Manchester United’s Ultimate 25-Man Premier League Squad


    Manchester United may have seen their dominance fade in recent years, but the Red Devils remain by far the most successful club there has been in the Premier League era.

    That amounts to 13 Premier League title, domestic cup success, two Champions League wins and at least three great teams assembled by Sir Alex Ferguson.

    But who makes it into United’s ultimate 25-man squad?


    Manchester United v Manchester City – Premier League

    Peter Schmeichel – The best goalkeeper in the world in the 1990s. A born winner who refused to accept second best from his teammate, the Dane also helped redefine the art of goalkeeping, even borrowing techniques from the sport of handball.

    Edwin van der Sar – Schmeichel’s eventual successor six long years after his 1999 departure. United’s capture of the 34-year-old from Fulham was expected to be a short-term solution, but he stayed until 2011 and enjoyed a trophy-laden Indian summer.

    David de Gea – Handed big gloves to fill to replace Van der Sar as an inexperienced 20-year-old and initially struggled. But by 2014, he was among the best goalkeepers in the world and has been Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year a record four times.


    Fulham v Manchester United – Premier League

    Rio Ferdinand – Worth every penny of the British record £30m fee United paid to sign him from Leeds. An eight-month suspension for a missed drugs test was a minor blip, but he soon went on to form one of the best centre-back partnerships in world football.

    Nemanja Vidic – A United captain from 2011 to 2014, the Serb was a little known prospect when he arrived from Spartak Moscow in January 2006. Within 18 months he was a Premier League champion and went on to be named in four PFA Teams of the Year.

    Gary Pallister – Another regular United representative of the PFA Team of Year, named in five of them during the 1990s. Crucial to the club’s early Premier League dominance and two domestic doubles. Also Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year in 1989/90 when he first arrived.

    Steve Bruce – Before Ferdinand and Vidic there was Bruce and Pallister. His mediocre Premier League managerial career has rather sadly overtaken his excellent playing career, given that it was now 24 years ago that he played his last game for United.

    Jaap Stam – Short and successful best describes the Dutchman’s Old Trafford career. Joined in the summer of 1998 for a brief club record fee in excess of £10m and was the defensive rock at the heart of the treble triumph. Sold suddenly in 2001 when injuries began to hit.


    Manchester United v Blackburn Rovers

    Denis Irwin – Unbelievably reliable and consistent throughout his Old Trafford career, and the only player Sir Alex Ferguson was sure would get into his best ever United XI. Could score free-kicks and was even designated penalty taker for a period in the late 1990s.

    Patrice Eva – Picked up in January 2006 for little more than £5m and went on to play 379 games for United over the next eight-and-a-half years. Became a firm fan favourite and even often captained the team in the latter half of his stay.

    Gary Neville – Not a naturally talented footballer – he would be the first to admit that – but a dedicated and intelligent one. Always among the first names on the teamsheet in the late 1990s and early 2000s, playing 602 games for United in total.

    Phil Neville – Could play on either the left or right, as well as later adapting to a defensive midfield role. His achievements tend to be a little overshadowed by his brother, yet he has six Premier League medals of his own and still played nearly 400 times for United.

    Central Midfield

    Manchester United v Burnley – Premier League

    Roy Keane – United’s captain from 1997 to 2005, without whom the treble would not have been possible. His leadership throughout that period was crucial to all the club’s success and he would famously not accept anything less than 100% at all times.

    Paul Scholes – Considered one of the most technically polished English footballers there has ever been. His career was an evolution, starting out as a forward, before transforming into a box-to-box goalscoring midfielder and later a deep-lying playmaker.

    Michael Carrick – 12 years at Old Trafford yielded 11 major trophies for the classy midfielder. Was at his very best during the 2012/13 campaign when United sealed a landmark 20th English league title, even beating Robin van Persie to Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year.

    Paul Pogba – Still yet to produce his consistent best in a United shirt, but there can be no doubting the Frenchman’s objective quality. It would be a real shame to see him leave the club a second time without fulfilling his potential because he has much more to give.


    Manchester United v Chelsea – UEFA Champions League Final

    Cristiano Ronaldo – United’s X-factor in the 2000s. He was already the best in the world during his time at Old Trafford, as shown by his 2008 Ballon d’Or, but the Portuguese is now among the very best to have ever played the sport.

    Ryan Giggs – 963 United appearances is a record that will never be broken, nor will anyone ever touch his Premier League record of 13 titles. Passengers didn’t last very long under Sir Alex Ferguson, which tells how good he was to play for 23 years.

    David Beckham – The ultimate proof that practice and dedication pays off. The former England captain was noted as an excellent trainer who stayed after sessions to hone his set-piece skills. There has been no better crosser of the ball in Premier League history.

    Nani – Undervalued during his United career because he wasn’t Ronaldo. What fans today would give for a wonderfully skilful game-changing winger. At his best when United won a record breaking 19th league title in 2011 and was even nominated for the Ballon d’Or that year.


    Manchester United v Liverpool – Premier League

    Eric Cantona – Credited as the catalyst that kicked off United’s Premier League dominance upon his arrival in 1992. Later took on a different role as club captain and mentor to emerging home-grown talent, and remains an Old Trafford favourite to this day.

    Wayne Rooney – United’s all-time leading goalscorer with 253 goals to his name in 13 years of service from 2004 to 2017. He won every trophy there was to win during that time, which included five Premier League titles, and finished his Old Trafford career as club captain.

    Andrew Cole – Only Rooney and Alan Shearer have ever scored more Premier League goals. Became the first player to score five goals in a single Premier League game within months of his club record arrival and won eight major trophies in all.

    Dwight Yorke – The final piece in the jigsaw as United won the treble in 1998/99. Scored 29 goals in his debut season and Gary Neville recently admitted the former Aston Villa front man quickly showed he was actually a much better player than his teammates realised.

    Ruud van Nistelrooy – Arguably doesn’t get the credit he deserves compared to United’s other great Premier League era strikers, perhaps because he won relatively little silverware in his five years with the club. But 150 goals in 219 appearances tells its own story.

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