My favourite United player of all-time is…
Who is your favourite Manchester United player of all-time? This is no easy question to answer. Course, these guys below have done just that. We asked our readers the question a few weeks back and here, in all their glory, is their responses. You can also tell us your favourite, simply by leaving a comment.
…Peter Schmeichel: “My favourite United player is Peter Schmeichel. To win trophies, you need solidity, and could you get any more solid than The Great Dane? Eight years service, and in all that time I can only remember one mistake he made. One! When I think of him now, I think of his cartwheel on the 26th May, 1999. Winning the Treble was pretty damn special for every Red, but to clinch it in the dying minutes of your final game for the club is perfection. Perfection that the greatest goalkeeper of all time richly deserved.” Patrick Campbell
…Ryan Giggs: “For all the pleasure he has given over the years, the dedication to the club and the Manchester United way, the incredible goals, pace, passing, everything about him is just class. He is Beckham without the circus and I thank the heavens he took Sir Alex’s advice and focussed on football and not celebrity when it was quite clear he could have. If his achievements in the game are ever surpassed then it will be a miracle. The way he is playing at the moment he doesn’t even show any signs of retiring or slowing down and he is still one of the best players in the league. My wife shares his Birthday and I annoyingly tell her every year!!! We also have a small white Pomeranian that is as fast as the wind and is called Giggsy.
The column inches dedicated to him staying at the top with United all these years do not really do it justice because it would really take an immense effort to go through the training and everything else that would go with staying at this level…and he still smiles and enjoys it.Pure magic and I hope he keeps going as long as he can. You would think there will be another knight at Old Trafford very soon with what he has achieved to date.” Lee Heron
…Eric Cantona: “I turned 27 a couple of weeks ago, meaning my football obsessed youth coincided with the birth of the Premiership and Football Italia. I adored the elegance and imagination of Serie A and couldn’t abide the rough and tumble approach to the sport in England. Then came Eric, a shining beacon of artistic inspiration. In one sublime moment – the chipped pass to Denis vs Spurs – he underlined what I had hoped. Eric was special. He achieved so much himself yet arguably in showing that golden generation how the game should be played his legacy was even greater. Without Him the title may have come eventually, but without Him that night in Barcelona would not. We called him God but he wasn’t that, he was something different, something better. He was Eric Cantona.” Tom Pattison (@tompattison)
…Michael Carrick: “A taller, less ginger version of Paul Scholes on his day. Carrick maybe on the verge of leaving Old Trafford in the future with lackluster contributions last season but given what we have won and accomplished since his £16 million move in 2006, the United faithful can’t help but give him a proper sending off. His vision, range of passing, and willingness to do the dirty work in halting any forthcoming attack has made him a player to admire. With the recent World Cup laying the path for a three-man midfield and the need for someone to offer a safe outlet, Michael Carrick might just see his stock at United rise again.” Mike Kennard
…Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: “When people tend to look at players that truly represent Manchester United, I like to shy away from the “Most Goals”, “Superstar” type players and look at players who gain affection from the fans for just repaying our faith and desire to see them succeed at Manchester United and none more so than in United legend Ole Gunnar Solksjaer. Ole was signed with little or no sign of pomp attributed to usual United signings. His arrival on the pitch however was full of the signs of “This is me” statement against Blackburn, six minutes after coming off the bench for his debut. He scored 4 goals in 12 minutes in a remarkable game against Forest and repeated the feat scoring 4 again against Everton a season later.
He will always be remembered for the Champions League final goal to snatch the trophy from the clutches of Bayern Munich but it’s the simple fact that United reluctantly accepted an offer from Spurs for him and Ole turned them down preferring to remain a United rotation player than a Spurs regular. Also in a game where he purposefully tackled Robert Lee to prevent a certain goal and mouthed to David Beckham “I had to do it” will live with United fans forever. Ole remained at the club as Reserve Coach and will remain in United’s hearts for all of eternity.” Anthony Cox
…Owen Hargreaves: “My affinity for Owen Hargreaves is simple. He is the type of player I would want to be. Honest, surprisingly skilled, versatile, respected for both club and country. When fit, he rivals Michael Essien as the best holding midfielder in the world. He runs, distributes the ball, tackles, and is underrated delivering set pieces. Needless to say, I want curly hair, too.” Colin Sebastian
…Paul Scholes: “People will tell you about goals that Scholesy has scored in his amazing career at Old Trafford. The more obvious ones like the goal at Bradford, the goal against Middlesbrough and of course the stunner at Villa but one of my favourite goals from the ginger prince was a goal that drew us level against Blackburn at Old Trafford in March 2007.
We lost Nemanja Vidic to a broken shoulder bone in the 19th minute and then to make matters worse, a minute later we were a goal down thanks to Matt Derbyshire, and it seemed like it was going to be one of those days as Brad Friedel had yet another superhuman display against us, an hour had gone by and we were pressing Blackburn for an equaliser, Old Trafford was as loud as I can remember for a Saturday game that wasn’t against Liverpool, Man City etc as the United fans willed the team on and then it happened, the ball broke to Scholesy after an attempted clearance outside the United area, he took it past one, took it past another and slotted it cool as you like past Friedel to make it 1-1. The place erupted as United fans celebrated, Fergie ran down from the bench to applaud Scholesy on the touchline and you just knew that we’d get the 3 points, in the end we won 4-1! Had you said to me at 59 minutes that we would win it 4-1 I’d have laughed in your face as it didn’t look like we’d get anything, never mind a comprehensive win. Paul Scholes football genius.” Martin Sheehan
…Denis Irwin: “To others this may on first sight appear a strange choice, but to me personally I really did enjoy watching Dennis play for us. He could score with either foot, take free-kicks with a very good accuracy rate, and defend with the best of them. My fondest memory of Sir Dennis was his wonderful goal against Wimbledon, after a very good team move, and a terrific finish from the Irish wonder.
He always seemed to have the clubs best interests at heart, I don’t think I once heard him moan or complain during his stay, he just got on with his duties. To me, he embodies all that is good about Manchester United, and he still continues to do this on MUTV, a true club stalwart, and when he moved to Wolves, I was a very sad for a while, as I really did like him. For all the goals, tackles, and free-kicks that he did for us, I will remember his as a thoroughly nice chap.” Adam Bateman
…Roy Keane: “For me, Roy Keane will always be a leader. Leading from the front, working his ass out, pushing the team forward, not afraid to stand up for his teammates nor afraid to criticize them either and of course, being courageous, humble & tenacious. All these are qualities I admired in Roy Keane, and he has always battled for the cause of the team.
The semifinals of the Champions League against Zidane’s Juventus in our Treble winning season being a classic example, despite picking up a yellow card earlier, which meant he couldn’t play in the final. His rant about the ‘Prawn Sandwich’ brigade, his revenge tackle against Alf- Inge Haland, Keano standing upto Vieira in the tunnel at Highbury, his criticism of his teammates after their humiliating loss to Middlesborough, all make him unforgettable. Also, he was one of the most successful captains in our Club History. How I wish Keano would one day manage Manchester United and lead us to another treble…” Aswin Bhanu
And now my verdict:
…David Beckham: “To them it’s Goldenballs, to you and me it’s David Beckham. Whether he stuffs his Armani pants I possibly cannot care less – it’s what he does on the pitch that is most admirable. Who could forget his goal on the opening day of the 96/97 season where a young Beckham beat Wimbledon’s Neil Sullivan with a cracker from the halfway-line? So great was the goal, that even John Motson (of all people) could only muster a few words to describe it. Of course, that was just the start. While everything that could go possibly wrong went wrong in an England shirt, Becks kept on delivering in the red of United. For years, the Old Trafford faithful could only purr as his trademark free-kicks and pinpoint crosses help lead United to the unprecedented treble victory in 1999, and, of course, the haul of silverware didn’t stop there.
His career prematurely ended in 2003, yet it was one of his farewell games that was his best ever in a United shirt. In his last European outing at Old Trafford, against Real Madrid, he scored two coming on as a substitute, and in the process, nearly almost single-handedly completing a magical fightback on what was ultimately a bitter-sweet night. He might have left following those very controversial circumstances but he will forever be remembered as a Manchester United legend. A title which, in my opinion, will always elude another no.7, Cristiano Ronaldo.” ManUtd24