There have been many great Leeds players over the years, so picking the top five was no easy task. These are our picks for the Whites’ five best players. Keep reading to find out who they are...

Last updated: 20/06/23 at 12:22

Although Leeds United may have faded out of the spotlight in recent times, they are a club that in the not-so-distant past, were considered a juggernaut of the English game.

The club has three league titles, one FA Cup and one League Cup to their name, among other honours.

The success of a team is largely dependent on the players on the field, no team can achieve greatness without those special players that make the difference in the big moments.  

In the 103 years since their conception, Leeds have seen a vastly different mix of players, so picking a top five is no easy task. However, we've compiled a list of the players that we think stand above the rest.

Keep reading to find out who makes our top five greatest Leeds United players of all time.

Eddie Gray

1966 - 1983 | Appearances: 454 | Goals: 52 | Honours: 7  

Eddie Gray has been labelled as potentially Leeds United's most skilled player ever. The Winger made his debut for the Whites in 1966 and spent the entirety of his 20-year-long career playing for the West Yorkshire side.

He is cited with scoring what many Whites fans consider the greatest ever goal by a Leeds player, with an unbelievable solo goal against Burnley, during which he flicked and tricked his way past several players before going through on goal and slotting the ball to the keepers left.  

He was part of the 1968 Leeds side that won the League and Fairs Cup double, scoring in both semi-finals. In one of the semi-finals, Gray scored a standout goal against Brian Clough’s Derby County side, with whom Leeds had a heated rivalry that you can read about in our post about Leeds United's biggest rivals.

In 2000 Eddie was named Leeds United’s third-best player of all time in a club vote and was also named among the greatest Leeds eleven of all time.

John Charles

1949 - 1957 | Appearances: 327 | Goals: 157 | Honours: 0

Centre-back John Charles spent 10 years of his career wearing the white and yellow of Leeds United, making 327 appearances in that time.

Standing at six foot two, Charles was dubbed the ‘Gentle Giant’ during his time at Leeds. This was due to him never being cautioned or sent off in his career.

In the 1955/56 season, Charles was moved from defence and played as a centre forward. The Welshman captained Leeds as they won promotion back to the First Division, scoring 29 goals in 42 appearances.

In the following year, he set a new league record for the most goals scored in a season, netting 38 times in 40 appearances. His influence was so strong that reporters referred to the 1956/57 Leeds United team as ‘John Charles United’. He still remains the club's second all-time top scorer behind Peter Lorimer.

Charles was named the second greatest Leeds player of all time in 2000, trailing only iconic club captain Billy Bremner and finishing just above the aforementioned legend Eddie Gray.

Johnny Giles

1963 - 1975 | Appearances: 383 | Goals: 88 | Honours: 8

Midfielder Johnny Giles spent 12 years with the Whites between 1963 and 1975, making 383 appearances and scoring 88 goals. He was widely regarded as one of the finest midfielders in England at that time, alongside club captain Billy Bremner.

He was a key part of Don Revie’s golden era team of the 60s and 70s, playing as the creative outlet of Leeds' crucial midfield duo. Playing under Revie, Giles won the League Cup and Fairs Cup double in the 1967/68 season.

He also played an instrumental part in Leeds' title-winning season of 1969, and their FA Cup victory over Arsenal in 1972.

After Don Revie resigned in 1974, the manager suggested that Giles should be his successor to take over at Leeds. However, the Job went to Brian Clough instead.

Johnny Giles shone in Leeds' journey to the 1975 European Cup Final, but could not help them as they slipped to a 2-0 defeat against German giants Bayern Munich.

Peter Lorimer

1962 - 1979 | 1983 - 1985 | Appearances: 703 | Goals: 238 | Honours: 7

Attacking midfielder Peter Lorimer spent almost 20 years playing for Leeds United and is widely considered one of their finest players of all time. During his time with the Whites, Lorimer was a frequent and spectacular goal scorer, earning himself nicknames like ‘Hotshot’ and ‘Lash’.

The Scotsman made 703 appearances for the club and netted 238 goals, making him the West Yorkshire side's all-time top scorer. A big game player for Leeds, he helped them to win five major honours during his time with the club. He also scored for Leeds in the 1975 European Cup final only for the goal to be controversially ruled out.  

Lorimer was also an integral part of Don Revie’s hugely successful squad of the 60s and 70s, winning two league titles and an FA Cup and League Cup.

Billy Bremner

1959 - 1976 | Appearances: 771 | Goals: 115 | Honours: 8

It's impossible to have a list of Leeds United’s best players and not include Billy Bremner. ‘King Billy’ as he was known by Leeds fans, was the Captain of Leeds' most successful teams. He is widely regarded as one of, if not the greatest Leeds player of all time.

Known for his pinpoint passing ability and his tenacious tackling and great physical stamina, he was named captain of the Whites at just 23 years old by legendary manager Don Revie due to the strong bond of trust between the two. He repaid Revie’s faith in him by leading the side to a second-placed league finish in his first season as skipper.

The midfielder played for Leeds for 18 years, making 771 appearances and scoring 115 times. He led the Whites to two First Division titles, one League Cup and one FA Cup.

Since his retirement, he has been voted as the greatest Leeds United player of all time, as well as being included in the English football Hall of Fame and having a statue built in his honour and memory outside of Elland Road.

Honourable mentions

  • Jack Charlton (1952 - 1973) - Was a core player in Don Revie’s defensive line and made 774 appearances for the club.
  • Allan Clarke (1969 - 1978) - Nicknamed ‘Sniffer’ For his impressive ability to find goal-scoring opportunities, scored 151 goals in 364 games for Leeds
  • Norman Hunter (1961 - 1976) - Admired at Leeds for his defensive abilities and tenacious playing style. Made 724 appearances for the club.
  • Gordon Strachan (1988 - 1996) - Made 311 appearances, scoring 57 goals, a popular figure at Leeds and was compared to Johnny Giles.
  • Nigel Martyn (1996- 2002) - Made 273 appearances for Leeds and was crucial on their journey to the UEFA Champions League semi-finals, hailed as the greatest goalkeeper Leeds have ever had.

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