Former Liverpool forward Sadio Mane was a better Premier League No.10 than Arsenal legend Dennis Bergkamp.
That’s the view of TalkSPORT pundit Jamie O’Hara. Ranking his top five No.10’s alongside co-host Gabby Agbonlahor, O’Hara claimed that the most recent Liverpool player to wear the number was the fourth best in the history of the Premier League.
“My number four is Sadio Mane. He wore the number 10 shirt, he was unbelievable. He was a top-class player,” raved the pundit.
“Do you think Sadio Mane was better than Bergkamp?” queried a baffled Agbonlahor. “Yes,” insisted O’Hara. Having heard his co-host then read through some statistics to detail his argument, Agbonlahor gave his take.
“Depends on what you’re judging it on, doesn’t it. Bergkamp wasn’t an out-and-out goal-scorer was he. He dropped in, nice touches, Henry was the man scoring goals, Ian Wright, the wingers as well,” he said.
“There’s an argument for Mane being above Bergkamp. Mane was outstanding for Liverpool, the goals he scored him and Salah together. But I just think Dennis Bergkamp has got the respect of every football fan.”
Mane joints the conversation
In terms of goal scoring, Mane certainly was a better player than Bergkamp. But in reality, that isn’t really the essence of what being a No.10 is all about.
It’s more about being a creator, being the player to link the midfield and attack and sniffing out pockets of space.
In those parameters, there are few who can stand up to Bergkamp throughout football history. Ironically, Liverpool’s very own space sniffer – Roberto Firmino – is perhaps one who can.
But keeping with Mane, that he’s now in these kinds of conversations at all is a reminder of just how good he was at Anfield.
Now departed, rival fans and pundits have started to realise that he was something special. You only truly get the measure of a player’s legacy once they’re no longer playing. Of course, Mane hasn’t retired. But the Premier League saw his best years, and what years they were.
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