Pass master Henderson set to break long-standing Premier League record

As the Liverpool man closes in on Gareth Barry's mark of 20,616 top-flight passes, we take a look at the Reds captain's stats and assess his closest rivals.

It's getting increasingly difficult to break Premier League records these days, but Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson is about to do just that.

The midfielder is fast closing in on Gareth Barry's record of 20,616 passes in the Premier League, and he is achieving it at a comparatively young age.

Passing stats are often the most difficult to assess as they only measure quantity rather than quality, but it's still a remarkable milestone.

To celebrate, Planet Sport looks at the most prolific passers in the Premier League today, and there are definitely one or two surprises.

Eric Dier - 12,085

Eric Dier in action for Tottenham

With his career having stagnated a little in the last couple of years, the Tottenham man is one of those getting a new lease of life under Antonio Conte.

There have been few more prolific and consistent passers of the ball in the Premier League in recent years than the England international, though.

Of course, he is not always especially creative with it, but not everyone has to be.

Ashley Westwood - 12,433

Ashley Westwood in action for Burnley

There are some players you kind of forget have been almost permanent fixtures in the Premier League for years, and Westwood is definitely one of them.

He is in his eighth consecutive season in the top division, and Aston Villa and Burnley fans will all tell you he is man who can be trusted in possession.

The stats certainly tell you that too.

Nemanja Matic - 13,855

Nemanja Matic of Manchester United

Matic is another player currently playing his eighth consecutive season of Premier League soccer.

The Serbian has been a key figure for both Chelsea and Manchester United, so it will come as little surprise to see him feature on this list.

It's fair to say that his influence has diminished a little in recent years, and at 33 years old he is coming to the end of his career. He has certainly proven his worth over the years, though.

Jonny Evans - 15,585

Jonny Evans in action

Evans has made a more than 330 Premier League appearances for four different clubs since making his debut in 2008, so he is probably on this list on longevity alone.

Although the Leicester defender is comfortable on the ball, I'm not sure anyone would necessarily expect him to be spraying passes around all day from the back.

He is phenomenally consistent and reliable, though, and him making it onto this list is testament to that.

Fernandinho - 15,941

Fernandinho looks on for Manchester City

If anyone was going to compile of list of the most underrated players the Premier League has ever seen, I suspect Fernandinho would feature pretty prominently.

The Brazilian joined Manchester City in 2013 and has been a key player in four Premier League winning sides.

Playing in a Pep Guardiola side will always do wonders for your passing statistics, but at an average of more than 60 passes per match, his consistency is far from reliant on the Spaniard.

James Milner - 17,295

James Milner in action for Liverpool

James Milner has been playing in the Premier League for so long now that it's hard to believe he is only 35.

However, considering he broke into the Leeds team when he was just 16, that means he has been playing Premier League soccer for nearly two decades now.

Milner has never been the most exciting or glamorous of players (as is illustrated by the Boring James Milner Twitter parody), but with close to 600 top-flight appearances and three Premier League winners' medals to his name, he is a very hard player not to admire. He owes his spot on this list to that longevity, but that doesn't make him any less worthy.

Cesar Azpilicueta - 17,979

Cesar Azpilicueta playing for Chelsea

There are times when it feels like Azpilicueta has been around almost as long as Milner given how big a fixture he has become in the Chelsea team.

He is currently in his tenth season at the club, but he is much more known as a no-nonsense defender than he is for comfort on the ball.

Clearly, though, that reputation is unfair. Azpilicueta has averaged around 59 passes per game during his 300+ matches in the Premier League, and that is deeply impressive no matter who you are.

Mark Noble - 18,255

Mark Noble leading out West Ham

Noble is another one of those players who have to be applauded for their sheer longevity.

The West Ham man has seen his on-pitch influence at the club dwindle over the last 18 months or so with Declan Rice emerging to succeed - and surpass - him.

Noble has played more than 400 times in the Premier League over 16 seasons, so you'd expect him to have amassed some impressive numbers, and he certainly has done just that.

Kyle Walker - 18,263

Kyle Walker in action for Manchester City

At one point in his career, Kyle Walker was consider more athlete than soccer player. He has long since debunked those theories, though.

Walker is another whose passing statistics have benefited from playing in a Guardiola team, but that only tells part of the story.

While it's not a shock to see him on the list, seeing him so high is something of a surprise but that just highlights how complete a player the Manchester City and England man has become.

Jordan Henderson - 20,570

Jordan Henderson salutes Liverpool fans

Barring injury or suspension, some time in December, Jordan Henderson will surpass Gareth Barry to become the most prolific passer in Premier League history.

While he has not always been universally appreciated by fans, it's a remarkable achievement, especially given the fact he will hit the front at just 31 years old.

It hasn't been a case of longevity ruling with Henderson either. He averages more passes per game than Cesc Fabregas did in the Premier League and considerably more than Michael Carrick, who was a veritable master of dictating play with neat incisive passing from central midfield.

It would also be wrong to dismiss the Liverpool captain as just a sideways and backwards passer, too. With 52 assists to his name, he is also among the top 40 goal providers in Premier League history.

*Statistics from premierleague.com and accurate as of December 10, 2021.

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