Giroud, Lukaku, Crouch: The 11 most underrated Premier League strikers

  • Kat Lucas

Since Harry Kane started reaching for Alan Shearer's coat tails in the race for Premier League supremacy, we've been hearing a lot about the top flight's greatest goalscorers of all time. 

That's if we're to just discount the phenomenal records of Jimmy Greaves, Dixie Dean and Steve Bloomer because football, as we all know, began in 1992. 

We're talking Premier League only. Kane and Shearer are both in the conversation, but Thierry Henry and Sergio Aguero also have their advocates. 

But let's take things down a notch. There are some obvious names when it comes to the true elite of bulging the Premier League onion bag. 

However, for the past two decades English football has rightly counted itself as the best in the world and it's been graced by plenty of other strikers who, at least in our eyes, don't get enough respect. 

In almost three decades, only 29 players have reached the century mark for goals - yet even some of those greats are often criminally under-praised. 

Without further ado then, GIVEMESPORT have trawled the Premier League's archives to judge 11 of the most disrespected forwards. 

Of course, this is entirely subjective, but we've ranked them using two criteria: their goal tally and how underrated they were by the guilty public. 

11. James Beattie (91 goals)

Beattie was twice named Player of the Month in the early 2000s, but he was often criticised for his work ethic across spells with Southampton, Everton and Sheffield United. Still, he finished up with nearly a ton of goals. 

10. Yakubu (95 goals)

'The Yak' never made it past a handful of mid-table clubs, but he powered his way to 36 goals from just 78 games at Portsmouth before going on to score for Middlesbrough, Everton, Leicester and Blackburn, scoring a goal every other game for the latter. 

9. Kevin Davies (88 goals)

Despite only ever winning one England cap, Davies arguably deserved more, with his best spell coming at Bolton Wanderers, for whom he scored 74 goals. 

8. Louis Saha (85 goals) 

Injuries sabotaged Saha's chances of becoming a Premier League great. Remember when Fulham were graced with the likes of Edwin van der Sar and Saha? The Frenchman earned his big move to Manchester United, though he was never really first choice, and then went on to Everton and Spurs.  

7. Darren Bent (106 goals)

Bent was never the most glamorous of strikers and he was guilty of some shocking misses. And speaking of 'missus', Harry Redknapp believed his own - Sandra - could have scored one of Bent's most embarrassing gaffes at Spurs. Nevertheless, we're not here to talk about his faults. A tally of 106 top-flight goals is more than respectable, particularly as many of them came with Charlton, Sunderland and Aston Villa. 

6. Emile Heskey (110 goals)

Woh there. Yes, it's true. England fans used to mockingly sing 'Even Heskey scored!' but the former Liverpool and Leicester man was a lot more prolific earlier in his career. If anything, he deserved credit for adapting his game into more of a hold-up role. 

5. Peter Crouch (108 goals)

Crouch enjoyed a lengthy and impressive career, the highlight of which was winning the FA Cup and reaching the Champions League final with Liverpool. 

4. Robbie Keane (126 goals)

The Republic of Ireland's record goalscorer had an ill-fated stint at Anfield which tainted his legacy somewhat. His peak years at Spurs (the first time around) saw him score 80 league goals in 197 appearances. What was particularly special about Keane was his variety, scoring long-range screamers, tap-ins, solo efforts - the lot. 

3. Romelu Lukaku (113 goals) 

Now we're getting into the realms of outrageous disrespect. Lukaku's Premier League tally would have been even higher by now had he not left Manchester United for Inter Milan. But it all began with him being underrated by Jose Mourinho, before he went on to star for West Brom, Everton and United. The fact Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is still struggling for a long-term replacement even now sums up the impact the Belgian had. 

2. Olivier Giroud (90 goals)

Perhaps the obvious answer to the famous pub table question of underrated Premier League strikers. Giroud has an incredible record, especially from the bench, but neither Arsenal nor Chelsea have ever handed him a regular starting role. 

1. Jermain Defoe (162 goals) 

When we're talking underrated, though, one striker stands above the rest: Jermain Defoe. The Englishman holds the record for the most goals as a substitute and despite more than a century and a half of Premier League goals, he never got his big break at an established top-four club (remember, this was back before Spurs were regular European heavyweights). 

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