Sir Alex Ferguson signed many talented foreign players during his 26-year spell at Manchester United, but the spine of his teams were often comprised of British and Irish footballers.

Here are the best XI of his unforgettable tenure.

Goalkeeper: Ben Foster | Club appearances: 23

Undoubtedly, Ben Foster isn't the greatest Manchester United player with the gloves in Sir Alex Ferguson's reign, but there hasn't been a better British stopper than the current 30-year-old West Brom goalkeeper.

Foster is currently considered as one of the finest Premier League goalkeepers since the Englishman has been the first-choice stopper for Steve Clarke and his club.

Right-back: Gary Neville | Club appearances: 602

Club captain for five years, Neville has been the most consistent and impressive full-back in Ferguson's reign. Neville was capable of making clean tackles, delivering deadly balls into the box and was, of course, a great leader.

The current England coach has been a respected figure for Manchester United fans over the years because of his loyalty and affection towards the club. 

Centre-back: Rio Ferdinand | Club appearances: 431

Every time Ferdinand faces a major injury, against all odds, he makes a much stronger comeback. The 34-year-old is absolutely brilliant in what he does: defending.

Recently retired from international duties, the English defender has always been a first-team regular after Sir Alex Ferguson signed him in the year 2002 from Leeds United for around £30m, making him the most expensive British footballer in history at that time.

Centre-back: Steve Bruce | Club appearances: 414

Steve Bruce is considered as one of the most important players to bring back Manchester United's glory days. In 1993, Manchester United won their first championship of English football since 1967, credit to two late goals by Bruce in a dramatic win over Sheffield United which proved decisive for the club to clinch the title.

Bruce has won ample of trophies with the club, including three league titles and three FA Cups and has led the foundation of the great Sir Alex Ferguson era at Manchester United.

Left-back: Denis Irwin | Club appearances: 529

The Irishman is regarded as the one of the most underrated and versatile footballer of all time. Denis Irwin was capable of playing as a full-back on both the sides of the defence.

Sir Alex Ferguson signed Irwin in the year 1990 for £625,000, becoming the Manchester United boss's undisputedly best value-for-money signing. The Irish full-back was a big attacking threat for the opponent, outstanding crosser and a fine finisher. He was also a regular free-kick taker for the Old Trafford side.

Right-wing: David Beckham | Club appearances: 394

David Beckham is the footballer who bought style into football and football into style. During his golden days when he played for Manchester United and Real Madrid, Beckham was considered as one of finest free-kick takers in Europe.

The English midfielder was a great finisher and a terrific crosser.

Beckham stayed at the club for almost a decade, before moving to Real Madrid in the year 2003. On the right flank of the pitch, Beckham and Gary Neville created a stunning partnership for Manchester United as well as for England.

Centre-midfielder: Paul Scholes | Club appearances: 717

A class of his own, Paul Scholes is regarded as the most complete football players in Sir Alex Ferguson's reign. One of the greatest passer in the game, Scholes brought an end to his glittering career at the club in May 2013.

Starting and ending his professional footballing career at Manchester United, the 38-year-old midfielder has played under only one manager in his club career. Scholes was capable of scoring from long range and is one of the most admired footballers of his generation.

Centre-midfielder: Roy Keane | Club appearances: 480

One of the hard-men in world football, Roy Keane has been a influential figure in British football for many years. Keane is a misunderstood footballer in the eyes of many, due to his aggressive style of play.

Apart from the controversies, the Irishman was a brilliant midfielder and a great leader. Along with Scholes, Keane made a world-class centre-midfielder duo at Manchester United. After Cantona's shocking retirement in 2001, Keane was named the next club captain by Sir Alex Ferguson and wore the armband for the next four seasons.

Left-wing: Ryan Giggs | Club appearances: 940

Even at the age of 39, Ryan Giggs is going strong with his Manchester United career. After serving the club for more than two decades, The Welsh wizard has one more season on his contract with Manchester United and is showing no sign of stopping.

Arguably, Ryan Giggs is the most successful British footballer ever. With the Old Trafford club, the 39-year-old winger has won 13 Premier League titles, four FA Cups, four Football League Cup, eight FA Community Shields, two UEFA Champions League and one UEFA Super Cup.

Giggs recorded the most number of appearances for the club beating Sir Bobby Charlton's record on the night when Manchester United won the Champions League in Moscow in the year 2008.

Striker: Wayne Rooney | Club appearances: 402

The England striker is the top goalscorer for Manchester United in Sir Alex Ferguson era. Wayne Rooney has now played under Sir Alex Ferguson for almost a decade and is well known for his goalscoring as well as goal-providing habit and is definitely one of the greatest footballer in Ferguson's reign at Manchester United.

Striker: Mark Hughes | Club appearances: 467

Mark Hughes has been one of the finest strikers to have played under Ferguson. The Welsh was a goalscoring machine for Manchester United netting total number of 163 goals in 467 appearances for the club.

At first, Hughes joined Manchester United in the year 1980 as a teenager before moving to FC Barcelona, six years later. However, Hughes made a shocking comeback to Old Trafford after disappointing spells at the Catalans and Bayern Munich.

 

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