Sep 21

All Time Best XI Series: Right Midfield / Right Wing

Tag: All Time Best XI Series @ 9:11 pm

I must say that when I was asked if I would like to write an article whereby I get to select Manchester United’s top ten all time right sided midfielders, I jumped at the opportunity with great pleasure and enthusiasm. As a historically powerful juggernaut United have made it easy to pick top tens for all positions. The club goes back a long time but it also has such a rich and successful history that it’s been blessed with incredibly talented players who have plied their trade at Old Trafford. Nowhere is that more obvious than the position of Right Midfielder/Right Wing. The list of greatness to have occupied that part of the field is simply so awe inspiring one would have to dig deep to find another club in world football that can match or beat this top ten list for class and skill.

Before I list the top ten, let me apologise to all the Antonio Valencia fans and people familiar with the great Jimmy Delaney. Both fantastic right wingers but for different reasons they just finished out of the top ten. Still, I felt that they should get honorable mention just the same. For Tony Valencia at least, it was simply a case of not having played enough games for the club yet. Anyway, without further delay, let us begin.

10. Charlie Mitten – (1946-50 – Goals 61) Charlie Mitten was probably the first winger bought in the early days of Sir Matt Busby’s Manchester United managerial career. Although officially signed by the club in 1936, he actually never played professionally for them until ten years later due to World War II. But during his time with United he scored an impressive 61 goals and help lead the club to their epic 1948 FA Cup triumph. He had a stormy relationship with Sir Matt during his career with United as he accepted big money to play in Brazil. Back then a team holding his rights could not stop him from playing abroad and so he accepted the offer. Upon his return to England in 1958 he immediately got suspended for six months by Busby. Despite all the that turmoil, he was one of the most exciting and gifted players to play on the right side for the Reds. While in Brazil he was nicknamed the “Bogota Bandit” by the team owner for being paid a lot of money but not delivering the goods. At least he did well for United however, scoring those 61 goals in only 162 games for the club. I must point out however that he was equally adept at playing left wing/left midfielder as well and during his time with the club occupied both flanks evenly. Still, that kind of goal production from a right sided midfielder cannot be ignored.

9. Andrei Kanchelskis – (1991-95 – Goals 36) Andrei Antanasovich Kanchelskis was United’s Ukranian born speedy right midfielder/winger in the early years of the Premier League under Sir Alex. Having played 161 total matches in all competitions and offering up 36 goals, he showed us his many skills and and capped it off with tremendous pace. He was a key part of the team that one the first Premier League title back in 92/93 scoring only 3 goals but offering up many assists from fine crosses and strong dribbling. His career was not always as a starter but his pace, dribbling and ability to offer width to the team especially as a super sub was invaluable in those early days where he was only one of thirteen foreigners playing in England at the time. Astonishing fact when you compare that with today. In 94/95 he was actually United’s leading goal scorer netting an outstanding 19 goals for a winger in all competitions. 14 of them came in the Prem and that was considered an exceptional total for an old school winger back in those days before Ronaldo changed the way the position is played. The high point for him that season was when he scored three goals in the home derby against Manchester City, which United won 5-0. He definitely had his moments and helped United to a number of trophies during his brief stay that was ended due to his continual arguments with Fergie. I for one remember him fondly and felt he offered us a lot during his time with the Red Devils and played the role of a classic winger on both sides with equal strength and consistency. No shame in the fact he eventually made way on the right side for a true United legend to be, David Beckham.

8. Gordon Strachan – (1984-89 – 38 Goals) One of Scotland’s greatest ever players played for United in the years just before Fergie arrived and then suffered through the early years of Fergie’s tenure as his form Struggled under the Boss. Before Ferguson arrived however, Strachan was outstanding for a few seasons and led the club to it’s 1985 FA Cup final victory vs Everton and was known to generally run the midfield and dictate pace and tempo along with Bryan Robson. Known for his quickness and lighting speed both with and without the ball, the red headed Scot was an energetic and passionate competitor who often dominated defenders on the right side of the pitch. Unfortunately his form did take a turn for the worse when fellow Scot Sir Alex took over and the two just never really got along. Eventually he was shipped off to Leeds in 1989 and the following year he won FWA Footballer of the Year with them. Perhaps Strachan is one of those cases of a great player that just did not fit in well with Fergie’s way of doing things. A shame really. He is on this list not because of his career numbers for both club and country but for the few seasons I saw him play and perform outstandingly before his decline with club began.

7. Willie Morgan – (1968-75 – 34 Goals) Another passionate Scot enters my list at #7. Willie was and excellent right sided midfielder/winger who played a total of 296 matches for United, a long tenure indeed. Showed up at the height of United’s success under Sir Matt Busby in 1968 as a replacement for John Connelly, who he had coincidentally replaced before his United career while with Burnley. Willie was a lightning quick right midfielder who was known for his darting runs and had a surprisingly fierce shot as well. Unfortunately for him, he got his real chance to start and contribute for the team after Sir Matt retired and the club began its quick and terrible decline, which eventually led to relegation in 1974. But thanks to Willie and others efforts, that only latest for a season and his skill and ability to outpace defenders and deliver accurate crosses elevated United back into the first division. Like Strachan, Willie is a legend amongst Scots having won over 50 caps for his country as well as having participated in their disappointing but undefeated run in the 1974 World Cup. Willie showed up at United around the time I started being a fan of the club and although I never got many chances to watch him play, I must say that he knocked my socks off the few times I did get to watch him. A great dribbler and like I mentioned before, a fierce and accurate shot which makes me wonder why he never scored more goals for us? Like most players, he was to be followed by another great at the position Steve Coppell, which led to his departure in 1975. Still he remains a loved and respected player for having left it all on the pitch every time he played. A true red.

6. Nani – (2007 – Present – 31 Goals) What can I say about the little man that our own CraigMC has not already offered up for us to enjoy on this blog? Quite frankly one of the most talented, exciting, energetic and yes, frustrating players to ever wear the United colors. Too many of us Luis Carlos Almeida da Cunha is a star on the rise and potential world class talent. To others he is a frustrating often selfish and overly emotional player who has not harnessed his vast potential and combined it with maturity to help him reach the promise land. To his critics I say BAH! My opinion is that Nani is a gifted athlete with great finesse and imagination and to have him become a more controlled and more selfless player would rob us all of the riches he brings to the team. A fantastic dribbler with excellent speed vision and passing ability, Nani offers us up a primer on old school wing play but with the ability to cut in and score goals while possessing a strong right foot as well as a strong left one to boot. It took him a while to find himself and yes he was a a frustrating player to watch in his first few years but these days I personally cannot stomach a starting eleven without him manning the right side or even the left. Versatility and talent are great things to have and the future is bright for young Nani. He already has scored over 30 times for the club but his value comes in giving us width and providing service as one of the best assist men in all of world football. A strong passer and often lethal crosser Nani has helped us deal with the pain of losing both David Beckham and especially Cristiano Ronaldo as he offers up a bit of both players in his large repertoire of skills. I for one know we haven’t seen anything yet. The future has much to offer when it comes to Nani.

5. Steve Coppell – (1975-83 – 70 Goals) One of my personal favorites from yesterday past, Stevie Coppell was a great right sided player who for me ticked all the boxes. He could score goals, deliver a Beckhamesque cross, dribble around somebody like Best and conjure up chances out of nothing like Nani. Coppel was the right midfielder for the club when I really got involved as a die hard United follower in the mid 70′s. I have very fond memories of his performance in the 1977 FA Cup final where United stole the Treble from League and soon to be European Champions Liverpool. He was famous for his incisive play blinding speed and work rate. Too bad he didn’t play as well the year before when Tommy Docherty’s young and exciting United team lost to Southampton in the 1976 FA Cup Final. Still, Coppel was to have a profound influence on the club for many seasons which helped him reach heights as a player and also allow him to play for his country where he was capped 42 times. I always loved his dribbling and his incisive runs which always seemed to culminate into a good chance on goal. Although he scored a few goals, it was his crossing and dribbling that stood out most and his ability to track back and compliment both ends of the field. United never won any league championships while he was there but on many occasions they came close and were always a threat both in the league and in the FA Cup competition. Work ethic is what I remember most about Stevie and his desire was second to none. Nine season of superb service to the club cannot be overlooked. 396 matches and 70 goals tells me he was a United legend at a time when success was not a given.

4. Duncan Edwards – (1952-58 – 21 Goals) Now this selection may be a bit controversial, not because of the quality of the player as Dunc was a god and a legend, but did he really play as a right sided midfield player? The answer is yes. Back then the role of midfielder was referred to as a halfback. In most formations you had three halfbacks. A center half two wing-halfs. Duncan Edwards was known mostly for being a defensive midfielder but he manned the right wing half of the pitch more often than not and so I feel he deserves to be mentioned as a right sided player. I guess these days he could also be known as a RDMF or right defensive midfielder. The legend of Duncan Edwards of course is a sad and tragic one as he was one of the the fallen heroes of the Munich air disaster. But lets not sulk and instead focus on his great but shortened career with Man United. To read or be told about Edwards, one would think you were learning about a player equal to Pele or Maradona in skill and style. One of the original Busby Babes Dunc was the youngest player to play in the Football League when he made his debut in 1952. During his short five year career with United he led them to two league championships and the semi-finals of the European Cup. So great was his dominance, presence and skill on the ball while his passing was sublime and on occasion he could let one rip with his lethal right foot. His injection of youth and

Skill were instant hits and it was not long before he was called up to play for England. He was so highly regarded that many were expecting him to eventually be England captain. Duncan Edwards was one of those United legends that was unfortunately before my time. All I know of him comes from articles or books but I have yet to read a negative piece on his abilities or about his character as a man. He was a world class player who would have really found true greatness for his playing ability had his life not been cut short by the air tragedy. To listen to Bobby Charlton refer to Dunc, you would think he was speaking of a god. I for one feel cheated for not having seen him play. Blessed are those who saw him play and even played alongside the great man. Cursed are those who had to play against him.

3. David Beckham – (1992-2003 – 85 Goals) It’s no secret on Red Rants that one of my all time favorite players in world football, yet alone Manchester United has been and still is David Beckham. I’ve never been one for his tattoos, ridiculous haircuts, spicy marriage, flamboyant lifestyle or celebrity status but as a footballer on the pitch for United and England, I absolutely loved Becks.

For me the single finest crosser of the ball I have ever seen and he is in my top twenty all time free kick takers as well. 394 appearances for United and 115 caps for England says just how valuable and great he was. Not blessed with great speed but full of vision, cunning and a lethal right foot it did not take Beckham long to make his mark once he made his debut with the United first team. As a right sided midfielder he asserted himself almost immediately once he was given his first team chance.

Unlike his predecessor Kanchelskis who was more of a winger, Beckham fit Fergie’s 4-4-2 formation as a midfielder and he owned that position from 1994 on. What followed were 8 more incredible years where he was twice runner up for the World Footballer of the Year award. Along with other “Fergie Fledglings” like Paul Scholes, Gary and Phil Neville as well as Nicky Butt he helped transform United into the world powerhouse they are today. We are all very familiar with Beckham and his years with United so I won’t go on other than to say that he was truly a great player albeit very controversial. His sending off in the 1998 Wold Cup vs Argentina and then his heroic goal in 2002 over Greece are testament to his many ups and downs. I’d like of course to mention my favorite moments form his United career. For United there are such grand memories like his goal vs Wimbledon (pictured), which came from the half way line, or his big goal in the 1999 epic FA Cup Semi-final replay vs Arsenal. Or how about his two crosses that led to two goals in the last moments of the 1999 European final. His countless number of brilliant crosses to Cantona, Vaan Nistelrooy, Solksjaer etc and his great free kicks are too numerous to mention. My highlight moment however was the two goals he scored coming off the bench mad and pissed off to help United come from behind to win the home leg vs Real Madrid in 2003. We lost that tie and it was really his swan song with the club as he was on the way out after the infamous boot kicking incident involving him and his manager Fergie.

It’s a shame that after all he brought and did tor the club, that his manager had insecurities over his dedication and lifestyle. So he was off to Real Madrid but not before he left an undeniable mark with the club as well as a rich legacy of greatness and silverware. He will always be fondly remembered for his skills and for being a key component for the Treble winning 98/99 team. He had his critics but for me he was a true great with a truly magical right leg.

2. George Best – (1963-74 – 179 Goals) For many “Georgie” Best was not just the best right sided midifelder in United history, he may go down as United’s greatest ever player and a top ten selection of all time great player in world football history. So why does he make it to only second on my list of right sided midfielders/wingers? Three reasons really. First I feel he robbed us and himself of a much longer and richer career with the club because of his lifestyle and drinking. Secondly, He really split his time playing both on the left and right sides donning the #7 jersey on the right side and the #11 on the left, which is a factor I have to take into consideration. Finally, the player who finishes ahead of him on my list is not just better but for me is already a god who has exceeded Bestie stature, but he hasn’t even reached his prime yet. This however, must not take away from the greatness that was George Best.

Best is almost the best and frankly, I really struggled with the urge to place him number one. Just before my time but fortunately enough video exists to allow many of us to go back and see just how great this legend from Northern Ireland was. One part of the golden triad of Best, Charlton and Law, he played 470 times for the club while scoring an astonishing 179 goals as a winger. His skill on the ball was more than sublime, it was simply intoxicating as it seemed the ball was attached to his feet by a tether as he very rarely ever lost possession. Incredible quickness, dribbling skills and one touch ability he also had a fine shot with both feet while also utilizing dazzling finesse skills like chips and lobs that made defenses and especially opponent managers and goalkeepers cringe in fear.

From the numerous videos I have watched of Best the thing that I found most impressive was the simplicity and ease of his deceptiveness. No cheeky step overs or cheeky low percentage attempts to beat a defender. He just simply knew how to feint and then used his touch and quickness to get by before a defender had a chance to blink. Then there were his sublime passes and crosses and his creativeness. I also noticed how great he managed to maintain these skills in big games and in terrible weather or pitch conditions, heavy wet balls and terrible footwear of the time. Today’s players never have to endure those types of conditions which would and should curtail a players performance. Best was simply a man amongst boys when he played and was recently named by FIFA as the 19th best player of all time in their list of top 100 just behind the German great Gerd Muller. Personally, FIFA have collective crap for brains as I truly believe both he and Muller belong in the top 10 of all time. It’s unfortunate that the latter days of his United career were marred by controversy, drinking and a lack of professionalism. Lets face it, George had issues which eventually led to his life being cut relatively short. But let us not forget 1968 European final where his goal early in extra time led the way over Benfica and the hundreds of other world class performances that defined this man as perhaps the greatest player to ever wear United colors. I have no problem whatsoever if many of you feel he belongs in the number one slot. He was that good and he is greatly missed.

 

1. Cristiano Ronaldo – (2003-09 – 118 Goals)

Quite simply the best, better than all the rest (Sorry I could not resist the song reference). With all due respect to Mr. Best. Perhaps the most exciting player I have ever watched in my lifetime with more raw skill in his big right toe than most players have in their entire bodies. Yes I know he is not everyone’s cup of tea and the manner of his departure form the club has left people cold or bitter towards him but I am not one of those people. Instead I focus on six exceptional seasons with the club where he achieved every mark and award available to him as a player and led the club to three league titles, the Carling Cup, the FA Cup and most importantly, the European Cup in which he scored a goal. Let us for a minute forget about the ego, irritating personality and diving diva act and lets instead concentrate on the player and his skills.

For me he revolutionized the winger position with his ability to cut in and score goals almost at will. 118 goals for us in 292 matches for the club is impressive indeed but lets also not forget the wide array of skills he offered up as well. If one was to ask for an example that defined a prototype six tool player (passing, shooting, dribbling, size, speed and aerial ability), then you have to go no further than Cristiano Ronaldo. Not even Messi can say he owns all six tools in his repertoire as his aerial ability is only average at best and his physicality or size leaves him susceptible. Ronaldo possesses all of those attributes and his intelligence on the ball coupled with his hunger and desire to win and be number one lifts him to the heights for both club and country.

His debut for United as a 17 year old was something magical for me to behold at least. I remember commenting to a friend who was watching the game with me that I thought that he would one day be the best player in the world. Such a profound mark was left on me from his initial debut as a substitute and I am so pleased today to see that he never let my intuition or judgment of talent down. We all know what he achieved with the club. His 42 goals in our Double winning season of 2007/08 was incredible to watch no just for the total goal haul, but for the quality of some of those strikes. That free kick vs Blackburn is one I will never forget as is the free kick from 40 yards out vs Arsenal in the Champions League semi-final second leg at the Emirates. His pace, emotion and sheer will to win was not under appreciated by me, that’s for sure.

And yet as great as his season was, it pales in comparison to his accomplishments last season with Real Madrid where he netted over 50 goals in all competitions. He is just getting better and better and the sky is the limit. Only Lio Messi stands in his way as their personal and team rivalries have become epic stuff in Spain. But I choose to remember Ronny with great warmth and appreciation. I loved this player because frankly, he thrilled me to know end with his flair, skill and finishing skill all culminating with a Cantonesque arrogance and a wink to the camera. So many players have flair and skill but very few have ever been able to back it all up with clinical and lethal finishing of the highest order. The man is simply a physical specimen and a goal machine.

Why does he place above the great Georgie Best? Because (thanks to modern tv) I saw nearly every game he played in a United kit and because I truly believe that by the time he finishes playing, he will not be named in the top 20 players of all time by FIFA, but in the top 5. He was and always will be a special player in my heart and I for one can’t thank him enough for what he did for this club during his stay. Perhaps as he has often hinted, he will one day bless us all and return for a second engagement with United. He is after all, one of Fergie’s all time favorites and greatest signings. But I highly doubt he will return to us based on our present ownership and the number of years Fergie has left at the helm. But I can fantasize now can’t I?

Well there you have it. It was along one but how do you condense writing about true greatness. United are truly a blessed team historically to have had so many world class players and as for the right side of midfield, we were rarely ever short on class. If I missed anyone, please offer up your lists as well. Everyone’s opinions and taste are very welcome.

Grognard


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Tags: All Time Best XI Series

51 Responses to “All Time Best XI Series: Right Midfield / Right Wing”

  • I was never lucky enough to witness George Best during his hey-days, but thankfully I got to watch Cristiano Ronaldo in the red shirt of Manchester United. Probably the best footballer I have ever seen, and a human machine. Strong, quick, agile, powerful shot, good vision, good in the air, skilful… Simply put: A beast of a man! I doubt we will ever see another like him, and a true testamony to what this club is about. Producing the best players, and on this occasion I really mean the BEST! Viva Ronaldo!

  • Man, if Hargreaves goes on a great run at City, it would really break my heart. Used to love the Curly haired one. I just saw the goal but not hte game. How was his movement and play in general for that 1 hour he was on??

    Its amazing how Fergie takes a punt on Owen for 2 years and after being so patient with Hargo, does not take up the offer of having him play for free or at lower wages for another year!!! Hard to understand!!!

    • If, and it’s a fairly big if, Hargreaves goes on to have a successful remainder to his career (define successful – plays 25 games per season at top level I guess, maybe gets back in England team), then I’d consider it to be SAF’s biggest ever blunder.

      You mention patience and that’s what makes it so unbelievable he didn’t keep him on if he was fit. The lad played 5 times more football last night for City than he did for us in 2 years!

      To nurse a player back to fitness but actually misjudge his fitness and allow him to leave for free, might prove to be a proper rick.

      There’s a little sub plot to this though. I heard Hargreaves’ insurance actually paid more to United while he was injured than they paid to Hargreaves. Anyone know if that’s true or not? Anyone else heard that?

      If it is true, it makes even less sense.

      :?: :-?

      • The insurance part would make it look even more stupid !! The insurance company woudl definitely extend it and hargreaves could be playing for free or like mickey on 20-30K for an year.

        I would say even if he plays 25 games as an impact player for 30-40 mins it would still worth it for a player of his class!

        People talk about Pogba but i saw the second half and he is still very very raw, at least 2 years away from a good product

      • I love Hargo and have always been a big fan of his way back to his beginning at Bayern but as much as I hoped and wished for his recovery and return to the club, even I got frustrated and bloody well fed up because what I saw from the lad was fear of being injured, not injuries holding him back. Afte rhe recovered early last season, he was very reluctant to give it a go for fear the injuries would return to his knees. I know the feeling of this having suffered severe elbow tendinitis in my teens while I was playing quarterback in high school football. You become tentative and overly cautious and this was evident to Fergie and a real concern over whether the lad would be able to get over this mental wall he had built for himself.

        My point is simple, although I rag on Fergie a lot for what I see as mistakes or miscalculations, I am not bitter or upset over his decision to let Hargo go. After a while a team and a manager have to assess the situation and cut their losses. Yes it was a mistake, no doubt about it but hindsight is 20/20 and at the time Fergie didn’t have the facts or info on the player’s fitness that he has now. SOmetimes you win and sometimes you lose and unfortunately, Hargo will go down as one of the greatest what ifs in United history. I wish the lad well except against us and I hope he can regain his greatness and possibly even help England if Capello can open his eyes enough to see what he could offer. As for us, well boo hoo hoo, we are really suffering aren’t we. The beat goes on with United and players come and go and we just keep on winning. Thank God for that.

  • Quite often nostalgia and the stubborn belief that the past is better than the present always has us dismiss modern day footballers when compared to past greats. Ronaldo is not, I repeat is not yet appreciated by the masses but one day after he has long retired people will look back to their DVD or VCR players and conjure up memories of this truly great player and incredible athlete.

    All my life I have been accused of living in the past and always picking the older player, actor, singer etc over the new one. That does not hold with Ronaldo however. Although I stop short of calling him the best player of all time (I’m not that daft), I do believe he is the best Right midfielder or Right winger of all time. He was very even with Best and the only reason he got the nod was ability to deliver penalties and free kicks as well as his goals and assists in open play. Now if I was to add his few seasons at Real Madrid in a straight comparison over Best, I’m afraid he would win by a landslide even though he hardly resembles a right sided player with Madrid literally being all over the front line. Simply put, Ronaldo is fabulous and only getting better. By this time in his career Best was on a steady decline into booze and drugs and basically throwing his life and career away. And for me that will always be one of the great tragedies in modern sports history. There is nothing worse than wasting your immense gifts away carelessly.

  • Great selection Grog.. could not argue with any player or raking on the list personally.. would loved to have watched Steve Coppell and Duncan Edwards play.. but i guess it compensates having watched almost every game Beckham and Ronaldo played for United (albeit on the telly)!
    BTW did u forget the Ronaldo FK against Portsmouth?

    • I was lucky to see a fair amount of Steve Coppell and I loved him but truthfully, we have been so incredibly blessed over the past 15 years having been witness to the greatness of Beckham, Ronaldo and now Nani and Valencia. And there is a fair amount of video out there for sale and for free that show Coppell and George Best too. What a blessed club we support eh?

  • Before we get over excited about Hargreaves aka Judas, lets jus t see if he can complete 5 games without getting injured.

    • Thank you, I cant believe(well actually yeah I can)after one carling cup game the press are talking about a england call up. I was just thinking the other day that Englands youth movement was looking pretty promising. I mean look at the youngsters coming through Hart,Jones,Smalling,Wilshire,Cleverly, A.Johnson, A.Young, welbeck, Sturridge. To me that is a very talented group of youngsters. But after the midweek casrling cup games I am hearing shouts about both Owens.Its time to let go of the so called “Golden Generation” they were rubbish when they were all in their prime, so why would they be good when they are getting older and older?

      I promise you, I was thinking about the England team last week and I was getting nervous because it looked they were finally starting to figure out the problem wasnt the coaches, it was that the press have a habit of massively overrating the stars. But this week have calmed my fears, the best players wont play just the ones that are the most hyped and play for a top 4 club. rant over

      • Totally agree England need to ditch the so called “golden” generation which won nothing and move on.

        Hart
        Richards
        Smalling
        Jones
        A Cole/Gibbs

        Wilshere
        Rodwell
        Cleverley
        Johnson/Walcott
        Young

        Rooney.

        For me this should be the side we start and stick with.

  • Ronaldo No.1? No way…Im shocked.

  • Moscow is my heaven

    Actually, I refuse to have Ronaldo as one of our greatest players because he thought there was something bigger than United. So he can respectfully fuck off.

    We have Nani now, who has all the talent in the world, always did, but he has learnt the United way through the hard way. He has never had the protection from Fergie and the fans as Ronaldo certainly did (boy, even when Ronaldo left he was glorified), and from that hardship and injustice emerged a new-found humility and team spirit which fills me with pride. Let them have it Nani mi man :twisted:

    And hopefully, unlike a certain arrogant knucklehead, he can see that his best years are better spent in a true footballing institution like Old Trafford, than in a circus which will slowly betray his mind and character.

    Real Madrid is a truly colossal evil, eclipsed only by FC Barcelona :-x

    • Ronaldo was and is a great player. He is not a United legend like Best, simply because he always professed his love for Real. And could not wait to leave, oh and he “referred” that he was a slave because he wasn’t allowed to leave that alone should stop him being number one.

      • The difference between Best and Ronaldo unfortunately is Ronaldo chose another club over United while Best chose the bottle over United. To me it’s an equal betrayal.

        • Really? At least Best never kept confessing his love for another club. He went to play for the clubs he did so they would not effect United, Ronaldo signed for his boyhood club as he kept telling us.

  • I love how every Youtube video about the worst misses ever has the top rated comment as “Torres brought me here” :lol: :lol: :lol:

  • It’s official, I love Welbeck more than Chicharito and Rooney, hope he stays at this club for a long time.

    • Is he better than Sparky and Ruud? :lol: :lol:

    • I agree with a previous comment you made about Welbeck, He is the perfect partner for Rooney because of how versatile he is. This year really opened my eyes, to how limited some of our players are. Im mostly thinking about the older guys(Carrick, Fletcher, Owen, Chicha to a lesser extent, Valencia.) All these guys can only play one way and basically one position. Which in my eyes makes us too rigid and predictable. Welbeck and rooney have no problem coming back into midfield and getting involved in play. CB constantly have to worry about their position, where as Owen and Chicha are pretty much the same place everytime, the last defenders shoulder. Sure they are great poachers and finishers, but when they play the Midfield some times struggles to get them the ball.

      Then take Young and Nani, both can play anywhere in attack. Left right and center, they are a nightmare to mark because their movement is so unpredictable for the defense. Where as Valencia(Hes still my boy) is always going to be hugging the right sideline whipping in crosses. He is effective, but again its pretty predictable.

      Ando and Cleverly are both capable of dropping back and providing defensive cover for each other when they make runs into the box. There is no clearly defined defensive player or attacking player, they can do both. Compare that to carrick, who can only play a holding role and the defense isnt even worried when he touch the ball. Yeah he is good at retaining possession, but I think the bibles “parable of the talents” sums him up nicely. Carrick would be the servant who instead of investing his money like the other two servants, buried his money in the ground for fear he would lose it.

      Fletcher atleast tries hard, but in my eyes he doesnt possess the skill to play like cleverly and ando. He is simply a destroyer who does a great job of breaking up the oppositions attack, but he offers very little going forward.

      When we start Rooney, Welbeck, Young,Nani,Ando and cleverly the defense doesnt know what the hell to do. They think they have everything under control and then one of the mids arrives late at the edge of the box and now all of a sudden they have a new man to mark. Or when smalling and jones makes their runs from defence, the other teams dont know what to do. Sure we concede a lot of goals and shots on target(I heard a stat on Football weekly saying De gea has been bombarded compared to what EVDS faced.) but we also inflict a lot of goals as well.

      Im a big fan of the fluid football we are playing now and I would rather not see last years effective but boring brand of football(which we got a reminder of at Benfica.)

      • I can’t for the life of me see why anyone would slect Welbeck ahead of Hernandez. Chicharito is one of the best finishers in the World and will only get better. His movement and pace work well with Rooney, who likes to drop off and slide rule passes through to him. Welbeck is at best eractic and best still learning the game. Personally it is a no brainer with the little Mexican and blood Welbeck in slowly as he clearly has a lot to learn.

        • I just told you why I would select Welbeck over chicha. You might not agree with me, but you should atleast see why I think that.

          Yeah, I still feel that Chicha should be rooneys first choice partner but only when we have a dynamic midfield. If we have fletcher and carrick in the midfield chicha might as well sit down in the center circle and pick daisy’s.

      • I’ve pretty much analyzed every game United have played this season, from the Charity Shield match to the Chelsea fixture. Thanks to Piratebay I’m able to download each match, and I’ve watched each game at least twice! If any of you guys ask me, Danny and Cleverley have been the key to our succesful campaign so far. Cleverley I’ve always been a fan of, ever since I watched him score that goal against Kaizer Chiefs back in 2008 I’ve followed his every step. He is for me the perfect midfielder, at least offensivly. He reminds me a lot of Iniesta in the way he plays, but with a much more direct and ruggid style of play. His passing range is also very impressive, he’s got the Beckham-type long range pass which kinda curls downwards when it hits to down, so the ball loses it’s momentum, making him an exellent through ball passer. If you guys don’t get what kind of pass I mean, watch his ball to Young which won us our first free kick which Rooney scored from. Young would have been through on goal if not for Jenkinsons foul, which should have been a red card by the way, and had that ball been hit by any other player I can guarantee you that it would have continued straight into the hands of Schezny. But when it hits the ground the ball kinda rolls backwards, which I’ve only ever seen Becks do before!! The lad is special, and his movement all around the pitch along with him being a real engine impresses me A LOT!

        But when it comes to Danny, I gotta say watching the games we have played this season I’ll actually name him as a reason as to why our play against City, Spurs and Arsenal was so fucking dominant! I’ve analyzed his movement, and it’s fucking top notch. Against City he opened up room for Nani to score his first goal, dragging Lescott with him out to the left back position so the whole box was open for Nani to expose. Despite City leading 2-0 at half time, I still felt we were the better side. Although we only had Carrick and Ando in midfield against their Milner, Toure and De Jong(I think, could have been Barry), both Rooney and Welbeck dropped down an incredible lot almost making it 4 against 3 in our favour! Both are typical centre forwards, not strikers, and Welbeck’s flair, one-touch passing and body strength makes him a perfect partner for Rooney. His pace also impresses me, for a tall guy he really is quick and agile! He also helped out Rooney for his goal against West Brom, where he made a run forcing the left centre back wide, opening up space for Rooney to shoot. Then against Spurs, we all saw how well he did. His vision, heading ability and arrogance, if you’ll call it that, is typical for a proper Manchester United player. Then against Arsenal he forced his way through for our first goal, and could have had 4 goals during his 30 minutes on the pitch! Besides his goal, he was through on goal twice, once shooting wide under pressure and on the second chance he fooled Djourou then to square it to Young who could have had a penalty for a foul by Couqlain. His fourth chance came from a Rooney cross, where his movement has Hernandez-esque, just how he scored his first against Bolton. First pulling to the right, then the left, then back to the right, before Rooney crossed to the far post and he headed just wide. Had the cross been a little more accurate he would have scored.

        His movement is incredible for a young forward. Although Hernandez gets praise for his movement, it’s very much like Ruud and “selfish”, by means that his movement opens up space for himself, and himself only. Whereas Welbeck opens up space for everybody, just the way Rooney does, giving our midfielders and wingers more time on the ball, as well as our playing style becoming more fluid. His work rate is impressive, and very often he has those Berba-type flicks. I was a critic of him before, didn’t really like the guy, but because he was a Manc I decided to be patient as he could be the first striker this club had brought through since Hughes. Well, after his showings this season I’ve really taken a liking to him, and I think he should be a starter for us. He is the perfect partner for Rooney! I thought we were good against Bolton, and decent against Chelsea, but practically all our play those games came through the wings! With Welbeck and Clev in the team, we had such a variety and scored goals where we just passed us through teams, something we haven’t done since…. Well, it’s so long ago I can’t remember!! Nani’s goal against City, Anderson’s against Spurs, countless chances created against Arsenal came from our players opening up an immense room in the middle and exposing it. I give a lot of credit for that to Welbeck, and I want to see more of it!

  • @Jaywire Why do you insist on being a international man of history? Ive noticed you dodged this question a few times about where your from. Why is that? even in your redrants Bio the best you would do is say your from “Africa”? Everyone else said what city they are from, and you say what continent your from.Can we atleast get a region? Its funny too because this whole time I was sure you were S. American(with Argentina being my hunch).

    Dont worry I’m not going to hunt you down and beat the carrick love out of you, Its just nice to know where everyone on here is coming from.

    • We have a redrants bio?

      • Says Jay Wire’s favorite player is Dimitar Berbatov, and Ian Rimmer’s is Michael Carrick…. Wow, anyone able to guess who mine is? :lol:

        • That WILL change this year, I promise!

          BTW, Carrick was the most gifted forward passer in the Prem when he played for Spurs and I was chuffed he signed for us. Unfortunately I think SAF has abused him and his head went about 2-3 years ago. He doesn’t know wether he should pass it forwards, backwards, sideways, quickly, put his foot on it, close men down or setup for an interception……the lad’s the most confused player we’ve ever had at the club.

          I actually feel sorry for him because his development stagnated at United imo, and there’s not many players you can say that about.

          I also wrote it at the time when Mr Rooney was pissing up bin’s in town, shaggin money hungry little clingons and shamefully holding my beloved club to ransom….so he was out.

          Rio Ferdinand is a machine physically and defensively but boy is he a twat on Twitter, therefore I couldn’t choose him! Vidic, made to look average at best by Torres…..twice, so it couldn’t be him. Scholes not in team too much and Giggs hasn’t bothered to train that right foot in 20 years of playing for the club…..to me that’s scandalous!

          My favourite players are always CMs and we all know there’s a distinct lack of a great standout player in that dept so it was Carrick who got the nod on that particular day.

          Not that anyone wanted to know this useless piece of info but there it is anyway.

          The Scope is 10 minutes away btw……..

        • Yes Eddi your fave player is Louis NANI – now and always! :lol:

  • tonymontanna4united

    Great read, as always groggy. Your right, its amazing looking at these lists and seeing just how many utterly brilliant players weve been blessed with down the years. I mean, coppell, kanchelskis, edwards, becks, nani, ronnie, bestie. Amazing players.
    Scary thing is a few of these players records could have been even better an all. Charlie mitten missing 10 years of football due to the war, coppell retiring from an injury (whilst with bloody england an all) at the age of 28 that robbed him of a good 5 years plus, bestie unfortunately like many an irishman before him, couldnt overcome the drink, yet is still one of the greatest players the world has ever seen. Big dunc losing his life in tragic circumstances, becks falling out with fergie due to his fixation in becoming a celebrity rather than a footballer.
    Still, legends the lot of them, most of whom ive seen a fair bit of footage of (becks, ronaldo and nani i was lucky enough to watch in the flesh many a time). Such a shame theres very little of duncan edwards, as i would have loved to see how good a player he is, but i know from talks with relatives, they still believe to this day, he was the greatest young player theyve ever seen. Bestie apparently coming a close 2nd.
    I suppose picking a winner between best and ronaldo is a tough one and always going to divide opinion. Both great players from different eras. I wouldnt like to call that one. Maybe had best not pissed his career away, we wouldnt even be debating it. Afterall were talking about a player here who retired at about the age ronaldo is now. Had he stayed on and enjoyed another 5/6 years with us, we might not even be having this conversation.
    But i suppose we’ll never know. Weve been blessed at the end of the day to be able to count both, as united legends who have provided us with so many wonderful memories and beautiful moments of magic. Players who dont come along very often, legends the lot of them.

  • http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2011/sep/22/owen-hargreaves-manchester-united-injury

    Considering all that United did to try to get him back to fitness, to stick with him until it was decided that the best option for both was to part ways (and it was), he could have just kept his mouth shut and continued on as he is, not try to act bitter when his brittleness of body and mind was the principal issue.

    Sure, United may not have gotten their treatments right, but considering how much didn’t work, I don’t see any issues with taking some potential risks, to a certain extent. And he can’t act like he was an innocent victim here – if he didn’t see where something was right, if he didn’t feel comfortable with something, he had every right to speak up then. They’d have found another course of action. From what it seems, they exhausted every possible route, from letting him try to work himself back to fitness, to the injections, to other treatments, to sending him to some of the best doctors in the business. What more can you do? It seemed like every time he was on the verge of a return, something else would get injured.

    And there are two sides to every story, that’s all that needs to be said about that. I doubt they misled or lied to him, or pushed him to do something he didn’t want to do or couldn’t do, or intentionally put his career at risk…what would they have to gain from doing so? In the end, it was the best decision for him to get a fresh start. Perhaps it was the boost he needed to get over that mental hump. If so, good for him.

    But I’d still be annoyed about him coming off as bitter and ungrateful no matter who he signed for, whether it was Manchester City or Mansfield. He’s doing well now, he should be happy about that. Look forward, not backward. United certainly are, and so should he.

    • The fact is we really do not know what the hell went on between doctors, coaches and Hargo and who is wrong and who is right. Let him be bitter, he has earned that right. After all, he didn’t want to leave the club, instead he was shown the door. I would be pissed to if that happened to me.

  • Fragile Mr. Hargreaves is just desperate to get back to the England squad (he said he was fit for england recall even thought he played no part in the season albeit a 4 minutes cameo – and we know how much SAF prefers his players to value club over country).

    City are using him to spin stories about our club and how we mistreat players and how they are a better club – (brand marketing) (we’ll never know if Hargreaves was pumped full of medicine to last 55 minutes – so he could feature for the bitters) and Hargreaves is simply trying to get Capello’s attention (self marketing) – remember his fitness video?

    For me, I won’t give a damn about them and the outbursts to the media. I believe karma would bite their bottoms later. Cleverley takes Hargreaves’ much craved midfield spot in England for Euro 2012 & the bitters have their just reward – Tevez is an example. He was used as a tool against us and look what happened after that.

    If only Hargreaves kept away from the media – he could’ve written a book on his struggle to get back to fitness and back into football -which could be inspirational for all. Now he’s simply – crass.

  • Best not the best?

    You are a disgrace. Sorry for this but here are the reasons why Ronaldo can’t be compared to a legend like Best.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ixxt3nVORVs

    It’s called diving.

    • I’m a disgrace? Easy mate, I think you are acting a little too much like a tit and taking things a bit too seriously. I was offering my opinion so that you could agree or disagree, not insult me for something so trivial and unimportant in the bigger scheme of things. I suggest you grow up. :roll: :roll:

      • @Grognard……he said it….then immediately apologised…..he obviously just feels strongly about it……I’m sure there was no malice intended.

        Does it sound familiar in reverse? lol

        Chill

        :lol: :mrgreen:

        • No it doesn’t. He was out of line and sounds like an idiot because he obviously selects passages of my writing that suit his argument while conveniently flushing the other stuff that defends my position down the toilet to serve his purpose. I don’t need that kind of crap. And I read an apology way to late to keep my wrath from overflowing. I’m so sick and tired of one dimensional sycophantic idiots who have no sense of perspective or appreciation towards any player that played for us but left either by their own hand or Fergies. It’s so fucking childish mate, and I’m 52 years old, well past arguing with bloody children.

        • No it doesn’t. Just because he apologized doesn’t give him license to rubbish somebody else’s thoughts and feelings like that. He was disrespectful to the piece and to my efforts simply out of his own bias. He is more than welcome to make his own damned list for all I care. He could place Ronaldo dead last and I wouldn’t attack him in that manner because I know it is his personal preference.

          He was out of line and sounds like an idiot because he obviously selects passages of my writing that suit his argument while conveniently flushing the other stuff that defends my position down the toilet to serve his purpose. I don’t need that kind of crap. And I read his apology way to late to keep my wrath from overflowing. I’m so sick and tired of one dimensional sycophantic idiots who have no sense of perspective or appreciation towards any player that played for us but left either by their own hand or Fergie’s. It’s so fucking childish mate, and I’m 52 years old, well past arguing with bloody children. Point is they all loved Ronaldo and Hargo when they played for us but now one is a diving cunt and the other is a curly haired cunt just because they went elsewhere. How bloody small minded can people get? And you wonder why ridiculous wars start over sand?

      • Well, you are not a disgrace ofcourse -I’m just angry- but … hm … we call it flip-man in Greece.

        What I mean : You say “players like Messi and Busquets dive and they are greedy, so you hate them” … In the other hand you love Ronaldo and you say “Let us for a minute forget about the ego, irritating personality and DIVING DIVA ACT” .

        WHY ? WHY THE HELL WOULD YOU EVER LET IT GO? He is a diver and a greedy player wether he beats you or he is one of your guys.
        Ronaldo’s attitude is not MU quality.

        And a flip-man (a man who judges things by different criteria, a man who says something and then takes it back to favor his opinion) … is not MU quality. I’m sorry to say this, but neither your attitude nor CR’s attitude is MU quality.

        • I can feel a row brewing :(

        • *

          “players like Messi and Busquets dive and they are greedy, so you hate them” —–correction—–> “players like Messi and Busquets dive and they are greedy, so ? hate them”

        • I’m not even going to justify this nonsense. I speak my mind and I stand by what I said. Yes Ronaldo is a diver but he also gave this club six sensational years in which none of you ever gave a fuck about his dives until he up and left you for another. And you call me a flip-man. Piss off! :-x :roll:

        • Of course I did. Never cared if he was in the starting eleven or not. Really don’t care.

  • Nice article groog.

    Wished you talked a bit about the lesser publicesed parts of Beckham’s game though:
    His incredible stamina (fittest player at the club, ahed of Keane even)
    His eye for a through ball, diverse array of passing (at his peak, he was scholes before scholes)
    His defensive rigor.

    Fact is any player who is best in the world in a single aspect of the game (for beckham it was crossing), may still not be world class.
    You have to have a good set of skills and have a solid all round game to be considered world class.
    That Beckham definitely was.

  • A really great article…well done.

    Unfortunately both Charlie Mitten and Duncan Edwards were left sided players and never played right midfield or right wing. Duncan often played up front but most commonly left half-back. Charlie was an out and out left winger.

    Others you could have include were Jimmy Delaney, Johnny Berry or even Billy Meredith.

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