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Top 20 Hardmen In Premier League History

Premier League hardmen and footballing hardmen in general are certainly a dying breed. There was a time when every team had one, or at least one, and they were a vital cog in an effective footballing machine. Today, you would do well to find one in the division itself, with the likes of Martin Skrtel, Lee Cattermole and Diego Costa about as close as you will get to a hardman in the modern game.

Some view the disappearance of that type of player as a great positive, pleased that the game is now more focused upon technical prowess, while others miss the physicality of the game, particularly the British game. Football's greatest hardmen like Nobby Stiles, Ramon Suarez and Billy Whitehirst all came in the pre-Premier League era, but the league which began in 1992, has certainly seen its fair share.

What makes a footballing hardman is not definite, but it tends to mean a physically imposing player who can give it as well as take it. Not just your typical dirty player who can only dish it out, but one who strikes fear into the hearts of the opposition, treating every game as a battle and never shirking a challenge. Here are the top 20 hardmen in Premier League history:

20 Nemanja Vidic

Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

19 Lee Bowyer

via mirror.co.uk

18 Kevin Davies

via premierleague.com

17 Steve Bould

Ben Radford /Allsport

16 David Batty

via premierleague.com

15 Patrick Vieira

via webdevs.com

14 Papa Bouba Diop

via bbc.co.uk

13 Jaap Stam

via performgroup.com

12 Thomas Gravesen

via dixies60.com

11 Marco Materazzi

via cfstatic.com

10 John Hartson

via dailymail.co.uk

9 Alan Shearer

via chroniclelive.co.uk

8 Tomas Repka

Action Images / Tony O'Brien

7 Stig Tofting

via calciatoribrutti.com

6 Neil Ruddock

via mirror.co.uk

5 Vinnie Jones

via football11.com

4 Stuart Pearce

via quoteessays.com

3 Julian Dicks

Jamie McDonald /Allsport

2 Roy Keane

via irishmirror.ie

1 Duncan Ferguson

via theguardian.co.uk

When considering who should top this list, it was difficult to look past Duncan Ferguson. 'Big Dunc' or 'Duncan Disorderly' as he is sometimes known, was the last man any Premier League player wanted to see on the opposition team sheet. He spent 12 years in the Premier League, 10 with Everton and 2 with Newcastle. Ferguson is the highest scoring Scotsman in Premier League history, but also the most red carded. He received nine career red cards, eight in the Premier League - no player has more - and he also received a three-month prison sentence in 1994 following a headbutt on Raith Rovers player John McStay.

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Top 20 Hardmen In Premier League History