Manchester United: Premier League XI

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Manchester United are the most decorated team in English football history. Throughout the Premier League era, they have been the dominant force and have produced endless pools of talent. 

On the verge of winning their 20th league title, I assess who have been the best players at Old Trafford over the last 21 years.

Goalkeeper: Peter Schmeichel

The Great Dane was simply astonishing. Signed by Sir Alex Ferguson in 1991 for a bargain £505,000, the Scot went on to describe the deal as the "bargain of the century", and how right he was in saying so. 

Schmeichel could pull off ridiculous saves when his team needed it most, and his distributional play was incredible. Being voted as 'The World's Best Goalkeeper' in 1992 and 1993 just shows his class, and the man who captained the Red Devils in the 1999 Champions League final is probably the best goalkeeper that has ever graced the Premier League, let alone Manchester United.

Right-back: Gary Neville

The die-hard Englishman thoroughly deserves a place on the all-time Manchester United Premier League XI. 

Neville was a graduate of the brilliant "Class of '92", and lives and breathes the club he played for his whole career. The right-back was passionate, mainly in the fiery rivalries against Liverpool, and just a terrific player. 

He had a great knowledge of the game, and could also launch a ball into the area with his huge throw-ins. These are just a couple of his great traits, and furthermore his passion saw him receive the captain's armband in 2005 following the departure of Roy Keane that season. A fabulous servant who has to make the list.

Centre-back: Rio Ferdinand

A former Leeds United man, Man United fans took time to let Ferdinand grow on them. 

The West Ham graduate oozes sheer class. His excellent composure and brilliant skill is hard to come across in a defender, but he has these attributes to add to his already impressive game. On top of those abilities, he has shown blistering pace and great strength down the years, and is also a tremendous leader of men, as shown when he filled in as captain when Gary Neville was absent during the 2006/07 season and onwards. 

At 34-years-old he is still going strong and is one of the greatest talents of the English game.

Centre-back: Nemanja Vidic

A giant, scary Serb on the field, Vidic has more than merited his place in the all-time XI with some outstanding performances for the Red Devils since his arrival in 2006 for a bargain £7m. 

With incredible strength, bravery and leadership he was at the heart of a United defence that went a record-breaking 14 matches without conceding a goal in the 2008/09 season. Forming a mean partnership with Rio Ferdinand since the 2006/07 campaign, he has become club captain and was named Premier League Player of the Season twice - in 2008/09 and 2010/11.

He was also installed as club captain in 2010 and has been a crucial member of the Reds' team for the last seven years, and has to be in this list.

Left-back: Patrice Evra

A prime example of the 'modern day full-back', Evra signed for United in January 2006, and established himself as the first choice left-back ahead of fellow Frenchman Mikael Silvestre and Gabriel Heinze in only his second season. 

Since breaking into the side, Evra has played a vital role in the Reds' side that lifted the Champions League in 2008, and has won four Premier League titles, to mention some of his cup successes. 

His brilliantly consistent performances throughout his time at the club have earned him his place in the XI.

Right-wing: Cristiano Ronaldo

No position in this team was harder to decide on. A huge decision between the skilful Portuguese and David Beckham, but it's the current Real Madrid superstar who ever so slightly edges it for me. 

Ronaldo led United to three consecutive Premier League titles and is the most prolific winger we have witnessed in England's top flight. The goals are what made me choose him over Beckham, as they rocketed United to glory in his last few seasons at the club. 

He was the first player to win all four PFA and FWA awards and is worthy of being ranked amongst the finest to ever play the game.

Centre-midfield: Paul Scholes

Arguably the best midfielder of his time, Scholes has it all: the most incredible passing ability we've seen in the game, dedication, passion, strength, fabulous shooting ability, modesty and is the model professional for aspiring footballers. 

Scholes was a graduate of the astonishing "Class of '92" and has stayed at the club his entire career. In this time we have seen him play passes that look easy and are almost impossible for anyone else to perform, and score some magnificent goals from distance. 

He's been and done it all, with ten Premier League titles, three FA Cups and two Champions League winners' medals to his name - and the list doesn't stop there. 

It's almost an insult that he's never won a major individual award. The ultimate one-club man has to go down as one of United's greatest.

Centre-midfield: Roy Keane

The inspirational Irishman was a controversial figure to say the least. Despite all of the shocking events he was at the centre of, Keane was an incredible footballer. 

He had tremendous strength, an eye for a pass and many other attributes, but the one that undeniably comes out on top is his ability to lead a team. 

It was no surprise that Keane was installed as captain from 1997 until he left in 2005, as he carried and motivated his team-mates to some excellent victories. 

The former skipper will go down as probably the best leader we've ever seen in England's top flight and it was a shame to see him depart. No United team would be better off without him.

Left-wing: Ryan Giggs

What more can you say that hasn't already been said about the Welshman? 

Giggs is the most decorated footballer in English football history. A staggering 12 Premier League titles, four FA Cups, four League Cups, eight FA Community Shields, two UEFA Champions Leagues, one UEFA Super Cup, one Intercontinental Cup and one FIFA Club World Cup. 

Absolutely phenomenal and those are just his club honours, not to mention the individual awards. 

He has been sublime throughout his 23-year long illustrious career. Racking up an astounding 652 (and counting) league appearances for the Red Devils, Giggs has been inspirational to anyone involved in the game and is the ideal role model - he is a one-club man, versatile and a running machine.

Without a shadow of a doubt he would be the first name on anyone's United XI.

Striker: Eric Cantona

A relative shock signing for United from rivals Leeds in 1992 for a then-huge fee of £1.2m. The money paid off, however, as the Frenchman helped inspire the Reds to four league titles, two FA Cups and three Charity Shields in his five years at the club prior to retiring prematurely. 

Cantona also bagged an impressive 64 goals in 143 league games, while also taking on the role of playmaker and talisman for his team. The captain's armband may have proved too heavy for King Eric in his final season, but in his relatively brief career he lit up the Premier League with some magical moments at Old Trafford.

Striker: Wayne Rooney

Since bursting on to the scene as a 16-year-old, Rooney has become one of the most complete players we have ever seen in the sport.

He has a stunningly powerful and accurate shot, can pick almost any pass he wants, great strength, a brilliant first touch and admirable work ethic. He will give his all for the team until the final whistle, and the £25.6m they paid for him as an 18-year-old has gone a long way.

The former Evertonian has tallied up a more than impressive 141 goals in 272 league games for United, and there will no doubt be plenty more to come. 

One of the best English talents to ever be produced, the hard-working Merseyside-born Rooney has to make the cut.

Substitutes: Edwin van der Sar; Jaap Stam; David Beckham; Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Ruud van Nistelrooy

It was impossible to choose between Beckham and Ronaldo, but because of the amount of goals he scored in a short amount of time I had to pick Ronaldo!


DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeFootball 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.

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Jaap Stam
Edwin Van der Sar
David Beckham
Eric Cantona
Manchester United
Patrice Evra
Cristiano Ronaldo
Nemanja Vidic
Roy Keane
Paul Scholes
Peter Schmeichel
Wayne Rooney
Gary Neville
Ruud van Nistelrooy
Rio Ferdinand

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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.

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