World Class players under Alex Ferguson

edcunited1878

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The majority isn’t always right. He was never top scorer in the league, not even as a striker. He was never the best player in the team. He was definitely not as good as Ronaldo. Great player but not world class.
Being second best to Ronaldo isn't wrong and for quite a while it was talk of who is 3rd best among Ronaldo and Messi.

Just because he wasn't top scorer in a league campaign doesn't mean he wasn't world class.

You're being really ignorant in terms of what Rooney meant to a team and how he was impacted even without scoring and assisting. He would walk into every single team in the world at his prime, save for maybe Barca or Real. But even then, they'd shoehorn him in.
 

lex talionis

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The OP has it about right, but there are a few players who played for us who where, at least for a few shining moments, "world class" under our watch.

Robin van Persie
Carlos Tevez
Michael Carrick

And I would add, at least for a shining moment -- and despite the abuse he takes here -- David De Gea
During Fergusons reign at United which players would you say were world class? Feel free to add/take out.

For me

Goalkeepers

Schmeichel
Van Der Sar

Defenders

Gary Neville
Stam
Ferdinand
Vidic
Evra

Midfielders

Beckham
Scholes
Keane
Carrick
Giggs

Forwards

Cantona
Yorke
Van Nistelrooy
Ronaldo
Rooney
Van Persie
The OP has it about right, but there are a few players who played for us who where, at least for a few shining moments, "world class" under our watch.

Robin van Persie
Carlos Tevez
Michael Carrick
Paul Pogba
Denis Irwin
Dimitar Berbatov


And I would add, at least for a shining moment at his peak 5 seasons ago -- and despite the abuse he takes here -- David De Gea.
 

united_99

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The majority isn’t always right. He was never top scorer in the league, not even as a striker. He was never the best player in the team. He was definitely not as good as Ronaldo. Great player but not world class.
These are weak arguments. “Never the best player in the team, not as good as Ronaldo”.
While Keane was in his prime no one else was better than him in the team and I would even say in the league (Henry became really great a bit later when Keane started getting older and injury prone). Still that doesn’t make Scholes, Beckham or Giggs less world class because one of their teammates was better.
Rooney for a few years was absolutely world class.
If he would have been for sale in his prime all the top teams in England and most if not all in Europe would have paid crazy money for him. He wasn’t an out and out striker but I believe he is leading the PL G+A stat (if not leading then definitely among the leading players, but I can’t think of anyone else who would be leading it instead).
And I really don’t defend him often as I lost a lot of interest in him after his 2010 transfer saga. But claiming he was not world class seems so wrong.
 

Wilt

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Amongst many, those immediately spring to mind….

Rooney
Ruud
Giggs
Vidic
Ronaldo
Cantona
 

Majiek7777

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Just Ronaldo. The only player who would get in every top team back then.. even Barca's.

I think it depends on one's definition of World Class. World Class for me is a player who is a shoe-in for a World XI.

I think there was a poll a few years ago of the greatest Manchester United player ever. Not surprisingly Ronaldo won it.
 

Stacks

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These are weak arguments. “Never the best player in the team, not as good as Ronaldo”.
While Keane was in his prime no one else was better than him in the team and I would even say in the league (Henry became really great a bit later when Keane started getting older and injury prone). Still that doesn’t make Scholes, Beckham or Giggs less world class because one of their teammates was better.
Rooney for a few years was absolutely world class.
If he would have been for sale in his prime all the top teams in England and most if not all in Europe would have paid crazy money for him. He wasn’t an out and out striker but I believe he is leading the PL G+A stat (if not leading then definitely among the leading players, but I can’t think of anyone else who would be leading it instead).
And I really don’t defend him often as I lost a lot of interest in him after his 2010 transfer saga. But claiming he was not world class seems so wrong.
Vieira was better than Keane as a midfielder alone. As was Shearer
 

Jeppers7

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While Carrick was indeed not world class as many have already said it here, England managers’ judgement was/is hardly the benchmark for player quality. England usually didn’t even rate Scholes highly and didn’t know how to use him.
When Spain was winning tournaments Xabi Alonso suggested Carrick as a midfield option for England but of course the managers didn’t listen.
Every England manager found a way to fit Scholes into the team, whether they did it well or not or could’ve tried another way isn’t relevant. They played him.

Why would an England manager listen to Xabi Alonso? Carrick had opportunities for England and was bang average.

Im not sure I can name any world class players who didn’t get a game for their country whilst Gareth Barry or the equivalent was playing instead. It doesn’t happen.

I’ll revert to my point. Every single player on that list walked into their national team. Bar Carrick. He shouldn’t be anywhere near that list. He was a good player. That’s it.
 

eire-red

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World class is a term I've never fully understood. Players like Messi and Ronaldo have obviously been the obvious clear world class players in the past.

If you are in the top 3 or 4 in your position are you world class? I find it hard to describe most full backs as world class if that makes sense. They are incredibly important in a team but world class to me are the Iniesta, Xavi etc in midfield or the guys scoring and assisting at high rates yearly.

Andy Robertson for Liverpool has been one of the best full backs in the world for a period. But calling Andy Robertson world class seems strange?
I think it's only fair to judge it by position. For me, a world class player is someone who walks into a starting role at pretty much any top team, in their position.

I think Shaw is world class, and so is Modric. Shaw is nowhere near as good as Modric, but it would be unfair to compare the two of them as they have such different strengths and play completely different positions.

I think Ronaldo and Messi are beyond world class on a different level. They were freaks of nature for over a decade.

Robben, Ribery, Hazard, Bale, Aguero, Lewandowski. That's the profile of player who falls into WC in my eyes.
 

GueRed

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Young, Ballon d'Or winning Michael Owen was absolutely world class and he did play for us under Fergie. Does he count?
Yeah Owen was world class at Liverpool. Not at United though so it doesnt count..
Similar to Veron. World class at Lazio but failed to consistently deliver at United.
 

GueRed

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The OP has it about right, but there are a few players who played for us who where, at least for a few shining moments, "world class" under our watch.

Robin van Persie
Carlos Tevez
Michael Carrick

And I would add, at least for a shining moment -- and despite the abuse he takes here -- David De Gea


The OP has it about right, but there are a few players who played for us who where, at least for a few shining moments, "world class" under our watch.

Robin van Persie
Carlos Tevez
Michael Carrick
Paul Pogba
Denis Irwin
Dimitar Berbatov


And I would add, at least for a shining moment at his peak 5 seasons ago -- and despite the abuse he takes here -- David De Gea.
shinning moments my arse
he's one of the most overrated players we've had as my time as a fan.

At no point at United let alone under Fergie has Pogba been world class (had one World Class season at least).
 

GueRed

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Paul Ince developed into a world class centre midfielder during his time under Fergie at United. Peak Ince 1992-1995 was the best centre midielder in England and one of the best in Europe. His influence at United during our first PL title win in 1993 is still underrated by a lot of fans. He ran that midfield.

Denis Irwin
in his prime was undoubtedly world class. Around 1994 I remember Paulo Maldini acknowledged this by saying in an interview that Denis Irwin was the best full-back in Europe.

Andrei Kanchelskis from 1993-1995 right before he wormed his way out of the club was in red hot form and was one of the most dangerous wingers in Europe. His consistent high performance levels during that time made him world class for me.

World Cup Winner Fabian Barthez in his first season at United was still considered one of the best keepers in the world. He was great in his debut season, fans loved him.

For me Bryan Robson was still world class in the late 80's.

Nani Calendar year 2010 and the first half of 2011 was world class, one of the best wingers in Europe. Undroppable.
 

Ibrahimorich

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Probably get burned for being a heretic here but I never thought Cantona was world class. The English leagues were poor quality compared to the best in europe at the time. Just because he was revolutionary here doesn't mean he would've been anything special in Italy for example.

Having said that I checked his numbers and they're pretty good. 125 GC in 156 PL games. 11 GC in 21 in the CL. I still think there were enough other, better forwards at the time to disqualify him from being world class.
 

Shark

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Probably get burned for being a heretic here but I never thought Cantona was world class. The English leagues were poor quality compared to the best in europe at the time. Just because he was revolutionary here doesn't mean he would've been anything special in Italy for example.

Having said that I checked his numbers and they're pretty good. 125 GC in 156 PL games. 11 GC in 21 in the CL. I still think there were enough other, better forwards at the time to disqualify him from being world class.
You will get rightly burned for that take.
 

Stacks

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Absolutely not.
Vieira better dribbler, athlete, superior technique, can go box to box much quicker as he was a more powerful runner, his ground strokes were superior,

I think it's only fair to judge it by position. For me, a world class player is someone who walks into a starting role at pretty much any top team, in their position.

I think Shaw is world class, and so is Modric. Shaw is nowhere near as good as Modric, but it would be unfair to compare the two of them as they have such different strengths and play completely different positions.

I think Ronaldo and Messi are beyond world class on a different level. They were freaks of nature for over a decade.

Robben, Ribery, Hazard, Bale, Aguero, Lewandowski. That's the profile of player who falls into WC in my eyes.
For me Shaw meets some of the criteria as I think he would look comfortable playing amongst the best technical players in the world but he falls on his weaknesses like positioning and concentration which could handicap any team. Also he isn't one of the all time best in his position which is an automatic disqualifier imo. We could just be in an era of weak left backs.
 

KeanoMagicHat

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Probably get burned for being a heretic here but I never thought Cantona was world class. The English leagues were poor quality compared to the best in europe at the time. Just because he was revolutionary here doesn't mean he would've been anything special in Italy for example.

Having said that I checked his numbers and they're pretty good. 125 GC in 156 PL games. 11 GC in 21 in the CL. I still think there were enough other, better forwards at the time to disqualify him from being world class.
Cantona was 3rd in the 1993 Ballon d’Or. Well rated outside England. Agreed that his lack of success in Europe means he’s not considered an all-time great but still easily world class.
 

redcafe_reader

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better dribbler, athlete, superior technique, can go box to box much quicker as he was a more powerful runner, his ground strokes were superior,
It's great to know Pogba finally get the respect he deserve!
 

united_99

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Vieira better dribbler, athlete, superior technique, can go box to box much quicker as he was a more powerful runner, his ground strokes were superior,


For me Shaw meets some of the criteria as I think he would look comfortable playing amongst the best technical players in the world but he falls on his weaknesses like positioning and concentration which could handicap any team. Also he isn't one of the all time best in his position which is an automatic disqualifier imo. We could just be in an era of weak left backs.
Prime Keane was the better player than prime Vieira for me. Absolutely controlled and dominated the midfield, great short passing, initiated so many attacks and great ball retention. Not to mention he stepped up (or rather maintained his high level) even in crucial big and CL games more often than Vieira.
But even if you think Vieira was better, what I said was when Keane was in his prime he was the best player in the team and possibly even in the league. That was late 90s and early 00s. Vieira’s peak was a bit later and Shearer who you also mentioned was a monster in the mid-90s (later he was still good, but not as much as in the previous seasons).
 

lex talionis

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shinning moments my arse
he's one of the most overrated players we've had as my time as a fan.

At no point at United let alone under Fergie has Pogba been world class (had one World Class season at least).
Dude, Pogba was world class.

Was…now, he’s an expensive turd of a footballer who’s more focused on his social media branding that revolves around living a certain lifestyle of indulgence and indifference to the world around him. His relevance on the pitch is near zero now, but for a shining moment he stood the equal of the top midfielders on the planet. Sadly, that shining moment was fleeting and now ancient history.
 

032Devil

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Gary Neville is an interesting one. He pretty much is the best Premier League right back of all time right? Undisputed pretty much. Maybe Kyle Walker overtakes him when his career is over
.

Why have we had such a dearth of world class right backs in the Prem?
Neither Neville or Walker were world class.
 

Blood Mage

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Irwin was world class and better than Evra for me. One of our most underrated players ever.
 

Huddsred

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Goalkeepers:
Schmeichel
Van Der Sar

Defenders:
Irwin
Stam
Ferdinand
Vidic
Evra

Midfielders:
Robson
Ince
Keane
Giggs
Scholes
Beckham

Forwards:
Cantona
Van Nistelrooy
Ronaldo
Rooney
Van Persie

Players who were very, very good but just fell short of world class imo include Kanchelskis, G Neville, Cole, Yorke, Park, Carrick, Tevez, Berbatov, Valencia

Veron is an odd one because he was world class when we bought him but he just didn't cut it for us.
 

Red_Aaron

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Andy Cole is the most disrespected player in our clubs history.
I'd go further and say the most disrespected in English football. His goal record is fantastic and his general play is far better than anyone ever mentions. People like to point to his (fantastic) partnership with Yorke but I think he actually improved after Dwight moved on. His contribution to the teams play in his last couple of seasons was excellent. A brilliant footballer

Glenn Hoddle has a lot to answer for
 

OverratedOpinion

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I'd go further and say the most disrespected in English football. His goal record is fantastic and his general play is far better than anyone ever mentions. People like to point to his (fantastic) partnership with Yorke but I think he actually improved after Dwight moved on. His contribution to the teams play in his last couple of seasons was excellent. A brilliant footballer

Glenn Hoddle has a lot to answer for
Great post, he had nearly everything you'd want from a striker. In fact I'd go as far as to say a 25 year old Cole would still do brilliantly well in today's game.

To me he is clearly world class.
 

Fobal

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The Tevez CASE is almost a turning point in Alex carrer regarding the management of such players profiles.Carlos is almost the definition of world class, with all the good and bad that goes with it. Etoo, Ibra, Evra, Yaya are players with similar personalities/character that will play ball till the moment they feel that (right or wrong) are disrespect, He could have been even better in Man Utd (like he was in all his other clubs) if he didn't clash precisely with Alex.

PD: Leaving the different perceptions we might have about their talent and qualities, Cole suffers the Bebeto perception, the Careca one, because of forming a great partnership with a higher profile player, he is kind of not fairly rated.
 
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harms

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PD: Leaving the different perceptions we might have about their talent and qualities, Cole suffers the Bebeto perception, the Careca one, because of forming a great partnership with a higher profile player, he is kind of not fairly rated.
With both Bebeto & Careca there was no argument as to who was a better player out of the two. With Cole? I'm not so sure. Yorke had a better season in 98/99 but overall I'd probably rate Cole higher.
 

Fobal

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With both Bebeto & Careca there was no argument as to who was a better player out of the two. With Cole? I'm not so sure. Yorke had a better season in 98/99 but overall I'd probably rate Cole higher.
Yes, but leaving preferences aside between Cole or Yorke, what I've meant it's that for whatever reason, even if they were a lot closer or similar in talent than the other partnerships, he ended being perceived as a lesser player than he was.
The same can be said of Bebeto, or Careca, that even not being in the same scale as their partners, in many ways they still didn't receive the praised they deserved.
 
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KeanoMagicHat

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Gary Neville is an interesting one. He pretty much is the best Premier League right back of all time right? Undisputed pretty much. Maybe Kyle Walker overtakes him when his career is over

Why have we had such a dearth of world class right backs in the Prem?
Think Walker has well overtook Neville by now. Mbappé one of the best players of his time has said Walker was the hardest player he has ever faced and this season he managed to completely limit Mbappé and Vinicius. I remember you could get at Neville to a great extent or didn't have anywhere near that physical capability. He was a far better crosser than Walker, but Walker has been like a cheat code for City in recent years in running down opposition wingers. In general yes right-back is/was a weak area in the PL history partly because it was also a weak area in the English national team historically. Quite late in the day English full-backs were famed for being dependable and not making mistakes rather than any particular standout ability, so it made them behind some Brazilian, Italian and German ones who were given a lot more freedom and bigger roles in their teams. I think the current batch in the PL and for England are as good as Neville or past full-backs - Walker, Trent AA, Reece James, Trippier.
 

dave1956

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Members have mentioned Denis Irwin, for me he never got the accolades he should have done. A very very consistent and intelligent player, an attacking / defending full back who could cross a ball with accuracy. If not World Class was certainly very close to it. Then we have Michael Carrick, certainly not World class, a player given time and space could strike a very telling pass, but when pressed tended to disappear for long periods of time in a game. Played 316 games for Utd., and scored 17 goals averaging 1 every 18 games. Played 34 full England International games and never managed a goal, the only goals he scored for England was when represented the Under 21 side where he played 6 games and scored twice. A World class player no, not even in the top 10 Utd., mid field players of all time.
 

dave1956

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Eric Cantona, World Class A player who played at a constant level through out his playing career. Though he only played 143 games for Utd., he scored a total of 64 goal giving him an average of 1 goal every 2.2 games. Through out his career he played a total of 368 games and scored 131 goals giving him an average of 1 goal every 2.8 games. He maintained this level of performance at international level, representing France at full international level and scoring 20 goals giving an average of 1 goal every 2.2. games.