The Premier League have announced their first two Hall of Fame inductees – but have snubbed the division’s most-decorated player Ryan Giggs.
Former Southampton, Blackburn and Newcastle striker Alan Shearer and ex-Arsenal hero Thierry Henry are the first two players to be entered into the group, which honours the contribution of the league’s greatest-ever players.
Shearer is the top scorer in Premier League history with a huge tally of 260 goals through his top-flight career, which saw him spearhead Blackburn’s title charge in 1994/95, prior to his mega-money move to boyhood club Newcastle.
Meanwhile Henry is widely considered the best player to have graced the Premier League, winning three titles at Arsenal including as part of the 2003/04 ‘Invincibles’ side.
The Frenchman is sixth on the list of all-time goalscorers with 175, and won the Golden Boot a record four times, with Shearer collecting the same award in three seasons running.
Shearer said: “When you look at some of the unbelievable players to have graced the Premier League – week in, week out, year in, year out – I feel very honoured to join the Hall of Fame. I have to thank all of my team-mates, as well as the managers and coaches that I’ve worked with.
“All I ever wanted to be was a professional footballer. It was my dream to do that, my dream to win trophies and my dream to score at St James’ Park, to wear the number nine black-and-white shirt and it was fantastic. I enjoyed every minute of it.”
Henry said: “To be inducted alongside Alan Shearer as the two first inductees into the Premier League Hall of Fame is more than special.
“When I was young, I was just trying to make sure I could get a pair of boots and now we’re talking about the Hall of Fame. During my career I wanted to play hard and make sure I was fighting for the cause, because that’s all the fans want to see.
“If you asked me at the start of my career about entering the Hall of Fame, I wouldn’t have believed you. It’s an amazing honour.”
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Players must have been retired as of August 1, 2020 to be in the running for the award, with many previously expecting Manchester United legend Giggs to be among the first to be inducted.
The 47-year-old is due to face court this week charged with assault and coercive and controlling behaviour.
It is not known whether the active proceedings played any part in the Premier League’s decision to overlook Giggs, who won a record 13 titles at United during a 24-year career.