Six years since Fergie left and we have won the League Cup, Europa League, and the FA Cup. However, the performances are far from convincing. Our league finishes since he left are averaging at 5th. To put this into perspective, we haven’t finished outside the top 3 in 23/26 of Fergie’s seasons.
The teams have been very volatile and no one knows which United will turn up on a given day. It is such a contrast to what most United fans are used to. Sir Alex gave us so many good teams and players to love. So that got me thinking as to what our best 11 would be post Fergie. The rules are – players who played for Sir Alex are allowed but they should have played for him for less than fifty percent of their Manchester United careers; players will be added based on their contribution to the club and not based on their potentials.
|Picture Credits: CBS Local|
Goalkeeper – David De Gea
Probably one of the rare players who has improved since 2013. This man is the reason we didn’t finish lower than where we have been finishing. There were tons of times where I felt bad for him for carrying this team but at the end of the day, we need more players of his calibre at United. Losing him will be like taking two steps backward and no steps forward.
Right Back – Antonio Valencia
Having signed in 2009/10 makes him just eligible for this lineup. I am one of Valencia’s biggest critics and Dalot’s signing was a relief but, Valencia has not been completely useless at right back. He had a stellar season in 2016/17 and also won the Manchester United Player of the Season. Above all, he came in as a winger, stepped up when the club needed him at right back and kept his head down and made that position his own for the club. I respect such players, players who don’t make a fuss of being played out of position. However, it is one of his last years at the club, or at least I hope so.
Centre Backs – Chris Smalling and Eric Bailly
Chris Smalling and Eric Bailly are two amazing centre backs. The problem is that they aren’t reliable. Eric Bailly can make anyone fall in love with defending with his sprints and beautiful tackles but of late, he hasn’t looked himself. He was one of the biggest reasons for us reaching the finals of the Europa League before he got suspended for the finals.
Smalling has stepped up for Van Gaal and Mourinho. However, I do feel he’s a mistake waiting to happen. I was contemplating putting Lindelof in here but putting him over Smalling would be an injustice to Chris.
Left Back – Luke Shaw
If there is a player that has made a complete transformation at United, it is Luke Shaw. Most people thought his career was done when he made just a handful of appearances last season but he finally looks like the beast we signed from Southampton in 2014. It might not be fair to add him here since he hasn’t had even one complete good season at United but I just can’t stand Ashley Young at left back. With Shaw’s new contract, I hope he goes on to have many successful years at the club.
Defensive Midfield – Nemanja Matic
Matic was a signing that no one wanted at United because of his abysmal 2015/16 season with Chelsea. But with the Kante signing, Conte thought he wouldn’t need Matic which turned out to be quite a misjudgement on his part. Up north, Matic was one of the biggest reasons why we finished second last season. Age seems to be catching up with him this season but there is still some time before he’s done at this club.
Midfield Duo – Juan Mata and Paul Pogba
During the second half of a dark David Moyes season, the only shining light was a Juan Mata who kept banging in goals game after game. Juan Mata played a key role in our FA Cup winning match, our first top trophy since Sir Alex left, which made it all the more special.
Paul Pogba was the player that we called for during Van Gaal’s time – “A creative midfielder”. Pogba has had a great influence on the team. The difference in our midfield with and without him is immense. However, of late his attitude has been rather displeasing and there are talks of him leaving the club after just three years. I really want him to succeed at United and hope his situation improves.
Wingers – Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford
Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford are the reasons that Louis Van Gaal’s second season didn’t kill people from boredom. Those two were the shining lights in an otherwise irrelevant season (bar the FA Cup win). They are two extremely talented youngsters and I’m really looking forward to seeing what they produce in a few years. With the right attitude and the right coaching, they can very well be two of the best players in the world given four to five years.
Striker – Robin Van Persie
Robin Van Persie is a player that I will always love. That one season where he sold his soul to win us the league, scoring almost every game, is a memory no United fan will forget. The way Moyes and Van Gaal utilized Persie was borderline criminal and playing him in front of Fellaini was an unforgivable mistake as well. His end at the club was a little unfortunate but he will not be remembered for that. He will always be remembered for his hattrick against Villa, winner against City, and many goals.
So that was my best Manchester United 11 post Fergie. There could have been so many more like Angel Di Maria, whom I didn’t add for obvious reasons, Ashley Young, Marcos Rojo, Ander Herrera, but this lineup is the best of the lot, I feel. Looking back the defence should be much stronger and that’s also something we need to work towards in the coming seasons.
However, the focus is all on the Chelsea game for now! GGMU!