All time Man United Team (since 1968 when I first watched them)

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††††††††††††††††††††† Gary Neville††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Irwin

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Buchan†††††††††††††† Stam

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Keane††††††††††††††††††††† Robson

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††† Cantona††††††††††††† Charlton†††††††††††††† Best

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Goalkeeper

This one is easy.Peter Schmeichel is in a class of his own, size, saving ability, aerial, dominance, passion, clearances.Who else is there?Barthez, Bailey, Stepney Others were better whilst at other teams.Rimmer, Leighton, Bosnich.

Right Back

Man Utd have never had world class full backs.Weird right backs and steady left backs.And so by default right back goes to Gary Neville.Who else is there?I canít help feeling that Johnny Sivebaek was the best but he didnít stay for long but he did go on to win a European Championship medal with Denmark (and Peter Schmeichel).The other one who on his day could do anything was John Gidman, who when he got the bit between his teeth went on great mazy runs, and he could defend.Others to consider, Dennis Irwin of course but Iíve got him at left back, Paul Parker, Jimmy Nicol, Viv Anderson, Alex Forsythe, Tony Dunne.It doesnít exactly set the world on fire.

Left Back

Dennis Irwin.A sad indictment of Man Utd full backs when a right footed player has been the best United full back for years, even under Fergieís regime.Thereís not many to choose from to challenge Dennis.Arthur Albiston and Stewart Houston, both good and very steady in their time.A more wacky choice may have been Lee Martin, and Sylvestre is currently too wacky.Oh and Irwin can take the free kicks.

Central Defenders

For me this is easy.One big one and one fast one.Whoís the biggest and whoís the fastest.Until recently Iíd have Paul McGrath (yes I know thereís Gary Pallister), but now Jaap Stam is the man.God knows why Fergie sold him.Heís world class and heís got the lot.The other one for me is Martin Buchan.Very fast, reliable, steady, a leader, responsible.I never saw anyone beat him for speed.Playing along Stam they would be unbeatable.Oh what weíd give for Martin Buchan now.Others up for consideration, Bruce and Pallister, Johnsen and Berg, McGrath and Moran.And one final point, Not Gordon McQueen.I canít remember Bill Foulkes even though he was around.Itís always been a United dream to convert a midfielder into a defender Robson or Keene, or to have a sweeper like Paul Parker, but until a Bobby Moore or Franz Beckenbauer comes along Iíll stick to One big one and One fast one.

Midfield

Now it gets difficult because there have been so many midfielders.It also depends on if thereís going to be 2 wingers.Two hard central midfielders or one hard one and one skilful, or two skilful central midfielders.

Firstly, thereís one player that stands out.Georgie Best.For me there is no debate about Giggs or Best.Best was two footed.Even Ryan Giggs laughs when he hits a right foot pass or shot, and heís fluked one or two right foot goals and he knows it.Georgie Best was completely two footed.No-one knows which his natural side is.This means I have the luxury of playing him on either wing and switch him in a match.This leaves more room for another midfielder or forward.And of course itís worth mentioning Lee Sharpe, Gordon Hill and Gordon Strachan, who on their day were unstoppable.

Letís go for two hard midfielders who can run the length of the pitch and score goals as well.Keane and Robson.Enough said.My heart would like to include Norman Whiteside alongside Robson, because for a brief moment in time there was nothing that those two together couldnít do.Also Paul Ince, but time has moved on and we hate him.Veron might end up the greatest but lets wait and see.And thereís many more, Scholes, Butt, McIlroy, Daley, Wilkins, Muhren, McClair was good in midfield, and I always thought Hughes would have made a great midfielder. Crerand and Stiles to break things up and move the ball on.But you canít ask for more than two players who can run, score, tackle, lead, head and pass.

The next slot is the most difficult.Traditionally it should be a winger.My heart says Coppell my head says Beckham, and in a one off game Kanchelskis was maybe the fastest and best.But I have to make room for Charlton and Cantona. The statistics for Bobby Charlton are just unbeatable, 766 games and 253 goals, and still the top England scorer.Again, he had pace, could pass, and clearly scores goals.Watch the old games, he always seemed to have space.I personally donít worship Cantona, he never did much in Europe, but heís a winner and whenever he played except in Europe, United played.Heís the catalyst that set them on fire.Having Cantona in means Beckham and Coppell out.

Forwards

Thereís only room for one forward, and my initial choice was Dennis Law.Just to check I thought Iíd compare his stats with other forwards.Like Charlton and Best, theyíre unbeatable; in fact theyíre the best.409 appearances and 236 goals, thatís a goal every 1.73 games.Only Van Nistelrooy can match that with 1.33 games per goal and heís only played 48 games and scored 36 goals (2001/2002).Letís wait and see.Surprisingly, the next best games per goal record is Dwight Yorke, followed by Andy Cole.Cantona, Best and Pearson are up there with Solskjaer, Hughes and Jordan behind.Itís not just about stats itís about playing.You want a goal machine and Dennis is the King.Van Nistelrooy may succeed him.

 

 

Itís interesting doing this exercise and see what comes out of a second and third team.Also Iíve also done some other teams.Before that Iíd like to acknowledge my own personal subjective favourites.

 

Buchan, McGrath, Moran, Whiteside, Sheringham, Cole, Gidman, Sharpe, Coppell, Hill, Johnsen, Berg, Hill, Daley, Hughes, Jimmy Greenhoff, Pearson, Olsen and believe it or not Gary Birtles.I saw him on his debut and he looked the business.What happened?I blame Joe Jordan.

 

Individual players arenít ranked here because Iíve kept partnerships together like Bruce and Pallister, even though I think McGrath was better.

 

The Best

Nearly Best

Third Best

Fourth Best

Smile on your face

Bad on a dark night

Schmeichel

Barthez

Bailey

Stepney

Barthez

Schmeichel

Neville

Gidman

Sivebaek

Parker

Gidman

Crerand

Irwin

Albiston

Houston

Martin

Sharpe

Stiles

Buchan

Bruce

Moran

Johnsen

Buchan

McQueen

Stam

Pallister

McGrath

Berg

McGrath

Holton

Robson

Whiteside

Scholes

Muhren

Daley

Whiteside

Keane

Veron

Ince

Daley

Whiteside

Keane

Best

Giggs

Sharpe

Hill

Sheringham

Robson

Charlton

Sheringham

Cole

Hughes

Greenhoff

Kidd

Law

V.Nistelrooy

Yorke

Solskjaer

Pearson

Hughes

Cantona

Beckham

Kanchelskis

Coppell

Coppell

Jordan

 

Whoís still missing?Wilkins, McIlroy, Olsen, Nichol, Strachan, Macari, Viv Anderson, Sylvestre, McClair, Stapleton, Dunne, Remi Moses!

 

And of course thereís a whole team of players who could have been.

Leighton, Gillespie, Dublin, Brazil, Webb, Platt, Giles, Beardsley, Birtles, Storey-Moore, McDougall.They all did it for other teams but not United.