OPINION: Fergie had at least ELEVEN world-class players at United
Of the many revelations that have accompanied the publication of Sir Alex Ferguson’s new book Leading, perhaps the most intriguing was that he considers only four of his players at United to have been “world class.” Those four players were Cantona, Giggs, Scholes and Ronaldo.
Cantona was undoubtedly a cult hero at United and supposedly led by example on the training ground, encouraging the young ‘Class of 92’ to work that much harder. Whilst I was a great fan of Cantona and what he did at United in the Premier League, personally I wouldn’t say he was world class, as he repeatedly failed for United in the Champions League and for France on the international stage.
As for Fergie’s other 3 choices? No arguments there! They were 3 incredibly gifted players that did it season after season, and of course Ronnie is still doing it, but unfortunately not in a red shirt.
So what about the players that didn’t make the cut? I believe there are at least 8 other players managed by Fergie who deserve the ‘world class’ accolade.
What can you say about Peter Schmeichel? He almost won the Euros single-handedly for Denmark, won United at least 12 points a season, and was a giant in the Champions League. It’s staggering that Fergie left the Great Dane out.
Van der Sar was another world class keeper, both for United and Holland. Remember the season when he went 1,311 minutes without conceding a goal and kept 21 clean sheets?
We paid a world record fee for a defender in Rio. If Fergie didn’t think he was a world class defender, why did he pay that fee? I believe Rio was one of the best central defenders in the world for a number of years, and 100% deserves to be mentioned alongside the likes of Giggs and Scholes.
Vidic, for me, was also a world class defender in his prime, and along with Rio he helped bring great success to the club in England and abroad.
Stam, signed from Holland by Fergie, was an equally outstanding central defender; easily one of the best in the world at one time.
And then there’s Dennis Irwin – if he’d been Brazilian rather than Irish, I’m sure he would have been regarded as ‘world class’ too.
Keane, despite his acrimonious exit and regular contentious comments in the media, was one of the all-time greatest players to pull on the United shirt, and I would question whether we could have won so much in the 90s without him. The treble in 99 would surely never have happened had Roy not been in that team.
And what about Bryan Robson? Again, I can’t quite believe that Fergie didn’t consider Robbo world class. In my books he was most definitely an elite player, and to perform the way he did for club and country after so many injuries is quintessential Captain Marvel.
I’m sure you won’t all agree with Fergie’s choices or with mine. You will notice I haven’t included the likes of Beckham or Rooney (in fact, I haven’t included any forwards at all). Whilst Becks, Wayne et al were excellent players, I don’t put them in the same bracket as those named above.
Let us know which of Fergie’s players you see as world class in the comments below…
5 thoughts on “OPINION: Fergie had at least ELEVEN world-class players at United”
Rooney – Just broke England goal scoring record and probably beat Bobby Charlton’s United tally. Led United front line after Ronaldo and guided United to three CL finals. He has done more than Robson, Keane and Cantona. Rooney has been the focal point of United for a decade and is now captain. If any of the above are deserving of the WC bracket surely Rooney is as well. The best ever player is possibly Ronaldo the most loyal Scholes and Giggs and possibly the most influential Cantona but Van Nistelrooy and Rooney are more talented than Cantona and Giggs and G.Neville and Keane more loyal than Ronaldo. Who’s better Busby or Ferguson?
Very valid points , keane was Fergie on the pitch for a number of years and United would not have won what they did in 90’s without Keane . Giggs at same time period was definitely a world class player and all top teams in Europe wanted to buy him but he wanted to stay at United . Rooney is a terrific player and has done a lot for United albeit threatened to leave twice if not paid ridiculous money , I still don’t think he’s world class , very good player but World Ckass , I don’t think so as even at his very best would he have got in Barca , Real , Bayern teams ? I was close to including Ruud and as an out and out striker he probably should be included . I don’t think can really compare Busby with Ferguson , different eras , different circumstances and same goes for comparing Rooney to Sir Bobby.
By the way for me Scholes was the most gifted English player to have played the game in past 25 years , World Class , absolutely and along with Ronaldo the 2 best players ever to play under Ferguson
Agree with you on that for sure Scholes would be my number one player for United since Bobby Charlton. Personally I would choose Rooney ahead of Giggs or Cantona. There was a couple of years if not three years after Ronaldo left that the club wasn’t in a good place and Rooney (bar Scholes) was Uniteds best player. Having said that comparing Rooney to Charlton is undisputable as Charlton was United’s greatest ever player in my opinion. Charlton is probably in most top ten lists as one of the greatest players ever to have played even ahead of Best who had a relatively short career but even bar that Charlton surviving the Munich air disaster and helping England to the World Cup. Duncan Edwards was sadly lost in Munich and though I never saw him play my grandfather used to say he was United’s greatest ever player even ahead of Charlton. Anyway I’m getting side tracked. Ultimately deciding what world class is debatable but I think any team in the world would’ve taken Rooney in his prime age (18-26). He has the same work rate and commitment as Keane and the finesse and vision of (Cantona). If Cantona is world class then surely Rooney is. Cantona never played on the wing? RB? Midfield? score over 35 goals a season, break records throughout his career become captain! Cantona was a talisman for about four years for United and had a big influence on the 92′ team Rooney has been the talisman and led United through darker times the last five six years. Based purely on players ability Rooney outshines Cantona in every area except charisma and guile (also debatable). You watch as well Rooney will lead this team to success and score in finals for years to come.
Its not really in line with popular opinion but I feel like Ruud Van Nistelrooy deserves a mention, in terms of his sheer skill and ability there was none at the time. Watching a video of every goal he scored for United in chronological order, I felt almost every single finish could be considered “world class” in terms of creativity/quality (certainly better than the average quality of, say, ronaldo’s goals at real madrid). Upvote if you agree 🙂
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