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Premier League: Under appreciated strikers

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Olivier Giroud celebrates after scoring.Photo/Sky Sports
  • Over the years the Premier League has seen top strikers who gained recognition worldwide.
  • However, there are some strikers whose tenure was overshadowed by the greats of that time.
  • We look at the Premier League’s most underappreciated strikers.

Over the years the Premier League has seen top strikers who gained recognition worldwide.

However, there are some strikers whose tenure was overshadowed by the greats of that time.

We look at the Premier League’s most underappreciated strikers.

Andy Cole

Andy Cole. Photo/Getty Images

Andy Cole, one of the Premier League’s outstanding players, is frequently forgotten when talking about the league’s greatest goal scorers.

The third-highest total in Premier League history is Cole’s 187 goals, which are made all the more remarkable when you realize that the former Manchester United attacker only converted one penalty kick.

When penalties are taken out of the equation, Cole’s goals-per-game ratio surpasses that of Alan Shearer. He also recorded an astounding 73 assists, making him one of just three players to lead both the goals and assists lists in the same season, along with Harry Kane and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.

His comparably low legacy has been influenced by Glenn Hoddle’s controversial assessment that Cole needed five opportunities to score as well as his lack of recognition with England.

Emile Heskey

Another former England forward who gained a bit of fame was Emile Heskey, whose meager goal total gave an inaccurate impression of a player who was more talented than most people realize.

Heskey rose through the ranks at Leicester, competing in three cup finals over the course of four seasons, twice winning the League Cup at Wembley, and then leaving for Liverpool for £11 million.

Emile Heskey excelled in his first full season with the Reds, scoring 22 goals across all competitions, winning the UEFA Cup, the FA Cup, and the League Cup, and developing a strong bond with Michael Owen.

Heskey struggled because he played in an age when forwards were evaluated almost exclusively on goals, and it’s safe to suggest his skills would be more recognized now.

His 53 assists in the Premier League are just two fewer than Paul Scholes’ total. He was a selfless facilitator who improved others around him. With just one fewer cap for England than Alan Shearer, he had good cause to be liked by so many coaches and teammates.

Ruud van Nistelrooy

Ronaldo with Ruud

Ronaldo with Ruud van Nistelrooy.|PHOTO: FourFourTwo|

Without a doubt, during his prime at Manchester United, Ruud van Nistelrooy was one of the most feared forwards in Europe.

In just 219 games over the course of five seasons at Old Trafford, Van Nistelrooy scored 150 goals, earning the Premier League’s Golden Boot in 2002/03 and three times finishing as the competition’s top scorer.

Van Nistelrooy, however, is sometimes forgotten when the Premier League’s top players are discussed since his 95 league goals (in an incredibly amazing 150 games) leave him short of joining the famed “100 club” and the several montages that exclusivity entails.

It’s easier to forget how outstanding Van Nistelrooy was with the Red Devils because of Thierry Henry’s brilliance, which saw him win the Golden Boot in four of his five Premier League seasons.

Olivier Giroud

The claim that Olivier Giroud is underappreciated has been said so frequently that it is almost false, yet the Frenchman was undoubtedly overlooked for the majority of his Premier League career.

Despite having a great goalscoring record, stature, and subtlety, he was unable to secure a regular starting position with either Arsenal or Chelsea, despite having a hand in the clubs’ championship victories.

In just 152 Premier League starts, Giroud scored 90 goals. He also distinguished himself on the international scene with France, where his hold-up play and goal-scoring prowess helped Les Bleus win the 2018 World Cup.

Jermain Defoe

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Jermain Defoe departed from the game having scored 162 Premier League goals over stints at West Ham, Spurs, Portsmouth, Sunderland, and Bournemouth, making him the ninth-highest goal scorer in league history.

Despite having innate natural skill, Defoe never played for a team that could contend for major championships and was frequently passed over throughout his time in North London, earning him the unwelcome nickname “Super-sub.”

Defoe is the player with the most goals scored off the bench in the Premier League (24), as well as for the England national team (7 goals).

Given opportunities, both in terms of selection and in the box, Defoe frequently delivered. In fact, following a sensational performance against Wigan in November 2009, Defoe became one of just a handful of players to score five goals in a Premier League match.

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