The number 10 jersey is arguably the most iconic in football. So many greats of the game, from Pele to Lionel Messi, have donned that emblematic figure and furthered its legendary status.
Across the planet, it’s come to be associated with the playmaker. In fact, the ‘number 10’ role is commonly reserved for the deep-lying forward or second striker.
However, as with other numbers, it can be worn by anyone. But across the Premier League, it’s exclusively reserved for those in midfield or further up the pitch.
Heading into the forthcoming campaign all 20 teams have confirmed their ’10’ with Manchester United the last. Marcus Rashford, a symbol of their academy, has been entrusted with the shirt last worn by record-goalscorer Wayne Rooney.
Given this news, we’ve decided to rank every Premier League player currently wearing the No.10 jersey.
20. Isaac Success (Watford)
Signed from Granada in 2016 the Nigerian forward hasn’t exactly set Watford on fire having only made 19 league outings, in which he’s registered a single goal. After spending much of last season on loan at Málaga the native of Benin City is hoping for much success (no pun intended) under Javi Gracia.
19. Hélder Costa (Wolves)
A graduate of Benfica’s esteemed academy Costa joined the Wolves revolution last summer and quickly became an integral fixture under compatriot Nuno Espírito Santo as they cruised to promotion. The flying winger has to date created and scored 34 goals for the West Midlands club.
18. Kenneth Zohore (Cardiff City)
The much-travelled Danish striker made Cardiff his home in 2016 and he’s not looked back since. Zohore, who previously turned out for FC Copenhagen and Fiorentina, was modest in his goal return last season having bagged nine across 36 league outings as Neil Warnock’s men secured a Premier League return.
17. Mohamed Diamé (Newcastle United)
The former West Ham and Hull City central midfielder is a regular mainstay under Rafael Benítez, who in the past has spoken highly of his off-field leadership. Last season the Senegalese international thrived in a deeper role.
16. Florin Andone (Brighton & Hove Albion)
Andone scored six goals in 29 La Liga games for Deportivo de La Coruna last season which was enough to convince Brighton boss Chris Hughton to bring the striker to the south coast this summer in a €6 million deal.
15. Jordon Ibe (Bournemouth)
After seeing opportunities limited at Liverpool the Bermondsey-born winger moved to Bournemouth in 2016 and he’s since done reasonably well under Eddie Howe, scoring his first league goals last season, but it’s fair to say there’s more to come from him.
14. Ashley Barnes (Burnley)
A future Austrian international, Barnes enjoyed his best season in front of goal for Burnley last time out. The native of Bath bagged nine goals across 36 matches as Sean Dyche’s men defied the odds to secure European football. And they’ve given themselves every chance of reaching this season’s Europa League group phase, especially with the kind of form Barnes recently displayed in their second qualifying round win over Aberdeen.
13. Charlie Austin (Southampton)
It’s been a start-stop to life at Southampton for Charlie Austin whose signing from QPR in 2016 was met with great enthusiasm. But, as the saying goes, class is permanent. Whenever a fully healthy Austin takes to the pitch he’s a nuisance for the opposition’s defence and we saw that in glimpses last season – a campaign in which the Saints largely struggled in.
12. James Maddison (Leicester City)
A newbie to the Leicester ranks after his big money move from Championship outfit Norwich City this summer, the talented midfielder impressed on his competitive debut against Manchester United on Friday. He may turn into a key man for Claude Puel’s side this campaign.
11. Tom Cairney (Fulham)
If Ryan Sessegnon is Fulham’s poster boy then Tom Cairney is their heartbeat. The former Leeds United academy graduate was impeccable as Slaviša Jokanović’s team scratched and clawed their way to promotion. His standout performances weren’t going unnoticed with the powers that be at Craven Cottage turning down a £15m then £18m offer from West Ham earlier in the year.
10. Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace)
So much was expected of Andros Townsend when he emerged at Tottenham Hotspur all those years ago, he may not have fulfilled his potential, but it’s clear for all to see there’s a new lease of life for him under Roy Hodgson.
9. Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield Town)
Mooy had a debut Premier League season to remember last time out. The 27-year-old Huddersfield playmaker acts diligently in David Wagner’s system as he is the panache in which the Terriers’ industry is constructed around. His ability to recycle possession was the bedrock behind the club’s successful survival bid.
8. Manuel Lanzini (West Ham)
The Hammers are going to miss Lanzini for a while after the Argentine midfielder sustained a serious knee injury on international duty which cost him a place in their World Cup squad. That being said, he’s been a joy to watch since turning up in east London, and when he does return it will be like having a new player.
7. Gylfi Sigurdsson (Everton)
Class is permanent and though Sigurdsson has yet to display his true form at Everton there’s no hiding from the fact he remains one of the league’s finest playmakers. Under a new manager, one that is more proactive, we could very well see the best of this Icelandic maestro.
6. Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)
The emergence of Rashford has been one of the few highlights at Old Trafford in the post-Ferguson era. After grabbing his opportunity under Louis van Gaal he’s gone from strength to strength and last season was his most productive campaign yet, bagging 13 goals and nine assists in 52 appearances.
5. Sadio Mané (Liverpool)
Liverpool arguably possess the deadliest front three in European football. Sure, there are strong contenders, but this one – forged by Jurgen Klopp – is something else. Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino, rightfully, stole the headlines last season but one cannot underestimate the brilliance of Mane whose incredible play earned him the club’s fabled No.10 jersey.
4. Mesut Özil (Arsenal)
No player seems to court more undue criticism than Ozil who reigns as Arsenal’s elegant creator-in-chief. So much noise is made about his body language when you should be concentrating on what he does best. He might have lost his crown as the Premier League’s ‘assist king’ but nevertheless he remains a supreme force on his day.
3. Sergio Agüero (Manchester City)
There’s an argument that Sergio Aguero is the greatest footballer to play for Manchester City. It’s not a knock on those who came before him – including the legendary Mike Summerbee, Colin Bell and Francis Lee – but to put into perspective what he’s achieved since joining from Atletico Madrid. He’s the club’s most-decorated goalscorer, becoming the first to reach 200 in all competitions for City, as well as one of the Premier League most feared centre-forwards.
2. Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
You are never sure what you are going to get from Eden Hazard and most of the time those facing him don’t exactly know what just happened, such is the Belgian’s speed of thought. There’s a reason why Real Madrid (and Barcelona) have been associated with his signature.
1. Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur)
It wasn’t long ago that some predicted Kane to be a ‘one-season wonder’, fast-forward several years and the English marksman is arguably the most lethal striker in European football having averaged 26.25 goals across his last four league seasons. A graduate of Spurs academy, it remains to be seen whether he finishes his career at the Lilywhites.