With Manchester United’s midfield maestro Paul Scholes hanging up his boots last weekend, I couldn’t think of a more fitting tribute to the man then compiling an all-time XI of footballing heroes with ginger hair.
Here is the Ginger XI:
Goalkeeper: Oliver Kahn
The German and Bayern Munich legend minded nets for over 20 years, gaining a reputation as one of the most talented goalkeepers of his generation and a penalty-saving expert.
A vocal and efficient leader for Germany who led by example, he guided them to a World Cup final in 2002.
Left-back: Steve Staunton
One of the Republic of Ireland’s most-capped internationals, the former Liverpool and Aston Villa man was a feared defender throughout the 1980s and 90s.
Picking up league and FA Cup winners' medals at Liverpool, he went on to manage the Irish national team for an ill-fated stint between 2006 and 2007.
Centre-back: Alex McLeish
A dedicated one-club man at Aberdeen, and one of Alex Ferguson’s earliest gems, McLeish was a rock at the back during Aberdeen’s breaking of the Old Firm’s duopoly in Scotland and their European Cup Winners' Cup triumph.
A successful Scotland international who has now moved into management.
Centre-back: Matthias Sammer
A Euro '96 winner with Germany and European Footballer of the Year in the same year, Sammer was originally a midfielder but converted to defence later on in his career. Along with international honours, he had a trophy-laden career in both East and West Germany with Dynamo Dresden, Vfb Stuttgart and Borussia Dortmund.
Right-back: Paul McShane
Another red-headed Irishman who has finally returned to the Premier League with Hull City. McShane was once a trainee at Manchester United but has now got his career back on track after returning from the football wilderness to make a Premier League return and an international comeback.
Left-wing: John Arne Riise
The former Liverpool workhorse, who won the Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup during his time on Merseyside.
Noted for scoring spectacular goals, he has racked up 110 caps during his international career with Norway. He has since made a return to the Premier League with Fulham.
Centre-midfielder: Paul Scholes
This jewel in this team's crown, Scholes was one of the most gifted and technically brilliant players of his generation. Undervalued and underused by England, his stellar club career has more than made up for that.
His commitment and longevity must be applauded.
Centre-midfielder: Billy Bremner
The former Leeds United midfield general led by example during the Don Revie era, picking up league and FA Cup winners' medals, along with reaching the European Cup final in 1975.
Bremmner was a dedicated and committed captain who relished physicality and gained infamy for his Charity Shield scuffle with Kevin Keegan in 1974.
Right-wing: Gordon Strachan
Another fiery Scot on this list, who made a name for himself with Aberdeen, Manchester United and Leeds, winning league titles both north and south of the border.
Now the manager of the Scottish national team, he has also had success at the helm of Celtic, Coventry and Southampton.
Striker: John Hartson
The Welsh hitman who made his name with spells at Arsenal, West Ham and Celtic, scored goals aplenty and picked up honours along the way.
The committed former Wales international has won a cancer battle since retirement and moved into media.
Striker: Dave Kitson
It is the colour of his hair rather than outstanding footballing ability that gets Dave Kitson into this team.
A successful time at Reading was followed up by a difficult time at Stoke City - and he now resides with Sheffield United in League One.
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