The Premier League has been home to some real giants of the game. Be it all 2.03m of Costel Pantilimon scraping the top of the crossbar, Nikola Zigic, who scored just two headed goals during his Premier League career despite crashing in at 2.02m, or Peter ‘good feet for a big man’ Crouch; the English top flight has been blessed with a selection of gangly frames down the years.
Pantilimon, Zigic, and Crouch have all moved on to pastures new – the Cypriot First Division, the Championship and Saturday night light entertainment – leaving pretty sizeable gaps to fill.
Fortunately, a selection of fellow tall pros have come forward to step into their – presumably rather large – shoes. Let’s take a look at the very tallest currently plying their trade in the top flight.
Dean Smith’s decision to convert Tyrone Mings from a left-back to a centre-half proved a masterstroke for the defender’s career.
Mings was an out of favour full-back at Bournemouth, but under Smith’s tutelage he helped guide Aston Villa to promotion to the Premier League, before earning his first international call up.
Was it an absolute tactical masterpiece from Smith, opting to utilise Mings’ composure and ball playing skills in order to convert him into a traditional, modern day centre-half? Or did he just, you know, look at him? He’s 1.96m for goodness sake, of course he’s a central defender.
A common theme on this list is goalkeepers who are taller that 1.96m, but are not first choice at their respective clubs.
Tottenham number one Hugo Lloris is a full 8cm shorter than Paulo Gazziniga – but Lloris has made 216 more Premier League appearances than the Argentinian.
The Southampton goalkeeper started the season as the Saints number one, but hasn’t featured in the Premier League since their 9-0 humbling at home to Leicester – which, to be fair, was hardly his fault.
Gunn was replaced by the minuscule 1.93m Alex McCarthy as the Southampton first choice, and Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side have since zoomed up the Premier League table.
Hasenhüttl also dropped lofty centre-half Jannik Vestergaard before Southampton’s impressive run of Premier League form began, and 2.01m stopper Fraser Forster’s been out on loan at Celtic. Has a weird case of small man syndrome from the 1.91m Southampton boss been at the heart of the Saints’ upturn in fortunes? There’s a conspiracy theory we can all get behind.
What Wayne Hennessey lacks in knowledge of Nazi Germany, he more than makes up for in height.
The Crystal Palace number two has been a mainstay in the Premier League since making his top-flight debut for Wolves back in 2009, but his minutes have waned for the Eagles this season.
Hennessey has featured just three times for Palace in the Premier League this season – his fewest top-flight appearances since the 2013/14 campaign.
The Burnley number three has all the height but not a Premier League appearance to show for it.
The Clarets signed Jensen from Danish club Hellerup IK in 2019, but he currently finds himself behind Nick Pope – seven years his senior but 7cm his junior – and Bailey Peacock-Farrell in the Turf Moore pecking order.
Since the Premier League restarted, he has made the Burnley match day squad for the first time – stooping to get into the dugout to sit on the bench for the Clarets’ recent fixtures against Manchester City, Watford and Crystal Palace.
Dan Burn is an enigma. Some sources say he’s 1.98m, others say he’s broken the 2m mark and actually stands at 2.01m. Either way, if the Brighton defender is standing in front of you at a gig, you’re not going to have a particularly enjoyable evening.
Burn has been a mainstay in the Brighton backline this season, missing just four Premier League games due to a collarbone injury sustained in January.
He’s got all the height of a burly centre-half, but actually operates at left-back, meaning fans were given an absolute treat when he marked all 1.65m of right winger Aaron Lennon during Brighton’s clash with Burnley in September 2019.
The Southampton centre-half takes the prize for the tallest outfield player in the Premier League. In the absence of the 2020 Ballon d’Or, it’s arguably this year’s greatest sporting accolade.
Vestergaard has been in and out of the Saints team since signing from Borussia Monchengladbach in 2018. He was part of the backline that shipped nine goals against Leicester, and – like fellow tall man Angus Gunn – has featured more sporadically since Southampton’s upturn in fortunes at the turn of the year.
Proving once and for all that height isn’t everything.
When it comes to height and Premier League appearances, Matt Macey has a lot of one and not a lot of the other.
Arsenal’s third-choice goalkeeper is yet to make his top-flight debut – although he has been on the bench for the Gunners’ last six in the absence of the injured Bernd Leno.
Standing at 2.01m, Macey is officially the tallest player in the Premier League, while simultaneously acting as an excellent social distancing gauge if you lie him down.