London: Manchester United legend Eric Cantona says he is “proud” but “not surprised” to be inducted into the English Premier League Hall of Fame.
The 54-year-old former France international joins Alan Shearer and fellow Frenchman Thierry Henry in being named.
Cantona, who began his career in England at Leeds, scored 70 goals in 156 Premier League appearances and won four titles in five seasons for Manchester United.
He was also instrumental in Leeds winning the last ever First Division title in 1991-92.
“I am very happy and very proud, but at the same time I am not surprised,” said Cantona on learning of his accolade.
“I would’ve been surprised not to be elected! I have been lucky to play in this team, with wonderful players, a wonderful manager and wonderful fans.
“We won and it was the football I dreamed about because Manchester United, it’s a club where they want to win things but in a good way.”
Cantona is one of the six players from a 23-man shortlist to receive the most combined votes from the public and the Premier League Awards Panel and the next five inductees will be announced over the next three days.
The Hall of Fame was launched last month to “recognise and celebrate the exceptional skill and talent of players who have graced the League since its inception in 1992”.
A fans’ vote closed on May 9, while to be eligible, players must have been retired by August 1, 2020. Only a player’s Premier League career was considered.