Sir Alex Ferguson has made Manchester United one of the most popular sports clubs ever.
Arguably the Scot is the greatest manager ever and certainly the greatest manager in all of Britain. To acknowledge the services of Sir Alex, GMF compiles an all star squad of the Ferguson Era.
A 4-4-2 formation for the Ferguson era XI is a fitting tribute to the man who used this formation to create many world class Manchester United sides along the years.
United and the footballing world will certainly not be the same without the bullish Scot.
GK: Peter Schmeichel
Schmeichel was arguably the best ever goalkeeper for Man United leading them to a historic treble in 1999. The Great Dane had a humongous arm and his long range throws started swift counter attacks. His famous impersonation of a ‘starfish’ when one-on-one is used by many modern day goalkeepers.
RB: Gary Neville
A true Mancunian, Neville knew the true value of playing for the Red Devils. He has been one of their best full backs as he is defensively sound and can also put in dangerous crosses into the box.
Sir Alex nurtured Neville and as he matured Neville’s experience became vital for United. Neville’s hate for Liverpool makes him a fan favourite at Old Trafford.
CB: Jaap Stam
The Dutch star may not have had the best relationship with Sir Alex but there’s no denying that Fergie made him one of the best defenders in the world. His assured tackling and reading of the game made him a menace for attackers. Although Stam criticised Ferguson heavily in his autobiography he later apologised for his actions.
It's unfortunate that their relationship ended on such a sour note but Stam was one of the most naturally gifted defenders of his time.
CB: Nemanja Vidic
The towering Serb has been Man United’s main defender for six years now. An expert when it comes to defending ugly, Vidic never lets an attacker get the better of him.
His composed no nonsense defending makes him one of the best defenders right now. Vidic has won the EPL Player of the Season in 2011 and was also included in the FIFA World XI that year.
LB: Denis Irwin
Often underrated by many, only Sir Alex truly understood the value of the Irishman. Irwin was a tidy passer of the ball and good in the tackle making him one of the first names on the team-sheet for United. A set-piece specialist, Irwin has taken many penalties and free-kicks for United scoring 22 goals in his United career.
RW: Cristiano Ronaldo
David Beckham is cruelly left out as his successor exceeded the standard set by Beckham. Ferguson’s belief in Ronaldo was unconditional, offering him the iconic number seven shirt early in his United career.
Ronaldo steadily improved, eventually becoming the best player in the world in 2008. He scored many goals in his last two seasons at United and his trickery and skill made him a fan favourite at Old Trafford.
CM: Paul Scholes
The outspoken genius, Scholes lets his football do the talking. Not attracted to fame and fortune, Scholes plays football purely for his sheer love for the game. Scholes range of passing is one of the best in Europe and it is hard to find a player who could pick out a pass like he did.
Through balls, long diagonal crosses, Scholes could do it all with excellence and finesse. He was also a great goalscorer scoring over 150 goals for Man United.
CM: Roy Keane
His winning mentality likened him to Sir Alex, as they both were always determined to win at all costs. Keane was a born leader and arguably one of the best captains Man United have ever had.
When United weren’t playing well or a goal down, Keane would marshal the troops and turn the game on its heels like against Juventus and Bayern Munich when they were triumphant in Europe. His interceptions and ability to start counter attacks made him one hard to play against.
LW: Ryan Giggs
The relationship between Giggs and Ferguson started when the Welsh Wizard was just 13. Ferguson admired him then and admires him now. United’s longest serving player, Giggs is still going strong at 40 and doesn’t seem to stop.
Giggs' transformation from an explosive and speedy winger to a more versatile midfielder was due to Sir Alex. As Giggs grew older, he added new dimensions to his game making him an invaluable asset for Man United. With numerous goals and assists, Giggs has accompanied Sir Alex throughout the Premier League era.
CF: Wayne Rooney
The Evertonian started his Manchester United career with a blistering hat-trick against Fenerbache and hasn’t ever looked back since. A goal machine for Man United, Rooney is now their fourth all time top scorer and also has numerous assists to his name highlighting his versatility. Ferguson has made Rooney mature from a hotheaded forward to an attack minded midfielder playing just behind the striker.
ST: Eric Cantona
Cantona lead United to success in the early 90’s and most of it was down to his incredible relationship with Ferguson. They were a brutal pair, Ferguson assigning tasks and Cantona executing them with finesse. The complete forward, he also brought others into play well. A scorer of vital goals, Cantona’s name is still sung at the Stretford End.
Edwin van der Sar
Ruud van Nistelrooy
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Park Ji Sung
Honourable mention: Bryan Robson - He may not have played a lot under Ferguson but captain marvel laid the foundations for Ferguson’s imminent success.
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