Since Alex Ferguson retired from management in 2013, it’s been a difficult few years, to say the least, for Manchester United.
Having become accustomed to success, they’re going through a period of real transition, and it feels like it’s going to be a long time before we see the Red Devils dominating English football once again.
United have won the League Cup, FA Cup and Europa League since then, a poor return considering their illustrious history and record of bringing home silverware.
And on Sunday, during and after the 2-2 draw with Aston Villa, ‘Get Poch’ was trending in the United Kingdom as some of the Old Trafford faithful began turning on current manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Clearly, a section of support think Mauricio Pochettino would do a better job with this current squad, but how many of them would get in the team of the decade?
The answer is just one…
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Goalkeeper: David de Gea
An absolute no-brainer. United’s most consistent player of the last decade.
The Spaniard came to England as a young boy, but has matured into one of the best goalkeepers in the world.
De Gea, who joined the club in an £18.9million deal from Atletico Madrid in June 2011, has appeared in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year five times and also won United’s Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year accolade on four occasions.
Granted, we haven’t seen the best of the 29-year-old in the last 12-18 months, but his contribution to the club is questionable and he deserves huge respect for what he’s achieved – on an individual level, at least – at Old Trafford.
Right-back: Antonio Valencia
Valencia was twice named the Manchester United Players’ Player of the Year and also won the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award.
The Ecuadorian’s transformation from a powerful attacking winger to defensive full-back through sheer hard work and perseverance deserved recognition.
Valencia also went on to captain the Red Devils, with his consistency and longevity at Old Trafford meaning he’ll always be welcome back with open arms at United.
Centre-back: Rio Ferdinand
Which central defenders have been better than him since he left the club? None.
The likes of Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans couldn’t lace Ferdinand’s boots, while it’s too early to judge the potential of Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire – thus there’s no chance either of them can pip Ferdinand in United’s Team of the Decade over the former England international.
The former England defender helped United win the Premier League in 2011 and 2013, and was named in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year at the end of the 2012/13 campaign.
Centre-back: Nemanja Vidic
You can’t have one, without the other. Ferdinand and Vidic together were arguably one of, if not the great centre-back pairing in Premier League history. They were THAT GOOD together.
While the Serbian was certainly in decline by the time he left Old Trafford in the summer of 2014, the fact remains he was still an integral part of the sides which won the Premier League title in 2011 and 2013.
He also made the FIFA FIFPro World XI in 2011 – the last year United reached the Champions League final.
There’s no doubt Vidic will always be remembered as one of the greatest defenders in the club’s history.
Left-back: Patrice Evra
A genuine cult hero. His colourful personality, his positivity and humour, and consistency in a United shirt means this is position is a fairly easy pick.
Evra started fewer than 33 Premier League matches in each of the four campaigns that began this decade, underlining his reliability, winning two Premier League titles to take his total to five in all.
Central-midfield: Ryan Giggs
From bombing down the wing to a measured midfielder, Giggs’ career transformation carried over into this decade and thus warrants his place in this team.
The 2010-11 campaign saw him flourish in his new role, with the then 37-year-old sending United on their way to a Champions League semi-final win at Schalke with a smart finish.
He also notched a last-minute winner at Norwich, aged 38.
Giggs was named in Sir Alex Ferguson’s starting line up for the Champions League final against Barcelona at Wembley, delivering a brilliant assist for Wayne Rooney to level proceedings on the night, and although things didn’t go to plan that night scenarios such as that seem a million miles away with the current side.
Central-midfield: Paul Scholes
Quite simply Scholes is one of the greatest midfielders to ever play the game. While he only enjoyed a swansong during this period, he’s quite simply too good to leave out of this side.
Scholes hung up his boots at the end of the 2010-11 season, but returned to the Red Devils side in January 2012 after admitting he missed playing. Unsurprisingly, he picked up where he left off.
His contribution in the 2012-13 had to be carefully managed, but he still played 16 times, scoring once, and his contribution over his two spells at United means his place in the diamond midfield is assured.
Central-midfield: Michael Carrick
The fact Carricks remains on United’s books as a coach speaks volumes in itself. “It’s Carrick, you know… it’s hard to believe it’s not Scholes”. That chant was heard regularly at Old Trafford during the latter years of Carrick’s United tenure.
That in itself tells you just how consistently good he was for United.
Carrick also won Premier League winners’ medals in 2011 and 2013, as well as the FA Cup in 2016, both the Europa League and the EFL Cup in 2017 and was named in the PFA Team of the Year in 2013. Not bad at all, eh.
He currently works as a first-team coach alongside Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
No.10 role: Wayne Rooney
The easiest choice on the entire list. One of United’s greatest-ever players and also the club’s all-time leading goalscorer. Need we say anymore?
Striker: Dimitar Berbatov
A £30.75 million acquisition from Tottenham back in September 2008, the enigmatic Bulgarian is worthy of a spot upfront in this prestigious side.
A double Premier League winner with United, Berbatov made just shy of 150 appearances between 2008 and 2012.
There were so many moments of individual brilliance from the forward, none more so than an incredible hat-trick to put arch-rivals Liverpool to the sword with a 3-2 win in September 2010.
A Premier League Golden Boot winner in 2011, he was also a multiple recipient of the Bulgarian Footballer of the Year award, claiming the honour a record seven times.
Striker: Robin van Persie
A truly inspired signing from the great Sir Alex Ferguson. Robin van Persie almost single-handedly won the 2012/13 Premier League for Manchester United, after completing his shock move from Arsenal.
The Dutchman scored 30 first goal in his maiden campaign at Old Trafford, picking up a second Premier League Golden Boot in the process.
He then went on to score 28 goals over the next two campaigns under David Moyes and Louis van Gaal.
Van Persie didn’t get the send-off he deserved from the club following an abrupt exit, but nonetheless will always occupy a special place in the hearts of the Old Trafford faithful.
Manager: Sir Alex Ferguson
Who else?! The Serial winner is without doubt the best man to lead this illustrious side – no-one can deny that.
United’s best XI from this decade
Published at Mon, 02 Dec 2019 07:59:49 +0000