Counting down the Premier League's best ever players by shirt number (20-11): Henry, Keane...

In the third of our four-part countdown ranking top-flight players according to their shirt numbers, a lot of Man United players feature...

We continue to look back through the history of the Premier League and choose the best player for every number. In this piece, we turn our attention to players from 20 to 11.

20 - Robin van Persie

His transfer made massive headlines at the time as van Persie swapped Arsene Wenger for Sir Alex Ferguson in 2012. He picked up the No.20 shirt when he joined United and won the Golden Boot in his first season in Manchester.

He had also won the accolade in the previous campaign with Arsenal - and while captain of the club - highlighting his prolific instincts.

He had a powerful left foot but also the ability to strike the ball effectively in any given situation and matched with his poacher-like approach, van Persie was able to score 274 goals in his career.

Ferguson signed the Dutch striker to Manchester in the hope he would help the club reach a new level and win the Premier League, which they did. The 2012/13 trophy belonged to Manchester United and the left-footed attacker played his part, scoring 26 goals in a strong campaign.

19 - Dwight Yorke

Another ex-Manchester United striker to make an appearance on the countdown. The former Trinidad and Tobago international netted 122 goals with his most productive seasons under the No.19 shirt at Old Trafford.

In 1998/99 he won the Golden Boot as well as the Champions League Top Scorer award. His individual accolades were accompanied by the famous treble of the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup in an incredible campaign.

Yorke was known for his link-up play with Andy Cole at United and his career also saw him play in the shirts of Aston Villa, Birmingham City and Blackburn Rovers before finishing his playing days at Sunderland.

18 - Paul Scholes

We can't seem to escape the former Manchester United players here and at No. 18 we have another worthy player in the shape of Paul Scholes.

The Oldham-born midfielder was a one-club man and he made 710 appearances for the team he grew up watching. He adopted the shirt number in 1996 and wore it for 15 years and won every trophy possible at club level.

Scholes was a hot-head on the pitch. Often diving into tackles and giving away fouls, he made up for this deficiency with the rest of his game. An unbelievable passer of the ball, Scholes also knew how to hit a shot from long-range and could also pop up inside the box to net a goal. He was the definition of a real box-to-box midfielder.

An honourable mention goes to Jermain Defoe who donned the shirt for his time at Tottenham Hotspur, scoring plenty of goals in the process.

17 - Kevin De Bruyne

Without a doubt one of the greatest passers of a ball that the Premier League has ever witnessed. Since joining Manchester City in 2015, De Bruyne has established himself as one of the best players in the world and astonishingly he manages to get better season after season.

His first spell in England was somewhat of a failure under Jose Mourinho, but he developed in Germany and came back a completely new player.

Under the guidance of Pep Guardiola, De Bruyne has become the epitome of a modern creative player with goals and assists a huge part of his game.

The Belgian has been a key figure in the recent successes of City, winning no fewer than 11 trophies and with a lot of time remaining to add to that number.

16 - Roy Keane

Does this man need an introduction? Notoriously one of the hardest men in football (maybe Vinnie Jones takes that crown), Keane had plenty more strings to his bow.

A leader, a perfectionist, a super midfield general. Keane signed for Man United from Nottingham Forest in 1993 and kept hold of the shirt number until he retired at Celtic in 2006.

His winning mentality helped United to their never-ending success in his time at the club and he is a legend at Old Trafford.

The former Republic of Ireland international made 470 appearances for the Red Devils, scoring 51 goals and receiving an uncountable number of cards over the years.

Keane's successor, Michael Carrick, deserves a mention as he inherited the shirt from Keane and helped continue the club's success for more years to come.

15 - Nemanja Vidic

I promise I am not just picking former Manchester United players!

Vidic was somewhat of an unknown player when he signed from Spartak Moscow back in 2006, but he turned into one of the greatest centre-backs the Premier League has witnessed.

He won 17 trophies at Old Trafford and formed a formidable defensive partnership with England's Rio Ferdinand for almost a decade.

He was a tough-tackling defender who never backed out of a challenge and was excellent in the air. Ferdinand's more composed style complimented Vidic and together they were an unstoppable force for Ferguson's team.

He made 300 appearances for Manchester United and was a fan favourite with the United faithful because of his no-nonsense style of play.

Striker Peter Crouch deserves a shoutout for his contributions to the Premier League and he is a part of the 100 Club.

14 - Thierry Henry

Wow, what a player to watch play the beautiful game. His French swagger and wonderful ability on the ball was a joy to behold for Arsenal and neutral fans alike.

There is a long list of superlatives when describing Thierry Henry as a soccer player, but his stats speak just as loudly.

He is sixth on the all-time top Premier League goal scoring chart with 175 goals (although Harry Kane may overtake him shortly) and alongside two Premier League winners medals, he won two Player of the Season awards (2003/04 and 2005/06).

He also holds the record for most assists in a Premier League campaign with 20 in 2002/03, a feat only matched since by Kevin De Bruyne in 2019/20.

His dribbling ability and a deadly eye for a goal meant Henry was among the world's elite for many years while wearing the No.14 at Arsenal.

13 - William Gallas

And believe it or not, this wasn't Gallas' most questionable squad number! He donned the number 10 at Arsenal, but the less said about that the better.

All you need to know is that Gallas actually had success wearing the unlucky 13 under Jose Mourinho's leadership at Chelsea. He won the Premier League in consecutive seasons (2004/05 and 2005/06) and with John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho the first-choice centre-backs, Gallas found himself at right-back.

In the 2004/05 season, Chelsea only conceded 15 goals and kept an incredible 25 clean sheets on their way to lifting the trophy, proving that defence really is the best form of attack.

An honourable mention goes to Danny Murphy, who excelled at Fulham while donning the No.13 and helped the club reach the 2010 Europa League final.

12 - Olivier Giroud

French international Giroud wore the No.12 jersey in his time at Arsenal and deserves to be on this list for THAT scorpion kick goal alone, which won him the Puskas Award in 2017.

He scored some crucial goals for Arsenal in his five-and-a-half seasons at the Emirates and AC Milan's current forward has 90 Premier League goals and 28 assists.

The striker won nine trophies during his time at Arsenal and Chelsea, as well as the World Cup for his nation in 2018.

11- Ryan Giggs

Manchester United's legendary wing wizard wore the No.11 shirt. Owner of the most assists in league history (162) and most seasons with at least one appearance (22), former United player Giggs also boasts a record 13 Premier League winners' medals.

Having spent the vast majority of his career in the traditional No. 11 position of left-wing, it only seems right to give it to Giggs, who scared defences with his trickery and direct running. His goalscoring record wasn't too bad either: 109 goals in the Premier League for the one-club man.

Perhaps his most iconic goal for United didn't even come in the Premier League… when he dribbled past the whole Arsenal defence in the FA Cup to score the winning goal. Oh yeah, and then celebrated by him swinging his shirt around his head.

What a way to go into the top 10!

Read more: The five most iconic captains of the Premier League era: Keane, Gerrard...

Latest news