Football

Sir Alex Ferguson: All-time Manchester United XI

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Cantona enjoyed great success under Alex Ferguson (©GettyImages)
Cantona enjoyed great success under Alex Ferguson (©GettyImages).

Sir Alex Ferguson has built a number of fantastic and successful teams at Manchester United and has managed a number of great players in his time. 

It's very difficult to pick his best team but i have tried to select my best side from the numerous players who have played under Fergie since 1986.

Goalkeeper – Peter Schmeichel

Not sure there can be much doubt about this. Only Edwin van deer Sar can lay claim to being the best keeper in Fergie’s reign. Both were extremely commanding but Schmeichel’s sheer presence gave his back four confidence and intimidated opposition strikers. 

If any criticism can be laid at Fergie’s door it could be his failure to land more world class goalkeepers but all keepers were compared to Schmeichel which was slightly unfair.

Right-back – Gary Neville

Manchester United through and through Neville was a outstanding full back both defensively and going forward. He developed fantastic partnerships with whoever United selected ahead of him on the right. United are striving to find a replacement for Neville and in Rafael they may have found that but Neville is a hard act to follow. 

The fact that Neville occupied the right back position for most of Ferguson’s reign makes his position in my team a certainty.

Centre-backs – Steve Bruce and Nemanja Vidic

Steve Bruce was an excellent for United and was a huge influence when United won their first Premier League title. Who can forget his two injury time headers against Sheffield Wednesday which led to United sealing their much sought after Premier League crown. He gets the nod against Rio Ferdinand because in my opinion he had more influence over his United side.

Ferdinand’s central defensive partner Nemanja Vidic makes my side because he is a mountain at the back for United and is hugely missed when unavailable. His sheer presence gives United more solidity and his bravery is second to none.

Left-back – Patrice Evra

Only Dennis Irwin can rival the Frenchman, but for me Evra has the edge. Evra is a leader both on and off the field and he has an abundance of pace which helps out his side at both ends of the pitch. Evra is a forward looking full-back and he is never afraid to push on beyond the strikers in order to influence things higher up the pitch.

Right midfield – Ronaldo 

What can you say about Ronaldo? He has now developed into one of the best players in the world and this was down to Sir Alex identifying him early in his career. At United he scored many fantastic goals and was more than an able replacement after David Beckham’s departure. United fans will hope that Ronaldo returns to soon.

Centre-midfield – Paul Scholes and Roy Keane

Paul Scholes is perhaps the greatest English midfielder of his generation. His passing and energy are second to none, his only downside was his tackling. Scholes scored a number of goals from midfield and many spectacular ones as well. He should have earned more England caps but his quality for United can never be doubted.

Roy Keane was the driving force behind Manchester United. He was the epitomy of what Manchester United stood for and he was prepared to win at all costs. His fight and tenancity unselfishly allowed others around him to flourish

Left-midfield – Ryan Giggs

Ryan Giggs has achieved more than he could ever have dreamt of when he started his career. Giggs has been present through Sir Alex’s tenure and has been influential in all of United’s trophies in this time. There is no greater sight than Ryan Giggs running down the left wing at opposing full-backs. 

Recently he has adapted his game but he has lost none of his quality with some sublime passes and vision. He could inconceivable still have another couple of years left in him.

Centre-forwards – Eric Cantona and Robin van Persie

This is an area of the pitch where United have been blessed with talent. They have been graced with players such as Rooney, Solskjaer, Yorke and Cole but undoubtedly Eric Cantona was the greatest of all, not necessarily for his goal scoring record, but most definitely for his presence and influence on the pitch. 

The Frenchman was perhaps the main reason why United won their first Premier League title in 1992-93 when he controversially signed from rivals Leeds United.

Van Persie has already shown his worth and I fully expect him to score many more goals for United. Fergie has once again identified a player who he knows can be the main difference between United and all the other clubs. 

He has come into the side and become one of the most influential players and is one of the main reasons for United re-capturing the title this year.

 

Feel free to add your opinions to the debate below.

 

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Topics:
Football
Eric Cantona
Premier League
Manchester United
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