Football

Manchester United: All-time best midfield four

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Scholes, Ronaldo & Giggs all lit up Old Trafford (©GettyImages)
Scholes, Ronaldo & Giggs all lit up Old Trafford (©GettyImages).

A long list of players have donned the famous red shirt and called themselves a Red Devil, but only four special players have eternalised their legacies to form the most formidable midfield Manchester United had to offer when these players were in their prime.

Left-wing: Ryan Giggs

Possibly the easiest position to pick out a player. Holding the record for the most number of Manchester United, Ryan Giggs has been tearing teams apart since his introduction to the first team in 1991.

It is beyond a shadow of a doubt that in his prime Giggs was one of the best dribblers of the ball. How often have United fans have seen him navigate his way through a tight maze of defenders only to leave them trailing in his wake. The perfect example would be the goal he scored against Arsenal in the FA semi-final in 1999.

Everything that captures the essence of Giggs is in that goal. Pure class. An untouchable player who will forever live on in the memory of the United die-hards long after he has hung up his boots - assuming he intends to do so.

Centre-midfield: Roy Keane

United have had some big-name players in the middle of the park, such as Argentina legend Juan Sebastian Veron. They have also had their fair share of hard-working players with great determination and work-rate such as Park Ji-Sung and Owen Hargreaves, plus players with fantastic technical ability and an eye for a pass such as Michael Carrick.

However, none of these players will even come close to the two players whom at their prime have dominated the United midfield like no other.

The real captain fantastic, Roy Keane, is one of the most influential captains United have ever had. His presence on the field often struck fear into his opponents and team-mates alike. Not one to shy away or censor himself, he was always vocal to his fellow team-mates on the field which provided United with a true midfield general.

Unafraid of the physical aspect of the game, Keane often made the tackles that other players would think twice about. This is one man you do not want to face on a bad day. Making 480 appearances and picking up a total tally of 17 trophies along the way, the United midfield has never been the same since he left and they are still yet to find the heir to his role at the club - both on and off the field.

Centre-midfield: Paul Scholes

Next to Keane, we have the Ginger Prince, Paul Scholes.

Drawing praise from footballing legends such as Pele, Sir Bobby Charlton, George Best and Zinedine Zidane, not to mention football's current superstars such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Xavi - Scholes is considered to be one the most complete midfielders of his generation.

There was no getting close to him when he got the ball, his passes were so accurate some would suspect laser technology was involved and lastly his finishing was superb. At his prime he used to average around 13 goals per season, but it wasn’t his number of goals that were stunning. It was the manner in which he scored, passed, moved and played the beautiful game as it was meant to be.

A technical genius with fantastic vision, Scholes was truly a class player. A type of player the footballing world may never see again.

Right-wing: Cristiano Ronaldo

In the right corner we have a tough fight between two players who epitomised the No. 7 shirt: David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Beckham played nine long wonderful seasons at Old Trafford, racking up 394 appearances and 85 goals along the way with 15 trophies to his name. A dead-ball specialist, one who could be counted upon when all hope was lost. With the swing of his right foot, he has sent the fans to pure ecstasy many times.

His work-rate was undeniable and even now it still continues to be. His link-up play with strikers from his pinpoint crosses from out wide or from corners were a sight to behold. He will always be remembered at Old Trafford but sadly the emergence of a young Portuguese will grow to supersede him.

Enter Ronaldo, the Portuguese winger who at first seemed like a selfish, showboating play-actor. Little did his doubters know he would become one of the finest players in the world - and still is.

Ronaldo left United after six magical seasons in which he scored a staggering 118 goals in 292 appearances. Currently at his prime, he is averaging at about 40 goals per season - a truly incredible feat for any player in the modern era. Ronaldo came in as a replacement for Beckham but he soon grew out of his predecessors shadow to form his own imposing image in the No. 7 shirt which will probably never be replaced unless he makes a return to him second home.

Ronaldo blossomed under the intense pressure and expectations placed on him only to emerge as the most complete attacking player United will ever see.

He has speed, strength, skill, technique, aerial ability - you name it he has it. Undoubtedly in his prime, no player comes close to challenging him for this spot.

So there you have it. My personal take on what could be Manchester United's best midfield of all time. Share your thoughts in the comments section below. Do you agree or disagree?

 

DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeFootball Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeFootball.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeFootball.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

Topics:
Ryan Giggs
Football
David Beckham
Manchester United
Cristiano Ronaldo
Roy Keane
Paul Scholes
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