Favorite Manchester United XI
Started following the Reds just after they won the first Premier League in 1993 but really fell in love with the club during the 1995/96 season, in which the Red Devils hunted down Newcastle United to win back the Premier League and secured their second Domestic Double in three years when Cantona stunned Liverpool at the death in FA Cup Final.
Almost 20 years on, United has provided a lot of highs and very few lows. The club has also produced many great players, so here is my favorite (that word will be key) XI over the last 20 years:
GK Peter Schmeichel
The Great Dane was crazy in such a good way. Fondest memory will always be the save against Bergkamp.
LB Denis Irwin
Such a loyal servant for the club, who had nerves of steel from twelve yards. He finished off one of Cantona’s passing gems as well.
CB Nemanja Vidić
Hard as effin’ nails. Great defender, great bargain.
CB Steve Bruce
A ball playing center back to balance the hard tackling pair of Vidic. Didn’t get to see the two goals live against Sheffield Wednesday but get goosebumps every time I watch it.
RB Gary Neville
Watching the improvement in the player was a joy. Passion and commitment to the club never questioned.
LM Ryan Giggs
Evolved from flying winger to measured leader on the field. Obviously the goal in the FA Cup Final will forever live in the memory.
CM Roy Keane
Every team needs a Keano—driven, unrelenting, demanding. Who cares what he says/does these days. Just remember those tackles and goals and that moment in the tunnel.
CM Paul Scholes
All of those goals, all of those passes. Wonderful player that I am only now beginning to appreciate.
RM David Beckham
My idol as I feel in love with soccer and the club. Every once in a while I hit a cross of this quality and simply can’t believe he can do it every time.
FW Eric Cantona
Didn’t see nearly enough of him. I watch every video I can because of his aura. The King of the contemporary United.
Second forward was my toughest choice. Do I go with Ruud or the baby faced assassin? Ruud scored so many goals in a red shirt, but I loved Ole and his goal secured one of the greatest sporting memories of my life so . . .
FW Ole Gunnar Solskjær
No CR7 in my starting lineup. Heresy I’m sure many of you are saying, but remember I said favorite and while I loved watching CR7 play and appreciate everything he did for the club, Becks was one my favorite players of all time. As one my recent blog posts noted:
I’ve tried to pattern my game on his—solid delivery on set pieces, whipping in crosses into dangerous areas, not playing the greatest defense, and varying my hairstyle from time to time.
My subs bench would be as follows:
GK Can you even choose between Van de Sar and De Gea? Amazing keepers both of them.
CB Japp Stam
A wonderful defender in the short time at the club. Should have never left.
For newer fans, make sure you him look up on youtube. Direct soccer is an understatement for the way he played.
MF Darren Fletcher
I was really critical of him at times but really admired his work ethic and his longevity at the club.
FW Ruud van Nistelrooy
What a goal scorer. Proved Ferguson’s belief in him again and again.
MF/FW Cristiano Ronaldo
A player made for Manchester United. Style, power, ability, desire. Gave his all as a red and moved on.
Manchester United Football Club is filled with legends and I continue to learn about players such as Billy Meredith, Jack Rowley, the Busby Babes, the Holy Trinity of Best, Law and Charlton, Bryan Robson and more. Would love to hear your thought on my XI and your most cherished Reds. Comment below or hit me up on twitter @austinlong1974. Glory Glory Man Utd!!