Ranking the 5 best Dutch players in the Premier League
Updated: Mar 22
When putting together this list, you realise just how many great Dutch players have graced the Premier League over the years.
Since the inaugural weekend of the Premier League season, there has been a total of 133 Dutchmen who have played in the competition. Read on to see which of these players make Tenner’s all-time top 5!
5. Ruud van Nistelrooy
Coming in at number five is Ruud van Nistelrooy. Compared to others in this list, van Nistelrooy had a relatively short stint in the Premier League only playing five seasons with Manchester United before moving onto Real Madrid. But during those five seasons, he was prolific, scoring 95 goals in 150 appearances in the Premier League, winning the Golden Boot in 2002-03. He also achieved team success winning a Premier League title as well as an FA Cup and League title.
Van Nistelrooy, like others in this list, would score goals in every and any way possible. Check out Manchester United's own ranking of his best goals in the Premier League here.
4. Virgil van Dijk
Big Virg currently sits at number 4 on this list, but when all is said and done, he very much could be much higher on this list. Van Dijk is currently in his seventh year in the Premier League and his fourth at Liverpool. Van Dijk’s arrival at Liverpool has coincided with their rise to relevance in world football as one of the best teams in the world. In 2017/18, Liverpool were runners-up in the Champions League. In 2018/19, Liverpool narrowly finished second to Manchester City in the league despite only losing one match, but they won the Champions League. That year, Van Dijk also won Premier League Player of the Year. And In 2019/20, Liverpool won the Premier League for the first time ever, which was also their first English title since 1990. Unfortunately, van Dijk suffered a season-ending injury at the start of this campaign in what could have been another dominant season from him. Still, van Dijk is very much in the prime of his career and with the current make-up of the Liverpool squad, could still see some success in the coming seasons.
As a big centre-back, van Dijk is best known for his defending. Since 2017-18, there have only been eight players in the Premier League who have successfully dribbled past him. But one of the most underrated parts of his game, and what has become a big fixture of Liverpool’s potent offence is his ability to pass out from the back. Whether he is crossing the ball across the field for the wing-backs like Robertson or Alexander-Arnold or putting Mane or Salah in on goal, his passing from defence is something to behold.
3. Robin van Persie
Van Persie was one of the most dominant strikers in his prime playing for Arsenal and Manchester United. Across his time in the Premier League he won the golden boot twice, but only managed to win one title with Manchester United. Van Persie scored goals at a prolific rate averaging 0.51 goals per game which puts him within the top 10 ever in the Premier League.
While he possessed the traits of the archetype striker - a fantastic touch, a whopping shot and a clinical finish - he was far from one-dimensional. He could score on both feet, take free kicks and head the ball. Check out his top five goals in the Premier League and you’ll see what I mean.
2. Edwin van der Sar
Often in these lists it is easy to overlook the goalkeepers in favour of outfield players. But it is undeniable, especially after considering his accomplishments, that van der Sar was one of the best Dutch players the league has ever seen.
Van der Sar joined the Premier League rather late when he was 30 years old. He first played four seasons at Fulham before moving to Manchester United. In his six seasons at United, they were the dominant team, winning four league titles and coming runners-up twice. At 40 years and 205 days old, he became the oldest player ever to win the Premier League in his final season. In 42% of his games in the Premier League, van der Sar kept a clean sheet. This number is even greater with Manchester United where he kept a clean sheet in every second game. Van der Sar also holds the record for longest sequence of clean sheets, with 14 in a row!
Check out some of his best saves below and see why he was affectionately known as the Flying Dutchman.
1. Dennis Bergkamp
And coming in at number one of best Dutch players in the Premier League is Dennis Bergkamp. Bergkamp joined Arsenal in the Premier League in 1995 and stayed there for 11 years. In the three seasons before he arrived, Arsenal finished 10th, 4th and 13th. In his eleven years at Arsenal, they never finished below 5th. And from the 1997-98 season to 2004-05, every year Arsenal either finished first or second!
During his time at Arsenal, Bergkamp won three Premier League titles and four FA Cups, including two Premier League and FA Cup Doubles, and the famous ‘Invincibles’ season in 2003/04. Across this period he played 314 league games, scored 87 goals and assisted 94 (which is fifth most all-time in the Premier League). On the official Arsenal website, Bergkamp is ranked as the second best Arsenal player of all time.
Amongst countless memorable moments he produced in England, Bergkamp will always be best remembered for his wonderful goal against Newcastle, which perfectly summed up his combination of unrivalled creativity and brilliant skill.
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