We have all been there. You're sat in your local drinking establishment, discussing your favourite this and that. With my friends a popular topic has always been, what would be your all time premiership 11.
I have spent many an hour thinking about this and I thought it about time that I share my opinions with everybody in the bleacher family.
Please don’t forget this is only my opinion! I look forward to hearing all of yours!
First off all the rules. Obviously all players have had to have played in the premiership… that’s about it.
An important point however, must be that the players are picked on their Premiership performances only, Ian Rush would be in any dream team I make but had played his best football before 1992. Same with Ruud Gullit.
So here we go!
Goalkeeper: David Seaman, Shay Given and Brad Friedel all came close, but in all honesty it could only be Peter Schmeichel.
His presence alone was worthy of his place. He was a fantastic shot stopper and comfortable with crosses. His best trait however, was his ability when in one on one situations. His size and speed across the ground reduced the angles for a striker to the degree that the huge Dane was always favourite to make the save. Just don’t mention Philip Albert...
Right back: I have chosen Gary Neville over the likes of Steve Finnan, Lee Dixon and Paul Parker.
As a Liverpool fan, this causes me much misery, but the fact is that he has been the best right back in the country for over 10 years. Fiercely determined, hard working and frighteningly dependable, Neville has been the lynchpin of many a Manchester United title winning team. His partnership with David Beckham in the late 1990’s was arguably the main reason for the treble success of 1999.
Left Back: In what was a tricky position I have gone for Graeme Le Saux.
Le Saux was known as one of the cleverest players to ply their trade in the Premiership and this was expressed on the pitch. Both at Blackburn, where he won a title, and later with Chelsea he was a cultured and very talented player both in defence and attack. Strong in the tackle, Le Saux also had an exceptionally good left foot which was put to good use on set pieces.
Centre Half: I wanted two contrasting players in my central defence. I wanted a cultured, ball playing, classy centre half, and a tough uncompromising player, who defends like his life depends on it. Tony Adams, John Terry and Colin Hendry all come close but I have plumped for Jamie Carragher.
Anfield, according to the song, dreams of a team of Carraghers and it’s easy to see why. Carragher hates not only conceding goals, but also the ball being in his area. There probably hasn’t been a more committed defender in the Premiership.
Centre Half: Controversially I have chosen Paul McGrath as my second centre half. This despite his many problems.
It can be argued that McGrath only ever had one good season in the Premiership, in 1993/94, but for this one year alone he is in my team. In this year there probably wasn’t a better footballer, let alone defender, in the WORLD. He was that good.
Effortlessly quick, and yet he hardly needed to run. McGrath could read a game better then any other player on the pitch. Alex Ferguson once claimed it was frightening how good McGrath could have been. Despite never training whilst at Aston Villa, the man who famously marked Alan Shearer whilst drunk, warrants his place.
Right wing: Christiano Ronaldo.
The best player in the world by a long way. The amount of goals he has scored already during his time in England puts him above the likes of David Beckham, Robert Pires and Andrei Kanchelskis. He will only get better... Frightening.
Central Midfield: Steven Gerrard.
Gerrard's, energy, drive and commitment are unquestionable, but people often forget that Gerrard can pass a ball as good as most players, and chips in with a fair share of goals. He carried a poor Liverpool team to Champions League football in 2004 and is the man to give the ball to when under pressure and needing something to happen.
Central Midfield: My rock in the middle of the park, and my captain is Roy Keane. Keane was undoubtedly Alex Ferguson’s most important signing.
He dominated teams, scared the life out of opponents, and set an example to his team mates with his attitude and hard work. His sometimes questionable disciplinary record may heave let him down but what he brought to Manchester United was irreplaceable. If they had Roy Keane now, with Ronaldo, Rooney and others running around him, I couldn’t imagine them dropping a point.
Left Wing: Ryan Giggs was probably the easiest choice to make in my entire team. Since making his debut in what seems to be about 1957, Giggs has consistently performed to an exceptional standard.
As a youngster his mazy dribbles and goals were outstanding, and as he has got older and the legs have got that little bit slower, his footballing brain and technique have ensured he is still a very important part of the Manchester United team. Giggs is quite simply the model professional footballer.
Strikers: For my forward pairing I again wanted contrasts. I wanted a player who did his best work in the box and another who could could come deeper and collect the ball from the midfield and create chances for himself. My fox in the box is Alan Shearer.
The Premier Leagues leading marksman was the perfect example of a number nine. His finishing was at worst clinical and at best unbelievable. Shearer scored goals for fun, everywhere he went. His goals won a title for a Blackburn side that on paper wasn’t good enough to win a title. The fact that this is his only trophy is an absolute crime for a man who was quite simply the best goal scorer the Premiership has ever seen.
Striker: My second striker’s role was a very hard choice. Many players could easily have made it. Gianfranco Zola, Dennis Bergkamp and Eric Cantona came closest, but I have selected Thierry Henry.
Henry has been chosen simply for the fact that he could score from literally anywhere. Right foot, left foot, from 25-yard, tap ins, solo goals, Henry could do the lot.
Just compare his goal against Tottenham where he raced 45 yards to score, with his cheeky backheel against Charlton, and now picture him flicking the ball up with one foot before burying the ball form 25-yards with the other against Manchester United.
Henry was pure excitement, he oozed arrogance and rightly so. He was a blessing to the English game.
So there we have it. What a team.
A solid defence with full backs who can get forward. Defenders who are comfortable on the ball and willing to bring the ball out out and create attacks. A central midfield that is interchangeable, with both players able to hold in midfield and protect the back four, whilst also able to get forward, support the attack and score goals.
My wide players are both speedy players with excellent skill. They are both very capable of beating the man and getting crosses in, and would contribute many goals themselves. My forward line is simply filled with goals. Imagine how you would try and cope with Shearer with Henry lurking alongside him.
There are obviously many players who didn’t get in this side. Please don’t forget this is my opinion before you blast me for not selecting, Zola, Ginola or Ade Akininyi.
I very much look forward to hearing your feedback and your own all time Premiership 11’s.