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Question Nobody asked

DO TOP SCORERS PLAY FOR CHAMPIONS?

Published 25/01/2010 | 05:00

Wayne Rooney's four goals against Hull City on Saturday saw him race clear in the top goalscorers chart in the Premier League while also helping Manchester United go top of the table.

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However, the history of the Premier League shows that the person who finishes top scorer doesn't normally play for the team who wins the title.

In the early part of the last decade the feat was achieved three times by Thierry Henry (24 goals for Arsenal in 2002); Ruud van Nistelrooy (25 for United in 2003) and Henry again (30 in 2004).

However, only three other players have secured the Golden Boot to go with their league winner's medal since the inception of the Premier League in 1992/93 meaning that, of 17 champions, just six have contained the top scorer in their ranks.

The others were Blackburn Rovers, who were aided by Alan Shearer's 34 goals in 1995; United in 1999, for whom Dwight Yorke struck 18 times to tie at the top with Michael Owen and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and United again, when Cristiano Ronaldo hit 31 goals in the club's 2008 title charge.

Of the other top scorers, Blackburn could only manage seventh position in 1996 despite Shearer's 31 goals while, in 2000, Kevin Phillips' 30 goals helped Sunderland to the same position.

The lowest-finishing Golden Boot winner is Dion Dublin, who tied with Owen and Chris Sutton in 1998 on 18 goals, but whose club, Coventry, could only manage an 11th-place finish.

Irish Independent

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