The Sunderland legend named by Alan Shearer and Ian Wright as one of Premier League's 'best of the rest' players
Sunderland legend Kevin Phillips has been named as one of the Premier League’s greatest ever players not to have played for a ‘top six’ club.
Match of the Day pundits Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer and Ian Wright have been voting on a series of categories to determine some of the best players of the Premier League era.
On this week’s edition of the podcast, they discussed the best players to have represented teams outside the traditional ‘big six’.
Phillips featured having won the European Golden Boot during his first season in the top flight for the Black Cats.
He would go on to score 61 goals in the top tier during his time on Wearside, while also winning eight England caps.
He also socred 22 Premier League goals for Southampton, where he had initially been an apprentice before being released.
He moved back to the south coast after Sunderland’s relegation in 2003.
Ian Wright, who voted him 4th in his list said, said he was surprised Phillips was not snapped up by one of the division’s most successful clubs.
“He was clinical in the box and scored goals from everywhere,” Wright said.
“There was a lot of one-touch finishes where he just arrived at the right time at the near post. When he was scoring those goals at Sunderland I thought someone was going to take him away but it didn't quite happen. He was a fantastic finisher."
Shearer, who placed Phillips seventh in his list, said he was a ‘great example’ of a player fighting their way to the top from an early setback.
“He was an apprentice when I was at Southampton and they didn't think he was good enough,” he said.
“He had to go elsewhere and play non-league football. To show the attitude he did... he came back, played for England and won a Golden Boot so in terms of working for it and scrapping for it, he is a great example."
Jamie Vardy came first in the poll, followed by Gary Speed and Matt Le Tissier.