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The first two entrants to the newly launched Premier League Hall of Fame have been announced: goal machine Alan Shearer and Arsenal icon Thierry Henry.
Shearer, who won the Premier League with Blackburn Rovers before continuing his goalscoring feats with home club Newcastle United, is the Premier League's record scorer with 260 goals.
Henry, winner of a record four Golden Boots in the post-1992, Premier League era is Arsenal's all-time highest goalscorer. The France World Cup winner is also rated by many as the Prem's greatest ever player.
"To be inducted alongside Alan Shearer as the two first inductees into the Premier League Hall of Fame is more than special," said Henry.
"When I was young, I was just trying to make sure I could get a pair of boots and now we're talking about the Hall of Fame... If you asked me at the start of my career about entering the Hall of Fame, I wouldn't have believed you. It's an amazing honour."
Joining Shearer and Henry as the inaugural Hall of Fame members will be six other Premier League stars, as voted for by football fans.
A shortlist of 23 nominees will be announced during a TV show on Sky Sports on Monday, which will also feature interviews with Shearer and Henry. Fans will then be invited to cast their vote from 7pm and help select the remaining six inductees to the 2021 Hall of Fame.
Voting will take place at www.premierleague.com/halloffame and on the official Premier League app and is open until 9 May.
Shearer responded to being chosen as one of the first two entrants by explaining: "When you look at some of the unbelievable players to have graced the Premier League - week in, week out, year in, year out - I feel very honoured to join the Hall of Fame.
"All I ever wanted to be was a professional footballer. It was my dream to do that, my dream to win trophies and my dream to score at St James' Park, to wear the No 9 black-and-white shirt and it was fantastic. I enjoyed every minute of it."
Some fans will point out that it's unusual that no Manchester United players are among the very first batch to be inducted, seeing as the Old Trafford club has been by far the most successful of the Premier League era.
But there will surely be plenty of modern Man United legends on the 23-man shortlist to decide the next six.
Are Henry and Shearer worthy first Hall of Fame inductees in your eyes? Let us know in the comments.
Two centre-forwards, both gifted with natural skill and talent who have written their names in Premier League history
We're delighted to announce Alan Shearer and Thierry Henry as the first two inductees of the #PLHallOfFame pic.twitter.com/MAKgi3SYzV
- Premier League (@premierleague) April 26, 2021
All imagery: PA Images/Premier League Hall of Fame/Alex Wallace
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