English Premier League has always been kinder to players who are physically supreme in the game. Players who can outrun their opponents with pace, and climb the highest to head the ball out or at the back of the net, and completely shut out opponents by body-shielding, have always found a first team place.
These qualities, however, tend to fade when a player crosses the 30-year-old mark and Premier League clubs are ruthless towards them, keeping them on a year basis. Interestingly, this season has seen many aged players, who have shunned their early signs of retirement to continue playing, not only starting for the team but also scoring at crucial moments.
We look at 3 such players who have become the oldest to score in the league till now.
Gareth McAuley vs Liverpool (for West Bromwich Albion) 36 Years 10 Months 17 Days
West Bromwich Albion came to Anfield at the back of a brilliant defensive record. They were the 5th best defensive team in the league then and many predicted that they will be able to stop Liverpool’s goal-scoring attack. Instead, Liverpool were up by 2 goals in the opening 40 minutes and Albion were clearly struggling to keep up with the pace.
Albion showed some composure in the final quarter of the game when they were actually pressing well. It was then that the experienced centre-back got the goal with a right-footed shot. Although he couldn’t save his team from the defeat, it raised some hopes in the dying minutes.
Gareth Barry vs Middlesbrough (for Everton) 35 Years 06 Months 25 Days
It was one of the earlier games of the season for Everton when the Merseyside club were on a roll. They were on a 3-match winning run then and they came into the match with high confidence until an own-goal by Maarten Stekelenburg saw the team behind in the 21st minute.
Everton needed a quick response as the Boro defence are a hard nut to crack as the match progresses. Fortunately, Everton’s experienced anchorman was up for the task. A left footed shot saw the ball go past Valdes in the in the 24th minute. The fast response inspired the team and they went on to win the match 3-1.
Zlatan Ibrahimović vs Swansea City (for Manchester United) 35 Years 01 Months 03 Days
Manchester United approached the match amidst wild criticism after they lost 2-1 to Fenerbahce in their midweek Europa League clash. Mourinho had stated that the players weren’t giving 100% in the game and the team had to prove him wrong.
United’s star recruit Zlatan Ibrahimović, who was toothless in front of the goal for a few games, rose to the occasion. Paul Pogba had put the team in the lead in the 18th minute and a Wayne Rooney pass saw the towering Swede finish with a right footed shot. It was the 25, 000th goal of the Premier League and also made him the third oldest player to score this season.