Manchester United XI: Sir Alex Ferguson's best players

Published 12 Comments

I set about naming the best XI Manchester United players of Sir Alex Ferguson's era and thought it would be a piece of cake.

The only conundrum to me would be who partnered Steve Bruce at the heart of defence and who would line up alongside Eric Cantona in attack.

Rio Ferdinand would edge out Gary Pallister on his ball playing abilities and the six titles he garnered, even though there was a compelling case for Jaap Stam. 

In the end, Stam’s acrimonious exit and only one goal despite always going for corners decided it.

For the second one it was an even easier pick - Ruud van Nistelrooy won only one Premier league title but for me he has been United’s most natural goalscorer. 

People often find it hard to believe that he scored 110 goals in three seasons in all competitions. 

If you pick up the fact that Lionel Messi only broke his Champions League tally for a season last term (14), then that juxtaposes these figures against the fact United did not reach any final whilst he was still there - you get the picture.

But then up cropped an unexpected item for conjecture: right-wing. You have the phenomenon that is currently terrorising La Liga in the form of Cristiano Ronaldo and dear old David Beckham. 

Beckham of the Brylcreem fame, of the Adidas apparel and of the famous Pepsi advert that features a young boy using his shirt to clean the mouth of the can. 

But wait a minute - Beckham was also a gifted footballer. He produced the most assists in the Premier League for almost five consecutive seasons, led United to a hat-trick of titles and a glorious treble, giving us the full range of spectacular goals along the way. So what? One may ask.

Ronaldo offered the full repertoire of tricks and flicks. Beckham did not, instead relying on the swerving and dipping free-kicks that have become synonymous with brand Beckham. So the smart money would seemingly be on Ronaldo, right?

I beg to differ. Beckham loved the club as a boy and made a plan to join it as a kid. He won five titles and produced assist after assist.

He could cross the ball directly onto the head of Dwight Yorke or Andy Cole and was feared by many a defender throughout the division - and across the world too. 

Beckham was also at the heart of the most successful team Ferguson built, starting from the Cantona era to the Roy Keane inspired one that reached Nou Camp highs in 1998/99. 

Oh and he scored that goal against Wimbledon from the half-way line. For a long time, that midfield of Keane, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs - with Beckham on the right - was the perfect mix of industry, pace, power and skill, and was for me one of the best ever.

Beckham was able to deliver the stinging equaliser for United against Tottenham in the final league game of the treble-winning season, as well as claiming the assists for the all-important goals against Bayern Munich in the Champions League final. 

For one with so much happening off-the-field and a celebrity wife, his ability to keep his mind on the ball seems as understated as it is remarkable.

Indeed, his recovery from the media hounding that followed the 1998 World Cup showed his character and inner resolve. 

He replicated this at different points of his career, winning the MLS title and the La Liga title with Fabio Capello’s Real Madrid, having been frozen out of the first-team.

Much has been made of his model/filmstar status but why begrudge the man? Blessed with the good looks, poise and body, which man would not use such attributes as a global superstar of sport?

Remember, Madrid’s turnover only started creeping up to the very top when Beckham had signed up and that package will forever be associated with him. The sneaking suspicion is that jealousy among many in the media and among fans tended to remove the gloss from Beckham - the gifted footballer.

So, with that said, this is how my final XI looked like. Do you agree? Would Beckham get the nod ahead of Ronaldo in your line-up? Have your say in the comments box below!

1.   Peter Schmeichel
2.   Gary Neville
3.   Denis Irwin
4.   Steve Bruce
5.   Rio Ferdinand
6.   Roy Keane
7.   David Beckham 
8.   Paul Scholes
9.   Ruud van Nistelrooy
10. Eric Cantona
11. Ryan Giggs

Piece of cake? Maybe not, after all.


Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here:

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

Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE:

Manchester United
David Beckham

Read more

back to top