Leeds 0-3 Manchester United: Sir Alex Ferguson's Craziest Lineup Ever?

Devil in a New DressSenior Writer ISeptember 21, 2011

LANDOVER, MD - JULY 30: Chris Smalling #12 (L) celebrates with teammate Michael Owen #7 (R) of Manchester United after Owen scored against Barcelona during the second half of a friendly match at FedExField on July 30, 2011 in Landover, Maryland. Manchester United won 2-1. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Last night's Carling Cup third round encounter between Leeds United and Manchester United, saw Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson make some of his oddest team selections yet.

Setting out the team in  4-3-3 formation, no-one could have imagined how experimental his lineup was. Not limited to just where the where the players started the game, the oddness continued on into where some of the players ended the game.

Here's a look back at some of the players that made up what was perhaps Sir Alex's craziest lineup ever.

Ezekiel Fryers: Sir Alex decided to give a first team start to Fryers, one of the stars of the Manchester United reserve team. The youngster had a good game at center back, showing a relaxed temperament that will surely get him a few more call-ups.

Michael Carrick: The United midfielder was selected to play in the unfamiliar role of center back. The England international rewarded the manager's faith, making several important clearances.

Antonio Valencia: The Ecuadorian winger began his second game of the season at right back. Oddly enough, Sir Alex also utilized the winger in this role in United's recent league game against Chelsea. Perhaps, this should have come as no surprise.

Mame Biram Diouf: The Senegalese striker, playing his first senior match for the Reds this season, was selected to play wide on the right as a midfielder. An air shot in the penalty area early in the game showed that he was anxious to make an impression, and his work in creating United's second goal of the game will have helped his cause.

Park Ji-Sung: Manchester United's ever industrious South Korean midfielder began the game in midfield and was involved in all of United's forward ventures. An unexpected turn came when he slotted in beside Michael Carrick as a center back.

Paul Pogba: Perhaps, it wasn't much of a surprise to see Manchester United's up and comer Paul Pogba on the pitch. However, it was slightly surprising that he came on just before the second half began. Pogba enjoyed plenty of the ball and displayed some neat passing skills. There's more to come from the young Frenchman, I'm sure.

Dimitar Berbatov: Perhaps the strangest/craziest move of the night came in the form of Dimitar Berbatov. Berbatov was instrumental in the creation of two of United's goals and made several goal line clearances early on in the game.

The Bulgarian striker showed off the impressive versatility of his game when he frequently dropped into midfield to play midfielder. Not stopping there, the 30-year-old also spent the last 10 minutes of the game playing as a center back to replace Ezekiel Fryers who limped off with cramp.

Speaking about Berbatov's keenness to play defender, Michael Owen said:

He does it all the time in training, so we know he’s capable of it. He thinks he can play centre half, so he was probably first to lift his hand when we lost Zeki. It was no surprise to see Berba at the back.