Every year since the 1970s the PFA Team of the Year has been chosen by professional soccer players. It is seen as the highest accolade in the English league because it is the players who decide and vote on the best players. The Premier League began in 1992 after the English soccer league underwent a transformation. It has grown to be one of the best leagues in the world, and this is the very first PFA Team of the Year in the Premier League. Here is what the stars of yesteryear are up to now.
GK – Peter Schmeichel
When Danish goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel went to Manchester United in 1991, very few people had heard of him. It didn’t take him long to make his mark on the soccer world, and he was the standout goalkeeper in the very first Premier League season.
Schmeichel went on to win the Premier League five times with Manchester United, the FA Cup three times, and a historic Champions League victory in 1999. Schmeichel moved into the world of soccer analysis after retirement and has worked for both the BBC and Danish TV channels.
When he isn’t talking soccer, he’s playing it in charity events with many ex-players. Schmeichel also follows the career of his goalkeeping son Kasper, who followed in his footsteps by also winning the Premier League.
DF – David Bardsley
David Bardsley’s efforts in defense earned him acknowledgment from his fellow professional soccer stars, and he was in the PFA Team of the Year for the first time. Since retiring, Bardsley has focused on improving the way young people play soccer and has been based in Orlando for many years. There he runs his own soccer school that was once associated with Ajax, but now partners with his old team, Queens Park Rangers.
DF – Paul McGrath
Irish defender Paul McGrath was a huge part of the reason why Aston Villa were able to finish second in the first Premier League season. His calmness under pressure made him stand out, and his peers had to vote him in their Team of the Year. McGrath has suffered from a drinking addiction for most of his professional life and wrote a book, Back from the Brink, about his experiences. He also launched a singing career in 2011 after collaborating on an album released for charity in Ireland.
DF – Gary Pallister
Gary Pallister was one of the main reasons why Manchester United were the first ever winners of the Premier League. He played for the club over 300 times in nine years, winning four Premier League titles in that time. When he retired, he had no desire to move into coaching and instead has been working as an analyst both on the TV and radio.
DF – Tony Dorigo
Australian-born defender Tony Dorigo did so well in England that the country made him one of its own and he played international football for his new nation. He played for almost 20 years and with so much experience gained he works as a soccer expert for many TV shows. Dorigo works for ESPN and Al Jazeera, giving his opinions for international soccer games as well as matches played in La Liga and Serie A.
MF – Roy Keane
Although Roy Keane is a Manchester United legend, his first experience of Premier League soccer came with Nottingham Forest. His performance in this season would be enough to convince Alex Ferguson so make him a part of his team, and Keane won many league titles at United. After many years in Manchester, Keane hung up his cleats for the last time and became both a TV analyst and a coach.
He has had several unsuccessful attempts at being a manager and instead has found that working as an assistant with Irish manager Martin O’Neill suits him better. Keane has never been afraid to speak his mind and is one of the most brutal experts on television, happily calling out underperforming players.
MF – Gary Speed
Welsh midfielder Gary Speed is regarded as one of the greatest ever Premier League players. He seemed to have way more energy than anyone else and featured in over 600 games during his career before retiring at the age of 41. Speed moved into coaching and management after retiring from playing and is thought to be the mastermind behind the Welsh international team’s resurgence. Sadly, Speed was discovered at his own home having taken his own life in 2011.
MF – Paul Ince
Paul Ince was one of the most dynamic midfielders of his generation, and his performances for Manchester United won them the league and him a Team of the Year place. He played for some of the world’s best clubs in his career, and besides Manchester United, he played for Inter Milan and Liverpool. Ince retired in 2007 and has had spells managing teams in the lower divisions of England while he also features regularly as an expert analyst.
MF – Ryan Giggs
Ryan Giggs is arguably the greatest ever Premier League player, so it’s fitting that he was in the first ever Team of the Year. The Welsh midfielder would play into his 40s with Manchester United and has the most Premier League winners medals ever with 13. When his playing career ended, Giggs wanted to take up managing after learning from the great Sir Alex Ferguson. His first management job was a big one, and he took control of the Wales national team in 2018.
FW – Alan Shearer
Alan Shearer has scored more goals in the Premier League than any other player and even in its inaugural year, he was making his mark. Shearer was playing for Blackburn Rovers in 1992, scoring 16 goals before making his dream transfer to Newcastle United in 1996, his hometown team. The striker went on to score 260 Premier League goals and since retiring has become one of the BBC’s leading analysts on the iconic soccer show Match of the Day.
FW – Ian Wright
Ian Wright’s success story gives hope to any player not yet in the Premier League. He spent his early career in the lower leagues, but once he played in the big league, he proved he belonged. Wright scored over 200 goals in his career for Arsenal, Crystal Palace, and West Ham. The former soccer star has become an analyst but also launched a career in broadcasting. He had his own chat show and writes a column for The Sun newspaper.
These players paved the way for Premier League stars to become global icons thanks to their Player of the Year performances. Most have found soccer too hard to give up and have remained a part of their beloved sport through either coaching or as TV experts.