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Manchester United’s Greatest Premier League Team
With Manchester United on course for their lowest Premier League finish in the first season since Alex Ferguson’s retirement, Jane’s Jersey takes a look back at what we consider to be Manchester United’s greatest team since the Premier League was formed.
Peter Schmeichel (1991-1999)
Peter Schmeichel is arguably the best Manchester United goalkeeper EVER and one of the best goalkeepers the world has ever seen.
Schmeichel joined the club from Bromwich for a bargain price of £505,000 in the summer of 1991 and made his Manchester United debut in a 2-0 win over Notts County.
Schmeichel helped the club to their first league title in 26 years in the inaugural Premier League season by keeping an impressive 22 clean sheets.
Schmeichel won five Premier League titles, three FA Cups and one League Cup.
He also famously captained the team to the Champions League trophy in his final appearance for the club.
During his eight years at Manchester United, Schmeichel made 392 appearances, keeping an incredible 178 clean sheets and famously scoring one goal against Rotor Volgograd.
He became the first goalkeeper to keep 100 Premier League goals when he kept a clean sheet against Crystal Palace.
Schmeichel won the UEFA Goalkeeper of the Year in 1992, 1993, 1997 and 1998.
Gary Neville (1992-2011)
Gary Neville graduated from the famous “Class of 92” which included Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, David Beckham, Nicky Butt and Gary’s brother Phil.
Having captained the youth team to FA Youth Cup glory in 1991-92, Neville made his debut against Torpedo Moscow in the UEFA Cup in September 1992.
After Paul Parker was lost to injury, Gary Neville became the first team right back, a position he held until his retirement in 2011.
Following the departure of Roy Keane in November 2005, Neville was appointed club captain.
Neville made 602 appearances for the club and scored 7 goals, won 8 Premier League titles, 3 FA Cups, 2 League Cups and 2 Champions League trophies.
Dennis Irwin (1990-2002)
Dennis Irwin was one of the most reliable and consistent performers of his generation, although often underrated.
Irwin joined Oldham in the summer of 1990 from Oldham Athletic for £625,000, making his debut against Coventry City on 25 August 1990.
In his first season with the club, Irwin helped the club win the Cup Winners’ Cup, beating Barcelona in the final.
Irwin was an ever-present as Manchester United won their first league title in 26 years and was also present in every game of the double-winning season of 1993-94.
During his time at the club Irwin won seven Premier League titles, three FA Cups, one League Cup, one UEFA Champions League and one Cup Winners’ Cup.
Denis Irwin played 529 games and scored 33 goals for Manchester United before joining Wolverhampton Wanderers at the end of the 2001-02 season.
Jap Stam (1998-2001)
Jaap Stam only lasted just over three seasons, but proved to be very popular with the Manchester United faithful.
Stam joined the club from Dutch side PSV for a then world record fee of £10.6m for a defender and made his debut in a 3-0 defeat of Arsenal in the Charity Shield.
In his first season at the club, Stam helped Manchester United to the famous treble of the Premier League, the FA Cup and the European Champions League.
During his time at Manchester United, he became the first team to win three consecutive seasons.
Stam played 127 games for Manchester United and scored once against Leicester in a 6-2 win.
Stam was named UEFA’s best club defender of the year in 1998-99 and 1999-00.
Rio Ferdinand (2002-present)
Rio Ferdinand is one of the best centre-halves of a generation in football and arguably England’s most successful defender since the legendary Bobby Moore.
Ferdinand joined the club for a British record transfer fee of £30 million and remains the most expensive English footballer in history and the most expensive defender in world football.
Rio made his debut for the team on 27 August 2002 in a Champions League qualifier against Zalagerceg which Manchester United won 5–0.
Ferdinand helped Manchester United win the Premier League in his first season at the club, playing in 28 league games.
Ferdinand famously failed a drugs test in September 2003, earning him an eight-month ban.
Ferdinand played almost 450 games for Manchester United scoring 8 goals and winning six Premier League titles, two League Cups and one Champions League trophy.
Rio captained Manchester United in their memorable Champions League final penalty shootout win against Chelsea.
Ferdinand was in the FIFA World Cup for the 2007-08 season.
Ryan Giggs (1990-present)
Ryan Giggs is the oldest member of the “Class of 92” and the only one still playing at the ripe old age of 40.
Giggs made his debut for the club on 2 March 1991 in a 2–0 defeat and scored his first goal for the club in a 1–0 win over Manchester City.
Giggs is the only player to have appeared in every season of the Premier League since its inception in 1992.
Up until the 2013-14 season he also scored in every campaign.
Giggs is the most decorated player in the history of English football with an incredible 13 Premier League titles, 4 FA Cup winners medals, 3 League Cup winners medals and 2 Champions League winners medals.
Giggs played over 950 games for the club, a record for a Manchester United player, scoring 168 goals.
During a truly illustrious career, Giggs set numerous records including most Premier League appearances, most Champions League appearances, most goals by a British player in the Champions League and oldest goalscorer in the Champions League.
Cristiano Ronaldo (2003-2009)
Cristiano Ronaldo was often referred to as a show pony in his early years with his countless leaps that looked great but weren’t particularly productive.
During his time at the club under Ferguson, Ronaldo channeled his undoubted ability to become one of the best players in the world.
Ronaldo joined the club from Sporting Lisbon for £12.2m and impressed Alex Ferguson while playing in a friendly against Manchester United.
Ronaldo made his debut as a substitute on August 16, 2003. in a 4–0 win over Bolton and scored his first goal in a 3–0 win over Portsmouth.
In his first season Ronaldo helped Manchester United win the FA Cup by scoring the first goal in a 3–0 win over Millwall.
Ronaldo made 292 appearances for Manchester United and scored an impressive 118, including 42 goals in 49 appearances, as he helped Manchester United win the Premier League and Champions League, winning a number of personal awards in the process, including UEFA Club Footballer of the Year.
Ronaldo won three Premier League titles, one FA Cup, two League Cups and one Champions League trophy with Manchester United before leaving for Real Madrid for a world record £80 million.
Roy Keane (1993-2005)
Roy Keane was a dominant, tough and highly competitive central midfielder who embodied the spirit of Manchester United under Alex Ferguson.
Keane joined the club in the summer of 1993 signing from Nottingham Forest for £3.75 million and made his debut against Aston Villa on 23 August in a 2–1 win against Aston Villa.
During his first season at the club, Keane helped the team win the Premier League and the FA Cup to win a famous double.
Keane was given the captaincy at Manchester United following Eric Cantona’s shock retirement at the start of the 1997–98 season, a position he held until his departure in 2005.
Keane made 480 appearances during 12 years at the club, scoring 51 goals and winning seven Premier League titles, four FA Cups and one Champions League trophy.
Keane left the club on 15 December 2005 to sign for boyhood club Celtic.
Paul Scholes (1993-2011 and 2012-2013)
Paul Scholes is the last member of the “Class of 92” to feature in our greatest Premier League team Manchester United.
Scholes was arguably the best attacking midfielder of his generation, although he was occasionally let down by his ability to make mistakes in the match which saw him collect over 120 yellow cards and 10 red cards and famously miss the 1999 Champions League final through suspension.
Scholes made his debut for the club on 21 September 1994, scoring both goals in a 2–1 League Cup win over Port Vale.
During his first season as a first-team player, Scholes helped the side finish 2nd in the Premier League and reach the FA Cup final where they lost 1–0 to Everton.
Scholes retired from professional football at the end of the 2010-11 season before Ferguson persuaded him to return in January 2012.
During two spells at Manchester United, Scholes played 718 games and scored 155 goals, winning eleven Premier League titles, three FA Cups, two League Cups and two Champions League trophies.
Eric Cantona (1992-1997)
Eric Cantona was nicknamed “King Eric” by Manchester United fans, and many consider him Manchester United’s greatest player and his name still echoes around Old Trafford today.
Cantona signed for the club for £1.2 million from rivals Leeds United on 27 November 1992, making his debut as a substitute against Manchester City on 6 December 1992.
In his first season, Cantona helped the team win their first league title in 26 years, as they won the Premier League with 10 points clear of Manchester United.
In January 1995, Cantona attracted headlines for the wrong reasons when he Kung-Fued a Crystal Palace fan on his way back into the tunnel after being sent off. The incident led to Cantona being banned from football for eight months and many claim it cost Manchester United the league title.
Following the departure of Steve Bruce, Cantona was handed the captain’s armband at the start of the 1996–97 campaign which saw Manchester United win their fourth title in five years.
At the end of the 1996-97 season, Cantona surprisingly announced his retirement from professional football at the age of 30.
During his time at Manchester United, Cantona played 185 games, scored 82 goals and won four Premier League titles and two FA Cups.
Ruud van Nistelrooy (2001-2006)
The last position in the team was filled by Ruud van Nistelrooy, who is probably the best player to play for the team in the Premier League.
Van Nistelrooy signed for the club in the summer of 2001, moving from PSV Eindhoven for a fee of £19 million and made his debut in a 2–1 defeat to Liverpool.
In his first season with the club, Van Nistelrooy scored 23 goals in the league (including 8 consecutive matches to set a record he later broke) and 36 goals in all competitions.
During five years at the club Van Nistelrooy scored 150 goals in 219 appearances and won one Premier League title, one FA Cup and one League Cup.
With rumors of a rift with Ferguson, Van Nistelrooy left the club in July 2006 to sign for Real Madrid for a fee of £11 million.
– Edwin van der Sar
– Nemanja Vidic
– Ronnie Johnson
– David Beckham
– Lee Sharpe
– Wayne Rooney
– Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (best super sub!!)
Well, that’s our take on Manchester United’s greatest Premier League team, feel free to let us know if you disagree!
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