’s Hall of Fame since its inception in 2021, including the likes of Thierry Henry, Alan Shearer and David Beckham.
And earlier this week Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger, who won 16 league titles between them at Manchester United and Arsenal respectively, also became the first managers to enter the esteemed club.
Now the Premier League has revealed its nominees for 2023, which features two newcomers in Defoe and Carrick.
The latter enjoyed great success in his 12-year stint with United, clinching five titles while making over 300 appearances, having previously plied his trade at West Ham and Tottenham.
Carrick also claimed a host of other trophies, including the Champions League, though only Premier League achievements are taking into consideration in the Hall of Fame reckoning.
As for Defoe, while he never got his hands on a league winner’s medal, the ex-England striker is ninth in the all-time goalscoring charts after finding the back of the net 162 times across 496 appearances for West Ham, Tottenham, Portsmouth, Sunderland and Bournemouth.
Several ex-players have been nominated for a third time this year, having missed out on a place in the Hall of Fame on two previous occasions; with Tony Adams, Sol Campbell, Andy Cole, Ashley Cole, Les Ferdinand, Rio Ferdinand, Robbie Fowler, Michael Owen, John Terry and Nemanja Vidic all hoping for third time lucky in 2023.
Petr Cech, Gary Neville and Yaya Toure are also in the running again having made it onto the shortlist for the first time in 2022.
Nevertheless, six legends have also been cut from this year’s shortlist after previous inclusions.
Matt Le Tissier, whose conspiracy-peddling views have caused widespread controversy over the past year, has failed to make the cut, while there is also no room for Patrice Evra after his recent conviction for homophobic abuse.
Robin van Persie, Edwin van der Sar, Teddy Sheringham and Ruud van Nistelrooy have also missed out after being nominated in 2022.
Shortlisting takes into account Premier League statistics of players who have been retired as of 1 January 2023, as well as voting data from previous Hall of Fame shortlists.
Fans can vote for the Premier League icon they want to join the Hall of Fame by clicking here or using the official Premier League app.
Voting is open until 6pm on Monday 10 April, with the three latest inductees to be revealed on Wednesday 3 May.
Each inductee receives a personalised medallion along with a £10,000 donation made by the Premier League to a charity of their choice.
Ferguson and Wenger were delighted to enter the Hall of Fame this week, speaking of their pride after becoming the first managerial inductees this week.
‘I’m truly delighted to be inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame. It’s an honour when you receive recognition like this,’ said Ferguson, who claimed a record 13 titles in his legendary career as United boss.
‘However, it’s not just about me as a person. It’s about the job at Manchester United and the bond we had over many years, so I’m also proud for the club, the staff and my players.
‘My job was to send the fans home happy. United’s history and my own expectations were the things that drove me, and I then had to try and develop all my players with the same expectations and make sure we could go out and achieve them.
‘I feel Arsene is a very worthy inductee as he transformed Arsenal Football Club fantastically. They became a tough team to compete with and we both wanted to win, which motivated us further.
‘Through the years since retirement, we’d go for dinner together in a little restaurant he knows well in Switzerland. He is a really interesting man and I enjoy his company, but it is still my job to pick the wine!’
Wenger, the only manager in Premier League history to win the title while avoiding defeat throughout an entire campaign, also said: ‘I am very grateful to have been selected for the Premier League Hall of Fame. We always wanted to give something special to the fans and when you have players capable of remarkable things, the most important thing for me is the obligation of perfection.
‘I’d like to be known as someone who loved Arsenal, who respected the values of the club and left it in a position where it can grow and become even bigger.
‘To share this with Sir Alex is a great honour for me. It’s like two boxers, you fight like mad and go the distance together.
‘At the end of the day, you have respect and it will be a great opportunity to meet with him, share a good bottle of wine and memories of our old battles.’