Football Features

Every Premier League No.10 ranked

By Ben Green

Every Premier League No.10 ranked

Published: 20:00, 14 July 2023

It’s one of football’s most revered and sacred shirt numbers. Indeed, does any kit even come remotely close to touching the No.10?

Pele, Diego Maradona, Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldinho and Francesco Totti all wore the hallowed number at some point in their respective careers, for club and/or country. And that’s without even mentioning Lionel Messi, Juan Roman Riquelme, Dennis Bergkamp, Ferenc Puskas or Roberto Baggio.

It’s a who’s who of footballing royalty. So much so that four clubs who were once represented by some of those names even retired the number. Roma immortalised Totti’s famous shirt; Brescia hung up Baggio’s number; Budapest Honved retired Puskas’ jersey; and New York Cosmos enshrined Pele’s legacy.

The Premier League has had it’s fair share of aristocratic 10s as well, not least Paul Scholes, Eden Hazard, Wayne Rooney, David Beckham, Paulo di Canio, Mesut Ozil, Roy Keane, Sergio Aguero, Michael Owen and many, many more. These days, the talent pool remains delectably elite.

So, ahead of the 2023/24 Premier League season, we’ve decided to rank every player wearing the No.10 shirt in the division right now. Here is our list of the best 10s, which will undoubtedly split opinion asunder and draw ire from rival factions.

Enjoy while I go and take cover…

16. Cauley Woodrow

Age: 28

Club: Luton Town

Position: Forward

Premier League new boys Luton will have their work cut out for them next season, and unfortunately, their No. 10 comes in dead last on our list. The Hatters, of course, worked wonders to secure promotion after a play-off final win over Coventry in May, but Cauley Woodrow was nowhere to be seen at Wembley as a knee injury restricted his involvement. Even when fit, though, he scarcely featured, starting just five Championship games, and making a further 22 appearances from the bench. He did recently sign a new contract, but if last season’s involvement is anything to go by, he won’t be a starter under Rob Edwards.

15. Ryan Christie

Age: 28

Club: Bournemouth

Position: Attacking midfielder

An elegant and dazzling player on his day. Unfortunately, those days are few and far between. Ryan Christie has all the hallmarks of a classic 10, but he registered just the single assist last season, despite starting 22 matches, and appearing a further 10 times from the bench. Those are not the sort of numbers that will rank you high up on this list.

14. Tom Cairney

Age: 32

Club: Fulham

Position: Central midfielder

He’s a Fulham stalwart and the club’s captain, but Tom Cairney managed just six starts in the Premier League last season under Marco Silva, who preferred a midfield trio of Harrison Reed, Joao Palhinha and Andreas Pereira. He featured heavily from the bench, but we’re after absolute starters and high influencers to place high on this list of 10s.

13. Manuel Benson

Age: 26

Club: Burnley

Position: Winger

Two players scored over 10 goals in Burnley’s Championship-winning campaign under Vincent Kompany, and one of those was Manuel Benson, who notched 11. Perhaps, even more incredibly, he managed to do so in just 14 starts. The real acid test now, though, will be whether he can translate that form to the top flight. He has inherited Ashley Barnes’ No. 10 shirt following the forward’s departure.

12. Josh Dasilva

Age: 24

Club: Brentford

Position: Central midfielder

On his way to becoming an elite midfield presence, Josh Dasilva suffered an unfortunate hip injury in February 2021 that left him on crutches for six months. That seriously hampered his involvement in Brentford’s maiden Premier League season as he featured just nine times, but he was more prominent last term with 36 appearances, starting to really get back into his groove. Still only 24, the Arsenal academy graduate will be hoping to kick on even further in 2023/24 and re-establish himself as a top prospect.

11. Daniel Podence

Age: 27

Club: Wolves

Position: Winger

A lively and menacing force when at full throttle, Wolves’ pint-sized magician has the capacity to dazzle and penetrate defensive lines, but fans will lament a lack of consistency in his game. He started 20 matches last term and vindicated that faith with six Premier League goals, but a distinct lack of assists is concerning for any winger, let alone a Premier League one, otherwise Podence would be knocking on the door higher up on our list.

10. Emile Smith Rowe

Age: 22

Club: Arsenal

Position: Playmaker

Emile Smith Rowe is highly regarded at Arsenal and has been very unfortunate with injuries. The 22-year-old plays like a Brazilian — with his slippery feet, snake-hipped movement and vision — but was born a stone’s throw from Hale End. When he returned last term from a protracted lay-off, he was unfortunate that Mikel Arteta’s side was already in its groove and the manager was reluctant to tinker with a winning formula. With a new pre-season under his belt, a recent European U21 Championship medal on his mantlepiece and no recent injury problems, ESR should hopefully kick on again in 2023/24, and that could be massive for Arsenal (and possibly England).

9. Allan Saint-Maximin

Age: 26

Club: Newcastle

Position: Winger

Once the centrepiece of Newcastle’s attack and a player who made the admission fee worth it on Tyneside during a tumultuous period under Steve Bruce, Allan Saint-Maximin has seen his stock somewhat flatline under Eddie Howe. Of course, a few injury problems last term didn’t help, but he has struggled to re-establish himself as the elite force he once was at St. James’ Park. That said, the fleet-footed wonder still transfixed when he did get on the turf and proved his worth in Newcastle’s stellar top-four season. In just 12 Premier League starts for the club, he still managed five assists, the joint-third-most of any Newcastle player.

8. Emiliano Buendia

Age: 26

Club: Aston Villa

Position: Playmaker

Aston Villa were 2022/23’s ultimate Jekyll-and-Hyde club, flirting with relegation during autumn under Steven Gerrard, and then reaching Europe under Unai Emery with a scintillating post-World Cup run. Key to that resurgence was Emiliano Buendia, who became a mainstay in Emery’s XI and even featured in all 38 Premier League games, one of only six midfielders to do so in 2022/23.

7. Morgan Gibbs-White

Age: 23

Club: Nottingham Forest

Position: Playmaker

It only feels like a matter of time before Gareth Southgate focuses his gaze in the direction of Morgan Gibbs-White, who recently starred for England’s U21s in their European Championship-winning campaign earlier this month. Named as Nottingham Forest’s ‘Player of the Season’ in 2022/23, the double-barrelled phenom was the beating heart of Steve Cooper’s side, linking midfield to attack with sumptuous and delectable ease in his floating 10 role. A supreme talent.

6. Eberechi Eze

Age: 25

Club: Crystal Palace

Position: Playmaker

It’s a testament to Eberechi Eze’s mettle and mental fortitude that he’s been able to bounce back from a major injury setback to make his debut for England last month and feature in all 38 games for Crystal Palace in 2022/23. A wing-wizard who often plays through the middle and exploits the half space, Eze is Palace’s talismanic force and captivates with his dribbling virtuosity, a notion underpinned by his 71 completed take-ons, the most of any player in the 2022/23 Premier League season.

5. Lucas Paqueta

Age: 25

Club: West Ham

Position: Playmaker

If the future looks bleak for West Ham in a post-Declan Rice era, then fans can rest easy knowing they still have Lucas Paqueta in their midfield. The Brazilian, on paper, is not an archetypal David Moyes player, and that only serves to reinforce his wonder having overcome a few teething issues under the Scot to become the club’s most influential creator.

He will inherit the No. 10 shirt for the 2023/24 season following Manuel Lanzini’s departure, and what a successor to the Argentine jewel. Paqueta’s industry and tenacity belie his dazzling footwork, while his vision is second to none, as his through ball for Jarrod Bowen’s Conference League-winning goal attests to. The touch, vision and execution were world-class, and just about sum up Paqueta’s brilliance.

4. Alexis Mac Allister

Age: 24

Club: Liverpool

Position: Central midfielder

Liverpool’s new No. 10 relocates to Anfield with a burgeoning reputation as one of the Premier League’s finest midfield operators. He was highly influential as Argentina won the World Cup in Qatar, and produced miracles on the South Coast as Brighton secured European football for the first time in their history. Able to operate as a floating 8, an advanced playmaker or even up top, Mac Allister’s versatility is on an elite level and should really boost Jurgen Klopp’s reinvented midfield.

3. Marcus Rashford

Age: 25

Club: Manchester United

Position: Forward

Marcus Rashford enjoyed his highest-scoring season in Man Utd colours last term, netting 30 goals in all competitions, including 17 in the Premier League, as the club broke back into the top four and lifted the League Cup. The 53-capped England international should pass the 400-appearance mark for The Red Devils next season and continues to be one of the Premier League’s most potent and threatening forces in the final third.

2. Jack Grealish

Age: 27

Club: Manchester City

Position: Forward

You have to give Jack Grealish huge kudos for putting behind a rather tame maiden campaign under Pep Guardiola following his £100m move from Aston Villa. The unpredictable and mesmeric inside forward ended up being Pep’s attacking lynchpin in their Treble-winning campaign, forever immortalising his name in the annals of footballing folklore.

1. Harry Kane

Age: 29

Club: Tottenham Hotspur

Position: Striker

There can be no question that Harry Kane is the Premier League’s pre-eminent No.10-wearer at the minute. Not only is he Tottenham and England’s all-time record goalscorer, but he’s also second only to Alan Shearer in the Premier League’s overall tally. The three-time Golden Boot winner is yet to win a major honour at club or international level, but the individual accolades are really starting to stack up.

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