I think it helps for someone to actually play to know the subtle differences between players.
My brother has played string instruments for 45 years, guitar, mandolin, banjo. He says Jeff Beck is the best rock guitar player period.
What do I know?
My wife likes pickers. Someone that can negotiate the strings rather than strum. Like John Prine, Bonnie Raitt. Or the 12 string like Leo Kottke or Dave Von Ronk.
There is no doubt Clapton has talent but who does say taught him?
I guess I don't look so much for the mastery of the instrument as playing to the soul.