With the 177th Manchester derby on the horizon, it is only natural the debate of the fixture’s greatest XI has cropped up again. Manchester United travel to face Man City in the Premier League fixture on Sunday afternoon as Jose Mourinho’s side look to cause an upset against the reigning champions of England.
But both teams have produced the best players during the Premier League era. Football devotees from around the world can purchase Premier League Tickets online to enjoy its fabulous actions.
This was tough so many legendary players left out. I still can’t justify omitting Eric Cantona, Yaya Toure, Roy Keane, and Carlos Tevez. But I took the coward’s way out by picking a keeper who played for both clubs, and it was a tight call between Kyle Walker and Gary Neville at right-back – the City man’s extra pace gave him a slight edge.
Then Kevin De Bruyne marginally saw off Keane, as more of an all-round footballer, while I expect that in five years Raheem Sterling and/or Leroy Sane may have displaced Gigs another close call.
In goal, we already have the first contentious point. Growing up Van der Sar was the standard-setter in the Premier League yes, I am that young. However, the Dutch keeper won 27 major trophies during his career and holds the world league clean sheet record by not conceding a single goal for 1,311 minutes.
For balance in midfield, I have chosen Yaya Toure, Roy Keane, and David Silva. For me, this midfield has the best captain English football has ever seen in Keane, while Toure at his peak was one of the best box-to-box midfielders in the division. There was a toss-up between Paul Scholes and Silva for the final creative spot, but the City maestro edges it for me.
The final selection worth justifying is the striker with Wayne Rooney the choice upfront. Love him or hate him, the veteran attacker is the record scorer in the history of the derby and ever so slightly out muscles the incredible talents of Sergio Aguero.
Peter Schmeichel and Edwin van der Sar are two of United’s all-time great goalkeepers but David de Gea is better than both of them. At right-back, Gary Neville is the obvious choice, while Vincent Company and Rio Ferdinand provide the perfect mix of defensive ability and class on the ball. Honorable mentions for Jaap Stam and Nemanja Vidic.
Patrice Evra and Dennis Irwin are the only real candidates for the left-back berth but I’ve plumped for the Frenchman who was a mainstay in the team that reached three Champions League finals in four years between 2008 and 2011.
In midfield, Yaya Toure is just edged out by Roy Keane, Paul Scholes, and David Silva. In a couple of years, Kevin De Bruyne might be in the equation but he’s not done enough to justify his inclusion just yet.
In the forward positions, I’ve gone for Cristiano Ronaldo on the right wing with Wayne Rooney shunted out to the left wing to accommodate Sergio Aguero as the lone central striker.
I went into this thinking selecting a goalkeeper would be the easiest decision but even choosing between three great stoppers made me think aloud – not a great start. I’ve gone for Peter Schmeichel but David de Gea is well on his way to establishing himself as a United legend.
The back four was pretty straightforward Denis Irwin was Mr. Consistent and Vincent Company just edges Nemanja Vidic out for a bit of blue/red balance. In midfield, Paul Scholes and Roy Keane have to play and David Silva just beats Kevin De Bruyne to that third spot.
There can be few complaints about Cristiano Ronaldo and Ryan Gigs being picked out wide but choosing between Sergio Aguero and Wayne Rooney was tricky. The Argentine gives the side some much-needed City balance – and he’s well on his way to surpassing Rooney’s goal tally in Manchester.
As contradictory as this sounds, Schmeichel and Van der Sar are probably the greater United goalkeepers but neither has defied belief quite as De Gea has. The Spaniard’s ability possibly trumps his esteemed predecessors and, although he has just the one title, he has spent longer at United than Schmeichel or Van der Sar.
Neville was one of the most consistent right-backs in Europe for upwards of five years. Ferdinand and Vidic were the best defensive partnership on the planet between 2006 and 2008 and Ferdinand were the finest Center-half in the world during that period. Evra may be reached greater heights than Irwin but the Irishman was Stabler and ahead of his time with his sense of adventure.
Keane was maybe as important to United as Eric Cantona. Scholes is possibly the greatest Greater Manchester-born player in the club’s history and Silva has been the best Premier League player since Ronaldo left in 2009.
There has not been a better Premier League goalscorer this decade than Aguero. Gigs’ longevity often masked his quality, which became more sparing in his last eight years, but he was still twisting blood in his late 30s. Ronaldo is the most gifted talent United have had since George Best.
Football fans can get Man Utd Tickets through our trusted online ticketing marketplace. Ticket4football.com is the most reliable source to book Man Utd Football Tickets.