Articles are often written about Sir Alex Ferguson’s greatest signings, past and present.
Players such as Eric Cantona, Roy Keane and Cristiano Ronaldo are always guaranteed a spot when journalists create their team of Manchester United’s greatest XIs.
Arguably it is the most talented players that tantalised with skill and ability that are looked upon with fondest memories. However, there are still plenty of Manchester United players that Ferguson signed that nevertheless showed work ethic, commitment and ability who are overshadowed by their fellow luminaries.
Brian McClair joined Manchester United in 1987 and quickly made history for himself by becoming the first player since George Best to score more than 20 league goals in a season for Manchester United.
Much of McClair’s play was characterised by his willingness to dig deep and unrivalled work ethic, which often rewarded him with goals and opportunities to create chances. His style of commitment and hard work led to him being deployed in midfield in his later years.
With 11 seasons at Manchester United, four Premier League titles, three FA Cups, one League Cup and one UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, his longevity and continued confidence by Ferguson to keep McClair as a squad player clearly highlights the importance that Manchester United felt he offered them.
His versatility, loyalty and outstanding team-work were a credit to himself and this why he is one of Manchester United’s true underrated greats.
When Denis Irwin retired in 2004, ending his playing days at Wolves, he suddenly left the football world like a ghost unseen, unheard.
This typifies the way he played for Manchester United: a full-back who did nothing exquisite or fancy, not the most exciting and adrenaline-inducing of players but, nevertheless, a true Manchester United legend.
Although he was an expert at penalties and free-kicks, he took them with a humble manner, refrained expression and then trotted back to his full-back position.
He could play either left-back or right-back but cemented the left-back position as his own and played with a high consistency, with expert defending and great attacking instincts.
His reliability and functional expertise as a full-back, in addition to the seven titles he won and a Champions League, highlight how he is certainly a Manchester United legend.
Andrei Kanchelkis, signed in 1991, played as a right-winger with electrifying pace, plenty of flair and great skill which led to him cementing the right-wing position at United.
He possessed talent in abundance and his ability could never be doubted by Manchester United supporters. He was one of the first members of Ferguson’s team that would set the foundations for the future great ambitions of the club.
He is perhaps underrated because of his short stay at Manchester United, only lasting four seasons until being sold to Everton after having a fall-out with Ferguson.
But even at Everton he continued to show his array of talents and why he could have became one of Ferguson’s true great players.
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