The Premier League is undoubtedly one of the world’s most competitive and thrilling soccer competitions. It is full of young stars and emerging talent, but that doesn’t mean we should overlook the old Premier League players who are still playing or have retired and are now considered game legends.
Many of us marvel at how these players seem to defy age, still displaying their unique talents on the football pitch while continuing their legacy as the pioneers of the Premier League.
With every passing season, these stars remind us of a time past and the modern challenge of staying competitive as a soccer player. Their stories are remarkable, but most importantly, it’s a lesson for young players that hard work and dedication can pay off.
Oldest Active Premier League Players
Thiago Silva is, without a doubt, one of the greatest soccer players of all time. He began his career in European football at Fluminense, where he caught the eye of AC Milan, who signed him in 2009. He spent two successful seasons there, reaching two Champions League finals, before his move to Paris Saint-Germain in 2012.
At PSG, Thiago Silva cemented his legacy as one of the greatest defenders of his generation. He was a crucial figure in the back line as they dominated the French League, winning eight Ligue 1 titles in eight seasons.
He also helped PSG finally break their UEFA Champions League hoodoo as they reached the final in 2019-20 but ultimately came up short against Bayern Munich.
Throughout this period, Thiago Silva was invariably one of the most consistent players since joining the premier league. He was never overly flashy, but his composure and reliability were second to none.
Thiago Silva is now plying his trade with Chelsea, where he seamlessly fits into the squad at age 38. As well as setting examples for younger players, this old Premier League stalwart is still performing at the highest level and is a shining example of one of the greatest defenders in the game today.
Lukasz Fabianski is one of the most decorated old premier league players. Initially beginning his career with Legia Warsaw, he quickly established himself as one of the most impressive goalkeepers the league had seen in some time.
His professional career with Arsenal saw him make over a hundred league appearances between 2007 and 2014 before he joined Swansea City.
Fabianski is known for his excellent positional play and ability to read the game and put himself in the best possible situations. His skill and drive to succeed are traits that make him one of the most successful oldest player.
His time with Swansea City showed him to be a consistent and reliable performer, winning their Player of the Year award in 2014-15.
Despite Fabianski’s age of 37, he remains one of the top goalkeepers in the Premier League and continues to be an inspiring figure for those of us who are watching from the sidelines.
Now playing with West Ham United, the 37-year-old Polish international has shown no signs of slowing down, proving himself to be an invaluable asset to the Hammers.
When Ashley Young stepped into the Premier League, he became an absolute legend of the game. Not only did he excel for his teams for over a decade, but he eventually became one of the old premier league players still playing in the current season.
A versatile footballer, Ashley Young is no stranger to gameday heroics. He has played as a full-back, winger, and even in some games in the striker position. His ability to play various roles while excelling in each has boosted the options available to current coaches.
With tons of recognition throughout his time in the top flight of English football, Young has proven time and time again why he is one of the most respected footballers to grace the field in recent years.
He was named Manchester United Player of the Year in 2011, made the PFA Team of the Year in 2007-08 and 2008-09, and even has an impressive 39 international caps. Even at 37 years old, his versatility is proving just as valuable as it ever was in the top flight of English soccer.
Aged 37, James Milner is still a force to be reckoned with, playing a vital role in Liverpool’s successful Premier League title challenge this season. The veteran midfielder is one of the remaining few to have represented the same team in all five seasons of the Premier League era, having signed for Leeds United in 2002.
Apart from his loyal stints at Manchester City and Liverpool, James Milner also graced Aston Villa during his tenure in the Premier League.
Impressively, Milner has also been awarded the Premier League Player of the Month award on two occasions, cementing his place as one of the oldest players to still be playing in the competition at a high level.
Milner has earned a reputation as one of the most consistent players ever to feature in the Premier League, and his longevity is a testament to his abilities. He is a leader on and off the pitch, providing a calming and reassuring presence in midfield.
Milner is a living testament to the strength and durability of some of the oldest Premier League players and a true soccer game legend.
João Moutinho is one of the most decorated old Premier League players in recent times.
Having enjoyed a distinguished career playing for some of the most successful European sides since his 2004 debut for Sporting Lisbon, the Portuguese international defensive midfielder has been a staple of the Premier League since he joined Wolverhampton Wolves in 2018.
Despite being in the twilight of his career, the 36-year-old continues to impose himself on games with his technical excellence and tenacity. His ability to retain possession and break up play is second to none, having made more tackles per game than any other Premier League midfielder since 2018/19.
Some may say Moutinho’s age is beginning to show, but he remains one of the Premier League’s top defensive midfielders due to his pinpoint passing, ball-winning ability, and leadership. Even after 15 years at the highest level of professional football, João Moutinho is still one of the oldest Premier League players playing this season.
Oldest Premier League Player Of All Time
John Burridge (Goalkeeper)
Last played: May 14, 1995 – 43 years 05 months and 11 days
The title of the oldest Premier League player of all time belongs to John Burridge. The goalkeeper was 43 years, five months, and eleven days old when he made his final Premier League appearance.
Known for his entertaining play style and wearing wacky gloves, Burridge was an intriguing character and fan-favorite who made his mark in the game.
John was a man of many faces throughout his career, playing for some of the biggest teams in England, including Manchester City and Southampton.
During his time with the Saints, Burridge achieved cult-like status and became known as the ‘grand old man’ of English soccer. At the age of 45, he was even still playing non-league football.
John Burridge’s story proves that anything is possible with determination and bravery. His achievements inspired generations of Premier League goalkeepers, both young and old, and his legacy will live on forever. For that, he is a true legend of the game.
Alec Chamberlain (Goalkeeper)
Last Premier League Appearance: May 13, 2007 – 42 years 10 months and 23 days
Alec Chamberlain is one of the most renowned oldest players, having played in numerous clubs during his long and successful career. He is a legend of the game, having seen and done it all at the highest level of football.
The former goalkeeper is best remembered for his time with Watford, where he established himself as a reliable custodian.
Chamberlain’s professional career may have ended in 2007, but he is still involved in the game, providing training to young goalkeepers regularly. He is also involved in broadcasting, and his experience and knowledge of the game make him an ideal pundit.
Alec Chamberlain is one of only a handful of players who have appeared for at least four clubs in the Premier League. His outstanding performances, leadership, and knowledge of the game have made him a legend in the world of soccer.
Steve Ogrizovic (Goalkeeper)
Last Played: May 6, 2000 – 42 years 07 months and 24 days
The Coventry and Shrewsbury Town goalkeeping stalwart played his final game in 2000.
The former Chesterfield goalkeeper signed professional terms in 1977 and enjoyed a 23-year career.
For Coventry, Ogrizovic made over 600 appearances and kept over 150 clean sheets in all competitions throughout his time at the club. He is fondly remembered as The Sky Blues’ longest-serving player, playing in nearly every game for a decade.
Brad Friedel (Goalkeeper)
Last Played In Premier League: November 10, 2013 – 42 years 05 months, and 23 days
Brad Friedel is the first non British player on the list. The American goalkeeper played for Liverpool, Blackburn Rovers, Aston Villa, and Tottenham Hotspur during his eighteen-year career in England. His impressive athleticism and agility made him one of the Premier League’s greatest-ever goalkeepers.
Friedel’s supporters consider him an innovator, the first goalkeeper to consistently confront strikers with a counter-attacking style of play. His bravery and quickness on the ball were essential to success.
He also opened the door for other American players to pursue a career in England, and for this, he will always remain an icon in the soccer world.
Mark Schwarzer (Goalkeeper)
Last Played: March 14, 2015 – 42 years 05 months, and 08 days old
Mark Schwarzer is the fifth oldest player in English Premier League history, having graced the English top-flight for an impressive 20 years. Hailing from Sydney, Australia, the goalkeeper was signed at Bradford City in 1996.
His standout performance at the Riverside earned him a move to Fulham in 2008, where he helped the club secure Europa League qualification in 2009, 2010, and 2011. Schwarzer then made several loan moves during the 2014-15 season, ending it at his former club Middlesbrough, and finished his career at Leicester in 2015-16.
Not only was Schwarzer one of the oldest premier league players of all time, but the Australian is also renowned for his dedication on the soccer field, making 625 league appearances in the Premier League.
Neville Southall (Goalkeeper)
Last Played: March 12, 2000 – 41 years 05 months 25 days
One of the most well-known old premier league players is Neville Southall. He is considered a legend of the game, an award-winning footballer who made an incredible 578 appearances for Everton Football Club
Southall has since retired, yet his name remains synonymous with soccer – the Welshman will forever be remembered as one of the greatest goalkeepers who ever graced the Premier League.
Southall’s career began in the late 70s when he signed with Everton, and he was ever-present during their successful decade in the 1980s. He won the First Division Championship twice, two FA Cup titles, and a European Cup Winners Cup in 1985.
He was trusted to take on the high-pressure penalty shots that came his way, and he achieved many clean sheets during his time at the club.
Kevin Poole (Goalkeeper)
Final Appearance: January 1, 2005 – 41 years 05 months, and 11 days
The goalkeeper played English soccer for more than twenty-three years at Aston Villa, Middlesborough, Leicester City, Birmingham City, Bolton Wanderers, Derby County, and Burton Albion. As one of the earliest Premier League players, Poole was a mainstay of the game, always taking advantage of every opportunity to prove he was an elite-level goalkeeper.
At the age of 59, Poole is still active in the footballing world, having recently returned from a tour of the UK with the Legends of the Premier League. Poole is an incredibly seasoned goalkeeper and an excellent ambassador for the beautiful game.
Jens Lehmann (Goalkeeper)
Last Played: April 10, 2011 – 41 years 05 months, and 00 days
The German goalkeeper made a memorable impression in the English top flight during his time at Arsenal, where he showed his love for the game and his frenetic style of play.
Lehmann made his first Premier League appearance for Arsenal in 2003, when he joined the Gunners from Borussia Dortmund on a free transfer. Lehmann made an immediate impression on his Premier League debut, settling into the squad quickly, earning himself the Man of the Match award.
The passionate goalkeeper brought a wealth of experience to the Premier League, having already made over 400 league appearances in the Bundesliga. Lehmann earned the nickname the “Unpredictable One” due to his aggressive style of play and often incredibly brave goalkeeping.
When Almunia suffered an injury during the warm-up on April 10 2011, Lehmann was forced to start for the first team against Blackpool. He became the oldest player to play for Arsenal in the Premier League.
Teddy Sheringham (Center Forward)
Last Played: Dec 30, 2006 – 40 years, 08 months, and 28 days
A well-traveled veteran, Teddy Sheringham has excelled at several clubs – including Nottingham Forest, Tottenham Hotspur, Portsmouth, West Ham, and Manchester United – and carved out an incredible career in England’s top division.
With a fantastic talent and remarkable physical condition, Edward Paul Sheringham scored over 150 Premier League goals and is the first non goalkeeper on the list.
His spell with the Red Devils between 1997-2001 was particularly successful, as he won his first league championship and a prestigious Treble of league, FA Cup, and UEFA Champions League titles.
Edwin van der Sar (Goalkeeper)
Last Played: May 22, 2011 – 40 years 06 months, and 23 days
Wrapping up the top 10 oldest players is Edwin van der Sar. The Dutchmen’s goalkeeping career spanned over two decades, and countless spectacular saves, making him one of the most iconic players. He played for Fulham and Manchester United from 2005-2011, winning four Premier League titles and the UEFA Champions League in 2008.
Van der Sar was a robust and reliable goalkeeper with a commanding presence who was rarely beaten. His trademark saves, cat-like reflexes, and remarkable ability to keep his composure in pressure-cooker moments were often the difference between victory and defeat.
The Dutch goalkeeper even played competitively at the highest level until he was 40, proving his remarkable longevity as one of the oldest football players.
Old Premier League Players No: 11-20
Ryan Giggs – Left Midfield – May 6, 2014 – 40 years 05 months 07 days
Shay Given – Goalkeeper – Sep 18, 2016 – 40 years 04 months 29 days
David Seaman – Goalkeeper – Jan 10, 2004 – 40 years 03 months 22 days
Kevin Phillips – Centre Forward – Oct 21, 2013 – 40 years 02 months 26 days
Gordon Strachan – Central Midfield – May 3, 1997 – 40 years 02 months 24 days
Willy Caballero – Goalkeeper – Dec 15, 2021 – 40 years 02 months 17 days
Steve Harper – Goalkeeper – May 24, 2015 – 40 years 02 months 10 days
Bryan Robson – Central Midfield – Jan 1, 1997 – 39 years 11 months 21 days
Dave Beasant – Goalkeeper – Feb 20, 1999 – 39 years 11 months 00 days
John Lukic – Goalkeeper – Nov 11, 2000 – 39 years 11 months 00 days
In conclusion, the Premier League has seen many talented players. Even in the former years, these old Premier League players have made significant contributions. Their skills, dedication, and hard work have helped to make the Premier League the exciting and competitive league it is today.
They have set a high standard for future players to strive for, and their legacies will be remembered for years to come.
Rhett is an Australian-born, globe trotter who is a UEFA ‘A’ Licence Soccer Coach. With his family, he has traveled and coached soccer in more than 30 countries, while attending World Cups, European Championships, and some of the biggest local derbies in the world!