With the ‘Special One’ Jose Mourinho set to take the reins at Old Trafford this season, it’s worth reflecting on the man who has made the Red Devils the biggest football club in the world. In his 26 year spell, Sir Alex Ferguson had the pleasure of working with some of the most gifted footballers of their generation. It is hard to argue with the 1999 side that won the treble including the Premier League and Champions League but over the course of his career at United, who would make his ultimate XI?
Goalkeeper: Peter Schmeichel
One of Sir Alex Ferguson’s hardest tasks at United was replacing the Danish No.1, it took them almost a decade to do that with Edwin Van Der Sar which tells you the calibre of Schmeichel. Spent 8 very successful years at United where he won 5 Premier League titles, 3 FA Cups and the Champions League.
Right Back: Gary Neville
He was the type of player that suited Fergie down to the ground, hardworking and not afraid to put a tackle in. Was a very determined individual who wasn’t technically gifted, but his willingness and dedication to win make him the stand out right back in Fergie’s tenure.
Left Back: Dennis Irwin
Mr.Reliable and chipped in with several goals in his 12 year stay at Old Trafford. He won 7 Premier League titles and Ferguson believes pound for pound, he was the best signing he ever made from Oldham Athletic.
Centre Back: NemanjaVidic
Another one of Fergie’s bargains was Vidic who was plucked from the Russian leagues for a measly £7m. He went on to become an absolute rock solid centre half and became a dominant force in defence since his departure to Inter Milan. United definitely got the best years out of the Serbian defender.
Centre Back: JaapStam
It’s been well documented that one of Fergie’s biggest regrets was the transfer of JaapStam out of the club. Fergie wasn’t afraid to make the big decisions and he felt it was the right time for the Dutch defender to move on but he openly admits it was a massive error to depart with him.
Left Midfield: Ryan Giggs
One of the graduates from the class of ’92. The Welsh winger spent his entire career at United and is now assistant manager at the club. His speed and dribbling ability made him unstoppable at times and Fergie even got the best out of him in his later years by developing his game to suit him.
Centre Midfield: Roy Keane
A bitter bust up put an end to their relationship unfortunately but in the time Keane was captain under Fergie, he was a detrimental part of the midfield. Many believe United have never replaced someone in the heart of the midfield to win games and Keane was certainly a match winner.
Centre Midfield: Paul Scholes
Like Giggs, a member of the class of ’92. His passing ability is right up there with the likes of Xavi and Andrea Pirlo and many of his fellow professionals say he’s the greatest footballer they’ve seen. The only player who Fergie chose to take back out of retirement and it proved dividends, securing the title on his return.
Right Midfield: David Beckham
Striker: Eric Cantona
Fergie would’ve took a lot of satisfaction at nurturing a player with undoubted ability but a very wild and controversial personality. However, supreme man management lead to Cantona becoming one of the greatest Premier League players. ‘King Eric’ donned the No.7 jersey which was when the number started to become an iconic symbol at United.
Striker: Wayne Rooney
The only player to make the list who is still currently at the club. Signed for £30m as a teenager, it was one of Fergie’s most expensive incomings but one of his greatest. He is on course to break the all-time scoring record for United and has scored vital goals in his career including the overhead kick in the Manchester Derby at Old Trafford.
Can Mourinhobuild a better team than Sir Alex Ferguson?
Will the Special One ever be able to live up to the Godfather of Old Trafford? What lessons can he take from the Fergie golden years? Let us know in the comments section below for your chance to win a $50 Premier Sports Memorabilia gift voucher.