The oldest players in Premier League history
Age is just a number, apparently — although, I need to be reminded of that when my knees creak going up the stairs.
For these 10 players, however, they proved that being on the wrong side of 40 wouldn’t stop them from playing at the highest level, as they were still appearing in the Premier League when they could’ve hung up their boots.
10. Edwin van der Sar
Age: 40 years, 6 months, 23 days
PL Teams: Fulham and Manchester United
PL Years active: 2001-2011
After spending the first decade of his career at Ajax, Dutch keeper Van der Sar had a brief spell with Juventus before a shock move to Fulham, who had just gained promotion to the Premier League.
Was Edwin van der Sar one of Sir Alex Ferguson's best-ever signings? 🧤— Premier League (@premierleague) June 5, 2021
He moved to @ManUtd #OnThisDay in 2005! pic.twitter.com/cspw1UbnLK
He caught the eye of Sir Alex Ferguson, and four years later went to Manchester United, where he won four league titles and the Champions League. Fergie called him the greatest United goalkeeper since Peter Schmeichel.
His last game was a 4-2 win over Blackpool at the end of the 2010-11 season.
9. Teddy Sheringham
Age: 40 years, 8 months, 28 days
PL Teams: Nottingham Forest, Tottenham, Manchester United, Portsmouth, and West Ham
PL Years active: 1992-2007
Teddy is the only non-goalkeeper on this list, which is a testament to his tenure in the Premier League.
He also is the holder of the record of the first player to score a goal live on Sky Sports, which he did at the start of the Premier League in 1992. Sheringham was a Tottenham legend in the 90s, scoring 75 goals in 166 games, before jumping to Manchester United, where he won three league titles, an FA Cup, and a Champions League. He scored in both the FA Cup and Champions League final in the epic treble year of 1998-99.
8. Jens Lehmann
Age: 41 years, 5 months
PL Teams: Arsenal
PL Years active: 2003-2011
Lehmann is on this list in a bizarre manner. He was Arsenal’s regular keeper between 2003-2008 and then went back to Germany before retiring in 2010.
Borussia Dortmund ➡️ @Arsenal#OnThisDay in 2003, Jens Lehmann became a Gunner and, not long after, a #PL Invincible... pic.twitter.com/hPTHlGXvIY— Premier League (@premierleague) July 25, 2019
He wasn’t even 40 when he made his last Premier League appearance. But in March 2011, Arsenal found themselves in a crazy scenario where all four of their senior goalkeepers were injured. Lehmann was re-signed out of retirement on a rolling contract and made one appearance for Arsenal in a 3-1 win against Blackpool.
7. Kevin Poole
Age: 41 years, 5 months, 11 days
PL Teams: Leicester City and Bolton Wanderers
PL Years active: 1991-2005
As well as playing for a host of lower-league clubs, goalkeeper Kevin Poole makes this list having played Premier League football for both Leicester and Bolton.
At Bolton, Poole was mainly used as a backup to regular No. 1 Jussi Jaaskelainen, but in January 2005, he played in a 1-1 draw with West Brom at the age of 41 — enough to get him to No. 7 on this list, despite just five appearances in five years for Wanderers.
6. Neville Southall
Age: 41 years, 5 months, 25 days
PL Teams: Everton and Bradford
PL Years active: 1992-2000
Another strange addition to the list is legendary keeper Neville Southall. Big Nev started his career in 1980, and between 1992 and 1998 made 207 Premier League appearances for Everton.
In his prime. The best goalkeeper in the world. @NevilleSouthall 🧤 #EFC pic.twitter.com/lrtpAxm4Ka— The-Toffees (@thetoffees_com) September 16, 2021
After leaving in 1998 to find first-team football, Big Nev bounced around the lower leagues and seemed destined not to reach the top-flight again — that was until March 2000, when Southall was at Bradford in a player-coach role. All three Bradford keepers were injured, so Southall stepped in as they lost 2-1 at home to Leeds.
5. Mark Schwarzer
Age: 42 years, 5 months, 8 days
PL Teams: Middlesbrough, Fulham, Chelsea, and Leicester
PL Years active: 1997-2016
Schwarzer is the only non-British player to date to have made more than 500 Premier League appearances and is also one of the oldest. The Aussie shot stopper originally joined Middlesbrough from Bradford and spent 11 years with the club, making 332 top-flight appearances.
He then spent four years at Fulham before joining Chelsea as a backup keeper. He took up a similar role at Leicester, where he was backup keeper for Kasper Schmeichel, and gets onto this list after a 0-0 draw with Hull City, which he played in in 2015.
Schwarzer was part of the title-winning team at Chelsea and Leicester but didn’t play enough games with either side to get a winner’s medal.
4. Brad Friedel
Age: 42 years, 5 months, 23 days
PL Teams: Liverpool, Blackburn Rovers, Aston Villa, and Tottenham
PL Years active: 1997-2015
The only American on this list, Brad Friedel is a record-holder in numerous categories, including having the most Premier League appearances with 310 games in a row. Friedel’s first taste of the Premier League was with Liverpool, but he was regularly on the bench behind David James and Sander Westerveld, so he made the jump to Blackburn Rovers in 2000.
Happy birthday, Brad Friedel! 🎂🎉#COYS pic.twitter.com/Wu3IdRlTNe— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) May 18, 2018
There he established himself as one of the best goalkeepers of that era, and even scored himself in a league match against Charlton. He went on to make 114 appearances for Aston Villa and 50 for Tottenham — one of which was a 1-0 defeat to Newcastle in November 2013 that gets him on to this list.
3. Steve Ogrizovic
Age: 42 years, 7 months, 24 days
PL Teams: Coventry City
PL Years active: 1992-2000
Oggy is considered one of England’s greatest goalkeepers never to win a cap, and a Coventry City legend. Joining the club in 1984, he made numerous Premier League appearances after it formed in 1992 and currently holds the record for most appearances for Coventry in all competitions, with 601.
In the year 2000, Oggy was not first-choice keeper at Coventry (that was Magnus Hedman), but in the final home game of the season, Coventry played Ogrizovic as recognition of his service to the club. They ran out 4-1 winners against Sheffield Wednesday, and Oggy was only four months off his 43rd birthday.
2. Alec Chamberlain
Age: 42 years, 10 months, 23 days
PL Teams: Sunderland and Watford
PL Years active: 1992-2007
Chamberlain played a crucial role in Watford’s rise to the Premier League and was the Hornets' No. 1 keeper as they bounced between divisions. In 2004, after spending eight years at the club and at the age of 40, Chamberlain took up a goalkeeping coach role at the club.
Happy Birthday, Alec Chamberlain 🎉— Watford Football Club (@WatfordFC) June 20, 2019
The Watford legend turns 55 today! pic.twitter.com/KGYDQKClP6
But in the 2006-07 season, Chamberlain resigned a playing contract and came on as a substitute in a 1-1 draw with Newcastle to become the league’s second oldest player in history.
1. John Burridge
Age: 43 years, 5 months, 11 days
PL Teams: Newcastle and Manchester City
PL Years active: 1992-1995
John Burridge, or Budgie as he was nicknamed, was already over 40 years old when the Premier League started, and he’d already played for more than two decades.
Budgie played for more than 20 clubs, and in May 1995 he played for Manchester City in a 3-2 defeat to QPR at the grand old age of 43 and five months. He went on to play for another eight teams in one-off games as an emergency goalie before officially retiring in 1997.