A line-up of Premier League legends gathered in London last week for the first Premier League Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
Hall of Fame 2022 inductees Vincent Kompany, Wayne Rooney, Patrick Vieira and Ian Wright were in attendance and took to the stage alongside inaugural inductee Alan Shearer.
The ceremony, hosted by broadcaster Kelly Cates, featured each of the players formally receiving their Hall of Fame medallions from Premier League Chief Executive, Richard Masters, in front of their families and guests including Gary Lineker and Dan Walker, DJ Roman Kemp, music artist AJ Tracey and YouTubers Chunkz and Elz the Witch.
Manchester United duo Paul Scholes and Peter Schmeichel, Chelsea's legendary forward Didier Drogba and Manchester City’s all-time leading scorer Sergio Aguero shared video messages after they were unable to attend in person.
Rooney, who attended the event with wife Coleen, said: “If I had the chance to have played with any of the Hall of Fame inductees, it would have to be Thierry Henry because of the player he was and his ability to score and create goals.
"Current Premier League players who I think can be future inductees, I’d have to go for Kevin De Bruyne, Mo Salah and Harry Kane.”
When asked the same question, Vieira selected from one of his fellow 2022 inductees, while picking a player under his present charge at Crystal Palace as a potential future Hall of Famer.
"It would have to be Paul Scholes," Vieira said. "He’s one of the best to ever play in the Premier League.
"The current players that I can see making it into the Hall of Fame would be Kevin De Bruyne for sure. I hope that Wilfried Zaha will make it one day, and Sadio Mane.”
Wright said that when he found out he had been inducted, it was extremely "emotional and humbling" and dedicated the honour to his former Palace manager Steve Coppell.
He said: "I have received so many messages from fans which is incredibly touching. It’s the stuff dreams are made of to be amongst this group of elite players. I want to dedicate my induction to Steve Coppell who first took a chance on me, to take me off the building site and give me my chance at being a professional footballer.”
Kompany, whose guests included wife Carla and his father Pierre, said: “This moment is difficult to describe but I am incredibly honoured. I am probably the most injured Hall of Famer though. I may have depended on my team-mates at times but I also tried to make others better."
Shearer felt honoured to have the current crop of stars join him in the Hall of Fame.
“I just love football, I would play in a Sunday League if I wasn’t professional, so to be on a list among so many great players who have graced the Premier League and achieved so much is a great honour."
Shearer also went for De Bruyne, Salah and Kane as current players destined to join him. "They’re all fantastic players,” he said.
The Hall of Fame recognises and celebrates the exceptional skill and talent of individuals who have graced the Premier League since its inception in 1992. It is the highest individual honour awarded to players by the League.
All inducted players receive a medallion engraved with their name and the year of their induction, as well as a £10,000 donation from the Premier League to a charity of their choice.
The Class of '22. 💫#PLHallOfFame https://t.co/RibFTNU1kI— Premier League (@premierleague) April 22, 2022
Part 1: Six new inductees voted into Premier League Hall of Fame
Part 2: Wright humbled by entry into Hall of Fame
Part 3: Schmeichel: I made sure I was remembered
Part 4: Scholes: Joining Hall of Fame a special feeling
Part 5: Drogba: Being in Hall of Fame a real honour
Part 6: Kompany delighted to be voted into Hall of Fame
Part 7: Aguero: My son will be proud of me in Hall of Fame