Wayne Rooney and Patrick Vieira are the first names from the Class of 2022 to be inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame

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Wayne Rooney and Patrick Vieira have been named the first inductees of the Class of 2022 into the Premier League Hall of Fame.

Rooney is second on the list of all-time top scorers, since the league began in 1992, and is also third on the assists list.

The Derby County boss is also Manchester United and England’s all-time top scorer, and has won the league title five times, having burst onto the scene with Everton with that memorable goal against Arsenal .

The Frenchman won the Championship three times with Arsenal and captained the incredible Invincibles side in 2004, the last Gunners team to win the Championship.

Vieira has won the Premier League title three times. Image: PA Images

Both men could not be more deserving of the accolade of being inducted into the Hall of Fame, which the Premier League considers the “highest honour” that can be bestowed upon a player.

Speaking of the honour, Rooney said: “It is a huge honor for me to be named to the Premier League Hall of Fame, alongside an incredible group of players who have already been inducted.

“Growing up I watched the Premier League for as long as I can remember. My dream was always to be a professional footballer, to score goals and win trophies, and I was lucky enough to win the Premier League five times.

“I have so many fond memories of my years playing for Everton and Manchester United, and I’m really proud of what we’ve accomplished. Entering the Hall of Fame is very special to me personally and I’m grateful to be recognized.”

Rooney's overhead kick against Manchester City earned him one of his two Premier League Goal of the Season awards.  Image: PA Images
Rooney’s overhead kick against Manchester City earned him one of his two Premier League Goal of the Season awards. Image: PA Images

Vieira, who also won the FA Cup with Man City, alongside his many achievements with Arsenal, said: “To be inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame is a fantastic achievement.

“When I heard the news, I thought of being a young boy playing in Senegal, or in the suburbs of Paris.

“Being there with the best players in the premier league, the best league in the world, is bigger than I thought. Having my name around these players makes me proud and makes me realize how good I was.

“It’s not a bad company to join. I had the chance to play alongside some of them, including of course Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp. So sharing the stage with them makes me realize that I I had a very good career.

“What really makes me happy and proud is when your name is mentioned by promising new midfielders as an example of how they would like to play.”

The medallions that Rooney and Vieira will receive.  Picture: Premier League
The medallions that Rooney and Vieira will receive. Picture: Premier League

Fans then had the chance to vote for six more legends of the modern era, with Eric Cantona, Roy Keane, Dennis Bergkamp, ​​David Beckham, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard winning the honour.

They will again be asked to vote for the next six inductees for this year’s class and will have 25 nominees to choose from.

These will be announced later on Wednesday, and voting will take place on the Premier League website and app, with the six men joining Rooney and Vieira being announced later in April.

In addition to their medallions, the Premier League donates £10,000 to each charity of their choice.

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