World Class players under Alex Ferguson

Fobal

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I loved Tevez when he was at Boca and the way that he seemed to take the mantle that the 2 number 10s before him had laid down. I have a shite memory but it was either the Olympics or an under 21 tournament when I thought that generation of Argentines would dominate the world.

As good as he turned out to be I don’t think he quite cracked the best player in the world bracket that I thought he was going to do but he did very well. I was pissed when he left for Them and even more so when he produced for them.

Sour grapes aside it would have been fun to see him in a side with Messi.
For me he never had the extra quote of an off the chart genius talent or a certified phenom, to be the best player in the world. Yet discussing if he was world class, only in internet, he is the epithome of such label, even as grey and subjective such label always turns to be according to the different angles people defines it.

One thing that also always affected his perception is his 2 years (or initial seasons) I'm the man period, later he tend to dunno, get bored? after making everyone fall in love with him, sthg always happens.

For me the most enjoyable Tevez is the Timao one, the City one and the Juve one was incredible, this last period is kind funny because he was fit as fvck and on a mission, even stranger when we hear more frequently from his ex mates nowadays, that him, like Kun and Messi kind of train like shyte (in Aguero I think that in some way if it's true might have a say in his constant 10 games less per season).
 
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Kylar Stern

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As I see it, this is the list of absolute World Class players from Fergies reign

Goalkeepers

Schmeichel
Van Der Sar

Defenders

Gary Neville
Ferdinand
Vidic
Irwin

Midfielders

Scholes
Keane
Giggs
Robson

Forwards

Cantona
Ronaldo
Rooney
Van Persie

Was tempted to put Hughes, Kanchelskis, Stam and Beckham but for me they fall a level below those listed.
 

Redplane

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As I see it, this is the list of absolute World Class players from Fergies reign

Goalkeepers

Schmeichel
Van Der Sar

Defenders

Gary Neville
Ferdinand
Vidic
Irwin

Midfielders

Scholes
Keane
Giggs
Robson

Forwards

Cantona
Ronaldo
Rooney
Van Persie

Was tempted to put Hughes, Kanchelskis, Stam and Beckham but for me they fall a level below those listed.
Include RvP but not RvN? Fo shame.
 

Jeppers7

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Schmeichel
VDS
Evra
Stam
Rio
Vidic
Keane
Scholes
Becks
Robson
Ince
Giggs
Cantona
Rooney
Ronaldo
Rvn
Rvp

*Veron was world class, just not at United. Blanc also.
 

Borninthe80ts

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For me he never had the extra quote of an off the chart genius talent or a certified phenom, to be the best player in the world. Yet discussing if he was world class, only in internet, he is the epithome of such label, even as grey and subjective such label always turns to be according to the different angles people defines it.

One thing that also always affected his perception is his 2 years (or initial seasons) I'm the man period, later he tend to dunno, get bored? after making everyone fall in love with him, sthg always happens.

For me the most enjoyable Tevez is the Timao one, the City one and the Juve one was incredible, this last period is kind funny because he was fit as fvck and on a mission, even stranger when we hear more frequently from his ex mates nowadays, that him, like Kun and Messi kind of train like shyte (in Aguero I think that in some way if it's true might have a say in his constant 10 games less per season).
I would agree that over his career he became much more streamlined in his approach to the game and the use of his talents. This is a trait many players go through though as they adapt through different factors such as injury and age. However i would definitely argue that he had top level talent at one stage, as I said though this was early on in his career and by the time he reached Europe he wasn’t in that bracket with his peers.

The judgment and levelling of talent is so subjective of course and players are overhyped all the time or conversely underestimated at times. For me I try to look for the base level and top ceiling then give a rating. I never say who will make it for certain or to what level but between 15 and 21 top talents separate themselves. It’s whether they sustain the trajectory is the issue.
 

Licha-Vidic

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.. Sure bet World Class players.

Scholes
Ronaldo
Giggs
Rio
Vidic
Schmeichel
Rooney



Then we have these lot a level below

Keane
Cantona
Becks


RvP
RvN

Neville
Irwin
 

The-Mezzala

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Berbatov on his day was world class . Agree the OP list on everyone mentioned. Maybe older fans could make a case for Robson and Hughes
 

gantherbale

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I would agree that over his career he became much more streamlined in his approach to the game and the use of his talents. This is a trait many players go through though as they adapt through different factors such as injury and age. However i would definitely argue that he had top level talent at one stage, as 192.168.100.1 192.168.1.1 I said though this was early on in his career and by the time he reached Europe he wasn’t in that bracket with his peers.

The judgment and levelling of talent is so subjective of course and players are overhyped all the time or conversely underestimated at times. For me I try to look for the base level and top ceiling then give a rating. I never say who will make it for certain or to what level but between 15 and 21 top talents separate themselves. It’s whether they sustain the trajectory is the issue.
I think under Fergis command he has a top quality players and not so many of them lost their way to the top . that what makes him a legend
 

Fobal

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I would agree that over his career he became much more streamlined in his approach to the game and the use of his talents. This is a trait many players go through though as they adapt through different factors such as injury and age. However i would definitely argue that he had top level talent at one stage, as I said though this was early on in his career and by the time he reached Europe he wasn’t in that bracket with his peers.

The judgment and levelling of talent is so subjective of course and players are overhyped all the time or conversely underestimated at times. For me I try to look for the base level and top ceiling then give a rating. I never say who will make it for certain or to what level but between 15 and 21 top talents separate themselves. It’s whether they sustain the trajectory is the issue.
He always had top level talent, he in fact had world class talent since very very young too, plus he had a very long carreer at the highest level, if anything he is too much underapreciatted, more when it seems here is not even be considered apparently world class.
Yet what I meant by off the charts, is Zico talent alike. He never belonged to that bracket, like Rooney, like Raul, like Villa, Muller (the later one), nowadays with luck might build such status Alvarez, all different some of them more graceful, more complete, but polivalent players that know how to compensate the areas where they are not freakish talented with intelligence and comittment, plus always having of course top top atributes, some of the plays and goals these fellas made, can be signed by freaks. In any case I do agree also that there is a very subjective and romantiocism element too in this.

Of course at a certain period, mostly in every period that there is a generational gap and change (like nowadays for instance), certain players that aren't in the mold of a Cryuff, Alfredo, Pele, Diego, Messi, can be considered the best in the world at a certain moment, in fact it can happen with a Hallaand, Muller (the original one), Batistuta type of player, that are absolutely fantastic yet not off the charts among the upper upper echelon.
 

Borninthe80ts

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I think under Fergis command he has a top quality players and not so many of them lost their way to the top . that what makes him a legend
Sorry did you mean Tevez or Ferguson is a legend? Fergie is a legend for many reasons but getting the best out of players and knowing when to get rid was one of his best traits, baring a few exceptions.
Tevez was a fantastic player but for me just short of say Ronaldinho in his peer bracket. Still a legend for character as much as his play for me.
 

Borninthe80ts

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He always had top level talent, he in fact had world class talent since very very young too, plus he had a very long carreer at the highest level, if anything he is too much underapreciatted, more when it seems here is not even be considered apparently world class.
Yet what I meant by off the charts, is Zico talent alike. He never belonged to that bracket, like Rooney, like Raul, like Villa, Muller (the later one), nowadays with luck might build such status Alvarez, all different some of them more graceful, more complete, but polivalent players that know how to compensate the areas where they are not freakish talented with intelligence and comittment, plus always having of course top top atributes, some of the plays and goals these fellas made, can be signed by freaks. In any case I do agree also that there is a very subjective and romantiocism element too in this.

Of course at a certain period, mostly in every period that there is a generational gap and change (like nowadays for instance), certain players that aren't in the mold of a Cryuff, Alfredo, Pele, Diego, Messi, can be considered the best in the world at a certain moment, in fact it can happen with a Hallaand, Muller (the original one), Batistuta type of player, that are absolutely fantastic yet not off the charts among the upper upper echelon.
I fully agree that he seemed to be a prodigious talent as a youngster and almost played like a number 10 at times. He could pass, dribble and scored too with the character to go far. Sometimes when a player doesn’t meet expectations then they are deemed lesser and lots of great players fall into this category. Especially when viewed without context.

There’s definitely a modern trend to undervalue players. As you say there are a huge variety of players and it’s difficult to measure impact when their influences on the pitch can be so different. However you pretty much hit the nail on the head when you listed those players. They all had a similar level of talent so it’s the personal preference that will dictate how we list them out.

I think it’s down to consistency really. Every player apart from the current anomalies of Messi and Cristiano will go through down periods but bounce back quickly. Generational talents aside, top 10 in your position for me should be deemed world class.
 

Luffy

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Schmeichel
Van Der Sar
Irwin
Pallister
Ferdinand
Stam
Keane
Robson
Giggs
Scholes
Beckham
Hughes
Cantona
Cole
Tevez
van Nistelrooy
Rooney
van Persie
Ronaldo
Edit - Sheringham
 

ThierryHenry14

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As I see it, this is the list of absolute World Class players from Fergies reign

Goalkeepers

Schmeichel
Van Der Sar

Defenders

Gary Neville
Ferdinand
Vidic
Irwin

Midfielders

Scholes
Keane
Giggs
Robson

Forwards

Cantona
Ronaldo
Rooney
Van Persie

Was tempted to put Hughes, Kanchelskis, Stam and Beckham but for me they fall a level below those listed.
Jaap Stam definitely was one of the very best defender play under SAF.
 

black country red

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Just sat reading all the comments on this thread some right rubbish been spouted Rooney and carrick was world class both magnificent players who in their prime would have graced any team in europe as for carrick and the england team who cares national managers where mostly twats keegan picked heskey over andy Cole
 

el3mel

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Just sat reading all the comments on this thread some right rubbish been spouted Rooney and carrick was world class both magnificent players who in their prime would have graced any team in europe as for carrick and the england team who cares national managers where mostly twats keegan picked heskey over andy Cole
There's no way Carrick was world class. Great player but definitely not world class and I don't think this is debatable among neutrals.

Rooney alright but not Carrick.
 

OrcaFat

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World class would be the quality to get into just about any team at the top of the game but maybe longevity should be considered. Minimum should be at least 3 great seasons and relatively close to each other? Most of the list i'd agree with, add Denis Irwin. Paul Ince had three years where he was considered one of the best midfielders in the league.

Can be a bit of a contentious point for some but I'd say Carrick's best form was between 12-13 and then a really good spell later under LVG. Not sure that's consistent enough for World class. I never bought the argument that he was always great before he really started to get more praised.

RVP's talent was never in doubt, but didn't really do it beyond one season. Yorke's stats were ridiculously good in 99 and very good in 00 but i'm not sure that's enough.
I think your definition is a bit strict. That means, for example, there is only one world class left back in the game at any one time. I would at least extend the definition to include anyone who is in the argument to make a world squad of 23.
 

RedRonaldo

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Schmeichel
VdS

Rio
Vidic
Stam
Irwin

Keane
Giggs
Scholes
Beckham
Ronaldo

Cantona
Rooney
Ruud
RVP
 

MattofManchester

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I find it hard not to say that Evra was World Class in his own right.
Arguably the best left back in the League and possibly one of if not the best left back in the world during the bulk of his time here, I'd say he qualifies as World Class.

Feels like we were blessed with so much talent and quality, that what a United supporter would qualify as World Class is very different to what other teams' supporters would consider.

I personally still don't think there's been a Premier League full back that's hit the heights of Cole and Evra since then, but it's all subjective.
 

Isotope

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Why is RvP world class? He only had one good season under SAF. It's like saying Kevin Phillips is world class because of that one season.

Cole, Yorke ad Carrick deserve more than RvP.
 
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Valencia Shin Crosses

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I'd take out Neville, Carrick and Yorke. The first two were damn good players but short of world class for me. Yorke had a world class sesson in 99 but on the whole wasn't world class.

Add Irwin.
Yep this is my answer two. Carrick and Neville were just a level below “world class”. You would have never seriously put them in conversations with Cafu or Xavi for instance.
 

Gene Loblaw

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Is being World Class defined by consistent dominance over a large portion of your career or is it just some World class seasons? RVP had two great years. One with Arsenal and one with United. Genuinely asking if that fits the definition.
 

The Brown Bull

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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
Add Irwin. Still find it hard to fathom how underrated he is even by reds.
Take out Carrick, Yorke and maybe Neville.
 

IrishMcD

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Absolutely 110% would have Denis Irwin in that list. My joint fav player of all time alongside Keano.
Wouldn’t classify Gary Neville as world class, certainly wouldn’t classify Carrick. Think people look back at his time at the club with rose tinted glasses because of how crap our midfielders have been since. He was good, part of an exceptional team with exceptional attacking players and possibly the best defensive unit we’ve ever had playing behind him. He could be extremely frustrating at times. Just my personal opinion though, I know lots of others will disagree with me. And I’m not saying he wouldn’t walk straight into our current team either. But I think my grandmother would too. And she can’t walk.
 

Chesterlestreet

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As with numerous other threads on similar subjects, the problem is that "world class" is a hopelessly vague term.

You need to define what "world class" is first.

The fact that e.g. Pallister counts as "world class" to one poster, whereas Stam does not to another poster says it all.

Surely, nobody would claim that Pallister, at any point of his United career, was objectively a better player than Stam at his best for Fergie.

So, again, it's all about the defintion of "world class". What's the cutoff in terms of seasons (how long does a player need to maintain a certain level in order to be considered "world class"), what's the cutoff in terms of being the best in a particular position (is the 3rd, 4th, 5th...left back right now "world class"...or not?), and so forth.

I have several times before proposed a possible definition of "world class", what you could call the "World Cup squad model":

(Strict version):

Imagine that you could pick a standard WC squad (26 players or thereabouts), representing Earth against...I dunno, the Klingons or whatever. If a player makes that squad, he's world class (at the time of this squad being selected).

(Less strict version):

Alternatively, you could imagine picking two such squads, for a hypothetical "best in the world" exhibition, all-star style match (proceeds would go to victims of recent Klingon attacks). If the player makes either squad, he's "world class".

To me the less strict version makes more sense, because it's frequently very fine margins between players making the cut in the strict version and those who don't. So, allowing for a broader definition (within reason) seems reasonable to me.

Anyway, the wider point here is that "world class" must necessarily be a temporary status. A player isn't permanently "world class", that makes no sense - then you're talking about something else, i.e. the player's historical status, his place among his peers in history, etc.

In other words, it is - should be - possible for a player to be "world class" for a limited period (obviously not five minutes) while at the same time being a fair way down the list of historically great players in his position.

"World class" is about here and now (again, within reason - not five minutes, not based on a purple patch): if you're selected for the squad against the Klingons, you're "world class". Doesn't matter if you follow this up by having ten shite seasons, you were objectively "world class" at the time.
 
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Chesterlestreet

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Absolutely 110% would have Denis Irwin in that list. My joint fav player of all time alongside Keano.
Wouldn’t classify Gary Neville as world class, certainly wouldn’t classify Carrick. Think people look back at his time at the club with rose tinted glasses because of how crap our midfielders have been since. He was good, part of an exceptional team with exceptional attacking players and possibly the best defensive unit we’ve ever had playing behind him. He could be extremely frustrating at times. Just my personal opinion though, I know lots of others will disagree with me. And I’m not saying he wouldn’t walk straight into our current team either. But I think my grandmother would too. And she can’t walk.
The various possible definitions of "world class" notwithstanding, Irwin was a better football player than Gary Neville.

Neville was a solid player (at the top level) with several admirable traits (not least an ability to develop his game over the years), but he is clearly much more of a great United player than a great player as such. Irwin is - in my opinion - somewhat overrated by certain people (he isn't in the Paul McGrath category for me), but yes: sure, he was better than Neville.
 

THE ZOL

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World class criteria: would start at any team in the world at the time and/or did it at the highest levels in Europe.

GKs:
Schmeichel
VdS

Defenders:
Rio
Vida
Evra (him and A.Cole were the best LBs at some point).

Midfielders:
Keane
Becks
Carrick (integral part of our 07-11 UCL run and was regularly putting in top performances in the latter rounds)
Scholes
Giggs

Forwards:
Cristiano
Rooney
Ruud
Eric

Narrowly missed out:
-Irwin
-Andy Cole
-Stam
-RvP only one world class season with us
 

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The absence of Yorke from so many lists is bemusing. He had a ballon D’or level campaign before being consumed by his fame. Done more in that one season than most on these lists did over multiple seasons. RVP on any list with Yorke omitted is bizarre also.

Yorke seems to be more remembered for his post-treble antics than his enormous contributions to said season where he was one of the upper tier cogs.
 

Yagami

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The absence of Yorke from so many lists is bemusing. He had a ballon D’or level campaign before being consumed by his fame. Done more in that one season than most on these lists did over multiple seasons. RVP on any list with Yorke omitted is bizarre also.

Yorke seems to be more remembered for his post-treble antics than his enormous contributions to said season where he was one of the upper tier cogs.
I agree. Yorke produced a better season in 98/99 than any CF in my lifetime. Better than Cantona, Ruud, Rooney, van Persie. He was incredible that year.

He and Beckham were are absolute standouts that year.
 

jamesblonde

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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.
I agree with this. I lived through it. Juve would skin us every year in Europe and Cantona looked out of his depth against the top teams.

Schmeikes and Giggs were our only world class players at the time - mid to late 90s (Keane and Irwin were very good, as was Yorke in '99)
 

Revan

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Schmeichel
VDS

Stam
Evra
Vidic
Rio

Scholes
Keane
Giggs
Beckham
Ronaldo

Cantona
Rooney
RvN
RVP
 

Ibrahimorich

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I agree with this. I lived through it. Juve would skin us every year in Europe and Cantona looked out of his depth against the top teams.

Schmeikes and Giggs were our only world class players at the time - mid to late 90s (Keane and Irwin were very good, as was Yorke in '99)
Yea I lived it too. Cantona was mint but there were so many amazing forwards in that era; Van Basten, Bierhoff, Zola, Batistuta, Weah, Baggio, Romario etc. I don't think he would've been selected for a World XI or 22. English football was a backwater compared to Italy in the early/mid 90s. Keano was world class though. He bossed Juve in that semi.
 

tentan

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Yea I lived it too. Cantona was mint but there were so many amazing forwards in that era; Van Basten, Bierhoff, Zola, Batistuta, Weah, Baggio, Romario etc. I don't think he would've been selected for a World XI or 22. English football was a backwater compared to Italy in the early/mid 90s. Keano was world class though. He bossed Juve in that semi.
good post
 

DJ_21

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Fergie didn’t buy world class players. He created them.
 

Wibble

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Quite a contrast to the current situation no matter who we include/exclude.