Non-Players of the Month
More than a hundred different mean have won the Premier League Player of the Month award since it came into being in August 1994; with six gongs to his name, Steven Gerrard has scooped the prize more often than anyone else. But there are plenty of superb footballers who were never once recognised by their peers at the end of the month.
In this slideshow, we count down the Premier League’s top 20 appearance makers who didn’t win a single Player of the Month award.
20. Gary Neville (400)
Neville won eight Premier League titles and made 400 appearances during his one-club career at Manchester United, but the former England right-back was never named Player of the Month in England’s top flight.
That, however, was probably more to do with his position than performance: his fellow professional recognised Neville’s consistency by voting him into the PFA Team of the Year on no fewer than six occasions.
19. Stewart Downing (408)
Downing may have struggled at times during a two-season spell at Liverpool, but he was excellent for periods of his Premier League career with Middlesbrough, Aston Villa and West Ham.
Yet despite scoring 37 goals and providing 59 assists in his 408 top-tier outings, the winger was never able to win the monthly award. Now 33 and plying his trade for boyhood club Boro in the Championship, Downing is running out of time.
18. Nicky Butt (411)
A dependable member of Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United squads throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, Butt won six titles at Old Trafford. The defensive midfielder later represented Newcastle and Birmingham in the Premier League, clocking up a total of 411 top-flight appearances before hanging up his boots in 2006.
Appreciated by team-mates and well liked by fans, Butt was nevertheless an unfashionable player – so it’s no surprise that he was never voted Player of the Month.
17. Richard Dunne (431)
Before Aymeric Laporte, there was Richard Dunne. The Irishman was a pillar of the Manchester City defence in the pre-Abu Dhabi era, making 296 league appearances over nine years split between Maine Road and the Etihad.
Dunne, who also played for Everton, Aston Villa and Queens Park Rangers in the Premier League, was a solid defender despite his lack of pace, but the Player of the Month award continually eluded him.
16. Jussi Jaaskelainen (436)
A Bolton legend who spent 15 years with the club, Jaaskelainen was integral to the Trotters’ success under Sam Allardyce, who led Wanderers to four consecutive top-half finishes between 2003-04 and 2006-07.
The Finnish shot-stopper late spent just over two seasons at West Ham, but he’s best remembered for his exploits in the northwest. Despite 436 appearances and a showreel of fine saves, Jaaskelainen failed to win the Premier League Player of the Month prize.
15. John O’Shea (445)
A versatile utility man at Manchester United between 2001 and 2011, O’Shea later spent six seasons as a regular starter at Sunderland. He racked up 445 Premier League games for the two clubs and has five winner’s medals from his time at Old Trafford.
O’Shea was a reliable performer and someone who was always willing to sacrifice himself for the team, but he was never realistically in the running to claim the monthly accolade.
14. Brad Friedel (450)
Friedel first moved to the Premier League on a permanent basis with Liverpool in 1997 and didn’t officially depart the division – save for a brief stint in the second tier with Blackburn – until his playing contract at Tottenham came to an end 18 years later.
The American represented Aston Villa as well as the three aforementioned clubs, but he isn’t one of the nine goalkeepers to have been named Player of the Month. The United States, incidentally, is still awaiting its first winner.
13. Shay Given (451)
Only two goalkeepers have made more Premier League appearances than Given – and one of those, Mark Schwarzer, was named Player of the Month during his time at Fulham in February 2010.
Given averaged a clean sheet every four games in the top flight, keeping a total of 113 shut-outs for Blackburn, Newcastle, Aston Villa and Manchester City. Despite that, the Irishman never claimed the monthly prize.
12. Peter Crouch (453)
Crouch turned 37 in January, but he’s still going strong at the highest level of English football. Now into his 18th season as a Premier League player, the Stoke striker has scored 106 goals in 453 matches in the first division.
Yet the Player of the Month award has always been out of the former Aston Villa, Southampton, Portsmouth, Liverpool and Tottenham man’s reach. With the Potters currently in the relegation zone, Crouch may require a heroic end of the campaign to erase his name from this list.
11. Aaron Hughes (455)
An unsung hero at Newcastle, Aston Villa and Fulham, Hughes played 455 games in a Premier League career which spanned 17 seasons.
The defender has also won over 100 caps for Northern Ireland, but Hughes is the type of player who is always likely to fly under the radar – which explains why he never won the Player of the Month award. The best period of his career probably came at Fulham, but Louis Saha and Mark Schwarzer are the only Cottagers to have claimed the prize.
10. Sylvain Distin (469)
No uncapped player has featured in more Premier League matches than Distin, who played 469 times in the English top flight for Newcastle, Manchester City, Portsmouth, Everton and Bournemouth.
The Frenchman isn’t one of the nine defenders who have won the Player of the Month prize, however, although he does boast the distinction of having amassed more appearances in England’s top tier than any other foreign outfielder.
9. James Milner (478)
Milner won two Premier League titles in five years at Manchester City and has continued to be a dependable team player – and underrated footballer – at Liverpool since 2015.
The ex-Leeds and Newcastle midfielder is part of the support cast at Anfield and played a similar role at the Etihad Stadium, so a Player of the Month award in the last few years was always going to be unlikely. It’s a little surprising he didn’t top the vote at any point during his Aston Villa career, though.
8. Michael Carrick (480)
Carrick recently confirmed that he will be retiring from football at the end of the season, with the curtain set to come down on a Premier League career which began with West Ham’s 3-0 triumph over Bradford in August 1999.
The midfielder later spent two campaigns at Tottenham before moving to current club Manchester United in 2006. Carrick has won five titles at Old Trafford, yet his significant contribution to each of those triumphs wasn't enough to bring him a Player of the Month accolade.
7. Sol Campbell (503)
A two-time Premier League winner at Arsenal, Campbell made 135 top-flight appearances for the Gunners after controversially crossing the north London divide from Tottenham – for whom he played 255 league games – in 2001.
Fellow central defenders Nemanja Vidic, Jan Vertonghen, Phil Jagielka, Sami Hyypia, Gareth Southgate, John Terry, David Luiz, Rio Ferdinand, Ledley King and Anton Ferdinand have all won the award, but Campbell – who also represented Portsmouth and Newcastle – was never able to add his name to the list.
6. Phil Neville (505)
The younger of the Neville brothers made 105 more Premier League appearances than sibling Gary, with 263 of his outings coming at Manchester United and 242 at Everton.
Neville Jr. won the league title six times at Old Trafford and was an important part of an Everton side who routinely finished in the top half of the table, but the Player of the Month award proved out of reach throughout his career.
5. Jamie Carragher (508)
A one-club man who wore Liverpool’s colours 508 times in the Premier League, Carragher is the Reds’ most used player in the top flight since 1992 – and only Ian Callaghan has made more appearances overall.
The centre-back didn’t receive the Player of the Month award at any stage of his career, although he was included in the division’s Team of the Year – alongside Pascal Chimbonda, John Terry and William Gallas in defence – in 2005-06.
4. Emile Heskey (516)
A much maligned figure for chunks of his career, Heskey is nonetheless one of only 27 players to have scored 100 or more goals in the Premier League.
The ex-England international pulled on the shirts of Leicester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Wigan and Aston Villa in the top flight, making the net bulge 110 times between his debut in 1995 and his final appearance in 2012. That wasn't enough to ever win Player of the Month, however.
3. Gary Speed (534)
A First Division champion in the season before the launch of the Premier League, Speed played in the rebranded top flight for Leeds, Everton, Newcastle and Bolton. Only four players have made more appearances in the division than the Welshman, who turned out 534 times for the aforementioned quartet in league action.
Despite his longevity and quality, Speed wasn’t a headline-grabbing player and was therefore always going to be up against it when it came to individual awards. But his elegant excellence will never be forgotten.
2. David James (572)
James’ 572 Premier League games rank him right at the top of the appearance list for goalkeepers, and it doesn’t look like he’ll be overtaken any time soon. Among active top-flight goalkeepers, Petr Cech has the next-highest total – and he's way back on 432 so he'd have to play on until 40.
Only Cech can better the former Liverpool, Aston Villa, West Ham, Manchester City and Portsmouth custodian’s record of 169 clean sheets in the top flight of English football, but James never did enough to claim the Player of the Month award.
1. Gareth Barry (653)
Barry became the Premier League’s all-time record appearance maker earlier this season, when he beat Ryan Giggs’ total of 632 games in the top tier since 1992 (the Welshman, though, played a further 40 matches in the old First Division).
The West Brom midfielder could be about to bow out of the division, so his hopes of winning a maiden Player of the Month crown are now virtually non-existent. Barry’s best chance probably came during his title-winning campaign at Manchester City in 2011-12, although he was also a key player for Aston Villa and Everton.