Wayne Rooney & Patrick Vieira enter Premier League Hall of Fame!

Manchester United and Everton legend Wayne Rooney and iconic Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira are being inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame recognises and celebrates the exceptional skill and talent of individuals who have graced the Premier League since its inception in 1992. It is the highest individual honour awarded to players by the League.

Rooney and Vieira are the first two inductees of 2022, with a public vote opening up later today to decide another six to join them from a shortlist of 25 former players.

Rooney joins the select group as the second-highest scorer in Premier League history, after inaugural inductee Alan Shearer, having struck 208 goals in 491 appearances. He also provided 103 assists, a tally only beaten by two players.

“It’s a huge honour for me to be named in the Premier League Hall of Fame, alongside an incredible group of players who have already been inducted,” Rooney says.

“Growing up, I watched the Premier League as far back as I can remember. My dream was always to become a professional footballer, score goals and win trophies, and I was lucky enough to win the Premier League five times.

“I have so many brilliant memories from my years playing for Everton and Manchester United, and I’m really proud of what we achieved. To enter the Hall of Fame is very special for me personally and I’m grateful to be recognised.”

After bursting on to the scene with a sensational first Premier League goal as a 16-year-old Everton striker against Arsenal, Rooney became a mainstay of the England team before joining Manchester United at the age of 18.

During 13 seasons at Old Trafford, Rooney scored 183 Premier League goals to become the club’s record scorer in the competition. He won the League five times, including three in a row between 2006/07 and 2008/09.

Thanks to a combination of raw talent and technical ability, he was named Player of the Month five times and won the League’s Player of the Season award in 2009/10.

He then had a fairytale return to Everton, scoring 10 goals including the November 2017 Goal of the Month, before calling time on his Premier League career with a move to DC United in MLS. He returned to English football at Derby County, where he is now the manager.

Vieira was a colossal presence in Arsenal’s midfield from 1996 to 2005, dominating matches while scoring 31 goals and providing 34 assists in 307 Premier League appearances as he won the title three times.

“Being inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame is a fantastic achievement,” Vieira says. “When I received the news, I thought about being a young boy playing in Senegal, or in a suburb of Paris.

“To be there with the best players in the Premier League, the best league in the world, is bigger than what I was ever thinking about. To have my name around those players makes me proud and makes me realise how good I was.

“It’s not bad company to join. I was lucky to play at the same time as some of them, of course including Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp, so to share the stage with them makes me realise I had a really good career.

“What really makes me happy and proud is when your name is mentioned by new, up-and-coming holding midfielders as an example of how they would like to play.”

Combining power, athleticism and tough tackling with pinpoint passing and ruthless finishing, Vieira won the 2000/01 Player of the Season award and established himself as one of the greatest central midfielders of his generation.

He etched his name into the history books in the third of his Premier League Trophy wins, captaining “The Invincibles” as Arsene Wenger’s team won the 2003/04 title without losing a single match.

Vieira finished his Premier League playing career at Manchester City before turning to life off the field. After coaching in the US and France, he was named manager of Crystal Palace last summer.

Joining an elite club

A shortlist of 25 additional nominees who are eligible to join the Premier League Hall of Fame in 2022 will be announced later today, with fans invited to help select six inductees.

Voting will take place at premierleague.com/halloffame and on the official Premier League app until 21:00 BST on Sunday 3 April.

The eight inductees will be formally honoured at a Premier League Hall of Fame event later next month.

Donation to charity

All inducted players receive a medallion engraved with their name and the year of their induction, with a £10,000 donation made by the Premier League to a charity of their choice.

Richard Masters, the Premier League’s Chief Executive, says: “Wayne Rooney and Patrick Vieira are two of the finest players to have played in their respective positions and are worthy additions to the eight players who entered the Hall of Fame last year.

“I think everybody who is old enough to remember Wayne bursting on to the scene for his hometown club Everton as a teenager will agree it is a defining moment of the Premier League era. At Manchester United, he went on to become one of the greatest forwards this country has produced, capable of scoring every kind of goal.

“During more than a decade with Arsenal, Patrick was a tower of strength in midfield and very few players have matched his combination of power and finesse. He was an integral part of the team and a leader on the pitch, captaining the only side to have gone unbeaten through an entire Premier League season.”

Rooney and Vieira follow in the footsteps of eight of the League’s most iconic players in being inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Shearer and Vieira’s former Arsenal team-mate Thierry Henry were the inaugural inductees last year, before David Beckham, Dennis Bergkamp, Eric Cantona, Steven Gerrard, Roy Keane and Frank Lampard were selected following a fan and panel vote to complete the “Class of 2021”.

About Press Release

Check Also

AFC Bournemouth sign keeper Alex Paulsen!

AFC Bournemouth have announced the signing of highly-rated goalkeeper Alex Paulsen. The 21-year-old has joined …