Gary Neville names Louis Saha and Michael Essien as the two most underrated players he’s faced in the Premier League… admitting his former Man United team-mate “destroyed” him in central defense while qualifying for the former Chelsea star of “brilliant” midfielder
- Gary Neville named Louis Saha and Michael Essien as the most underrated rivals
- Saha ‘destroyed’ Neville twice while at Fulham before Manchester United move
- Neville praised Essien’s role in a dominant Chelsea alongside Frank Lampard
- Jamie Carragher found challenges in games Liverpool were expected to win
Gary Neville named Michael Essien and Louis Saha as his most underrated Premier League players, in a discussion of the new top flight’s three decades.
Former Manchester United star Neville named the pair, including former Red Devil Saha, as the people who came to mind about the unsung heroes he faced while playing.
Essien spent eight years at Chelsea, working in a midfield packed with Blues working alongside the likes of Frank Lampard in his time at Stamford Bridge, where he won two Premier League titles.
Chelsea’s Michael Essien has been named as one of Gary Neville’s most underrated players
Louis Saha, who spent four years at Manchester United, caused Neville problems at Fulham
Speaking to Sky Sports in response to a fan question, the 47-year-old pundit said: “A player who played for a Premier League club and didn’t get the applause from others was Michael Essien at Chelsea in those first two or three years. The impact he had on that team, his running ability, the energy of midfield, Frank’s poise, I thought Essien was a brilliant player.”
The Ghanaian played for Real Madrid, AC Milan and Panathaniakos before retiring in 2020. He now trains in Denmark with FC Nordsjaelland.
Saha played for several Premier League teams, joining United from Fulham in 2004 and playing alongside Neville at Old Trafford for four years.
Neville said Saha ‘destroyed’ him twice while at Fulham, before moving to Old Trafford.
The French striker also made appearances for Newcastle, Everton, Tottenham and Sunderland while plying his trade in England.
Saha made six appearances for Lazio in Italy before hanging up his boots in 2013 and creating AxisStars, a professional network for professional athletes and artists.
“I think the one I played against, and then ended up playing at United, was Louis Saha when he played for Fulham,” Neville told the panel. “He destroyed me twice as a central defender. Once when he was in the Championship in the FA Cup, and the next time in the Premier League.
Neville named his most underrated players to mark three decades of the Premier League
Jamie Carragher found the biggest challenges in games Liverpool were expected to win
Fellow pundit Jamie Carragher, the former Liverpool defender, had a number of other picks for his underrated picks, noting the challenge of games where the Reds were favorites to win.
“The games that were difficult for me were against players like Kevin Davies, Bobby Zamora or Duncan Ferguson, when their teams were very direct and when you play against a team that everyone expects you to win, everyone expects you to win every challenge,'” Carragher revealed. .
“They just give you an absolute nightmare, using their body, winning the ball. You are involved in the game much more than you would be against United or Arsenal, because they put it behind their back. It’s about being on fire and me organizing the people in front, but that’s long shots and set pieces. I was never the tallest either.