They say you’re as old as you feel but, when it comes to professional sports, there is a definite expiry date to your career. Footballers tend to be at their peak between the ages of 27 and 29. This notion is supported by the World Cup, where the average age of winning teams in the 21 World Cup finals since 1930 is between 27 and 28. Of course it depends on the individual and the position. Gianluigi Buffon, perhaps the greatest goalkeeper of all time, is still going at the age of 43, making him the oldest player in Serie A. So, who in the oldest Premier League player ever and who makes up the top ten?
Ten oldest players in the Premier League
10. Edwin Van Der Sar (40 years, 6 months, 23 days)
Former Manchester United and Fulham great, Edwin van der Sar, is the tenth oldest player in Premier League history, having played in the English top flight a few months into his 40s.
The Dutchman, who kept the seventh most clean sheets in Premier League history, made his final appearance for United in May 2011, as United ended up beating Blackpool 4-2 at Old Trafford.
9. Teddy Sheringham (40 years, 8 months, 28 days)
Another former United star, Teddy Sheringham is the oldest outfield player in Premier League history and the only one to feature in our top ten.
The England star played his final Premier League game for West Ham in a 1-0 defeat to Manchester City on December 30th 2006 before finishing his career with a short spell at Colchester United.
8. Jens Lehmann (41 years, 5 months)
A member of the Invincibles, one of the greatest Premier League teams ever, German shot-stopper Jens Lehmann bowed out of the Premier League in 2011 with a win as Arsenal beat Blackpool 3-1.
Fittingly it was his 200th appearance for Arsenal with the Gunners legend setting numerous records and making several teams of the season during his time at the club.
7. Kevin Poole (41 years, 5 months, 11 days)
Veteran keeper Kevin Poole made his professional debut for Aston Villa in 1981 before, 24 years later, making his final Premier League appearance at the age of 41 as he turned out for Bolton in a 1-1 draw with West Brom.
Was it the final career appearance for Poole? Not a chance. Remarkably, after leaving Bolton he continues playing for a further nine years for Derby and then Burton Albion, before finally it a day in 2014 at the age of 51 after an extraordinary 33 year career.
6. Neville Southall (41 years, 5 months, 25 days)
One of the biggest characters in Premier League history, former-Welsh international enoyed a 22 year career in which he made 710 appearances in spells at 14 different clubs.
578 of those appearances came for Everton but it was Bradford for whom he played his final Premier League game in 2000 at the age of 41, making him the sixth oldest Premier League player of all time. It was his only appearance for the club and unfortunately ended a losing one, as they went down 2-1 to Leeds United.
5. Mark Schwarzer (42 years, 5 months, 8 days)
The most recent entry on the list, Australian goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer played for Bradford, Middlesbrough, Fulham and Chelsea before finally joining Leicester where he played six games, including his final match in the Premier League.
His swansong arrived in 2015 in 0-0 draw with Hull City. It does, however, mean of the nine goalkeepers on this list, he was the only one to bow out having kept a clean sheet. The caveat to that is that Hull were awful that season.
4. Brad Friedel (42 years, 5 months, 23 days)
A Premier League great and the player with the ninth most clean sheets in Premier League history, Brad Friedel turned out in the Premier League for the last time in 2013 in goal for Tottenham, who went down 1-0 to Newcastle.
Aged 42 and five months, the American is the fourth oldest Premier League player of all time after a distinguised career that included spells at Liverpool, Blackburn and Aston Villa as well.
3. Steve Ogrizovic (42 years, 7 months, 24 days)
Making his professional debut in 1977, Steve Ogrizovic played in the top flight briefly before the Premier League was even a thing, making four appearances for Liverpool in a five year spell between 1977 and 1982.
He would then join Coventry and make 507 appearances between 1984 and 2000, turning out one last time for the club in a 4-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday at the end of the 2000/01 season before retiring. The Sky Blues would be relegated the following season, ending a 34 year stint in the top flight.
2. Alec Chamberlain (42 years, 10 months, 23 days)
Cambridgershire-born Alex Chamberlain had significant spells at Colchester, Luton and Sunderland before eventually joining Watford in 1996 as a 32-year-old, where he would spend the final 11 seasons of his career, making 247 appearances.
The last of these came in a 1-1 draw with Newcastle in 2007, at the age of 42 years and 10 months, making him the second oldest player in Premier League history. It isn’t enough to keep another man off top spot, however.
1. John Burridge (43 years, 5 months, 11 days)
Yes it’s John ‘Budgie’ Burridge who holds the record as the oldest player in Premier League history, the only man to have done so ages 43 or older so far.
During an incredible 28 year career which began in 1969, Burridge would enjoy an astonishing 34 different spells at clubs. By the time he left Hibernian in 1993, Burridge’s time as a first choice keeper was gone and over the following 12 months he had short term loan spells at Newcastle, Scarborough, Lincoln, Enfield, Aberdeen, Newcastle again, Dunfermline and Falkirk before finally ending up at Manchester City.
It was here where he made his final four appearances in the English top flight at the age of 43. His final game would come on May 14th 1995 in a thrilling 3-2 defeat to QPR. An incredible career for an incredible character.
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