, Blackburn Rovers’ top 5 centre-backs of the 21st century – do you agree?

Blackburn Rovers’ top 5 centre-backs of the 21st century – do you agree?

The overall fortunes of Blackburn Rovers in the 21st century so far would probably draw one to the conclusion that little good can be said about their defence since the year 2000.

However, since the turn of the millennium, bona fide club legends have been made in the Rovers back line.

Here are Blackburn Rovers’ five best centre-backs of the century so far:

Christopher Samba (2007-2012)

At 6 foot 4 inches tall, the French-born Congolese international cut an imposing figure at the heart of the Rovers backline for five years.

After the defender first linked up with the club on an initial trial deal, the Rovers faithful fell in love with Samba as he struck up an ironclad partnership with Ryan Nelsen. Samba was prolific for a defender, registering 18 goals in 185 appearances.

He left the club in the midst of their relegation to the second tier following a feud with Steve Kean, but has since rejoined the club as part of the coaching staff.

Ryan Nelsen

A product of the American collegiate athletic system, Nelsen was captain for both club and country. He arrived in Lancashire on a free and quickly curried favour with Mark Hughes.

Under Nelsen, Blackburn Rovers turned into one of the toughest outfits in the top tier, and he was made captain in 2007. Nelsen was a stalwart in his seven years at Ewood Park, playing 172 times and netting eight goals.

Charlie Mulgrew

Mulgrew will be forever enshrined in the hearts and minds of Rovers fans for years to come due to his pivotal goal against Doncaster Rovers, which sent them back to the Championship following their relegation the year prior.

The Scot scored 14 times from defence during the League One campaign, a record for the league and position.

Despite his heroics, Mulgrew was loaned out twice and has now returned to Dundee.

Darragh Lenihan

With 11 years and 215 appearances on the books, the man from Meath has firmly established his place as club captain and first-choice centre-back.

In a rocky decade, Lenihan has shone through and displayed much-needed authority, leading from the back and not being afraid to get involved in the attack, constantly pressing and commanding his team.

After a tumultuous time, Rovers now seem to have found the leader they need, and at 27-years-old, Lenihan could oversee the boys in blue and white for years to come.

Grant Hanley

From captain of the U18s to club captain at 24, Hanley’s six-year spell in the Rovers first-team yielded 183 games and eight goals.

In the early stages of Rovers’ fall to the championship, stability was upheld by the strong partnership of Hanley and Scott Dann, whose departure left Hanley the Rovers captain. The Dumfries native was one of the most exciting prospects recently nurtured by the Rovers academy and his gone on to prove his mettle in the top tier.

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