|Sir Matt Busby with Roger Byrne and Duncan Edwards|
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.
Manchester United All-Time Team
Manchester United Greatest All-Time Team under Sir Alex
Manchester United Greatest All-Time Team under Sir Busby
Manchester United All-Time team for British isles (excluding England)
This is my selection of a 25 member all-time team for Manchester United's English players. The number 25 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the Champions' League.
Even before the arrival Sir Alex Ferguson in 1986, Manchester United was the most popular club in England, despite not being the most successful side. The Busby Babe created a lot of excitement for English football and then, the Munich air disaster turned the Red Devils into a team that everyone with a heart to follow. By the late 1960's, the Trinity of Bobby Charlton, Denis Law and George Best represented three parts of the United Kingdom. They appealed to the fans from Scotland, Northern Ireland and England. In 1968, Manchester United became the first English side to win the European Cup. After the formation of the Premiership, they became the most successful club in English domestic football overtaking Liverpool for winning the most number of league titles.
|Steve Bruce and Bryan Robson|
GK: Alex Stepney
Alex Stepney played with Millwall before joining Chelsea. He only played one game and was sold to Manchester United in 1966 to replace Harry Greg who was injured during the Munich Disaster. Stepney helped the Red Devils to win the 1968 European Cup. He played with them until 1978 when he left for the NASL. His international career was limited to a single cap, but he traveled to the 1970 WC Finals as a backup.
Rimmer is considered to be the greatest Aston Villa goalkeeper. He won two European Cup medals: 1968 with Manchester United and 1982 with Aston Villa. He was Alex Stepney's understudy in the 1968 Final. In 1982, he only played 9 minutes before getting an injury. He played 3 seasons with Arsenal, where he was their player of the year in 1975. He was capped once in 1976.
GK: Gary Bailey
Bailey started his career with Wits University in Johannesburg. He paid his own fare to Manchester for a trial with Manchester United.
He established himself as United goalkeeper in the late 1970s. He won FA Cup medals in 1983 and 1985. He later played with Kaizer Chiefs, before retiring in 1990. For England, he was only capped twice due to playing at the same time as Peter Shilton and Ray Clemence.
RB: Gary Neville
Along with his brother Philip, David Beckham, Paul Scoles, Ryan Giggs, and Nicky Butt, Gary Neville captained the Manchester United academy team that won the FA Youth Cup in 1991. They all became fixtures for the senior team throughout the 1990's. Gary Neville remained the team until 2011 and was the second, longest serving player. For England, he was the most capped rightback in history.
RB: Mike Duxbury
Duxbury began his career as a right back with Everton, but he signed for Manchester United as a schoolboy in 1975. He made his Manchester United debut in 1980. In 1990, he left United for Blackburn Rovers. He later played for Bradford City and for Golden FC in Hong Kong before retiring in 1994. Duxbury was capped 10 times by England, making his debut in November 1983 and earning his last cap in October 1984.
CB: Rio Ferdinand
Rio Ferdinand became the youngest defender to play for the Three Lions at the time in 1997. He played 81 times for England between 1997 and 2011, and was a member of three World Cup squads. At one point, he was the most expensive British footballer and also broke the world's record transfer fees for a defender twice. He won the Champions' League with Manchester United in 2008. He also played for Leeds United and West Ham.
|Rio Ferdinand |
Steve Bruce played for Gillingham and Norwich before joining Manchester United in 1987, where he would play until 1996. Under Sir Alex Ferguson, he won three Premier League titles, three FA Cups, one Football League Cup and the European Cup Winners' Cup. He also became the first English player of the 20th century to captain a team to the Double. Despite his success with his club, he was never selected to play for England.
CB: Gary Pallister
Pallister played for Middlesbrough before he moved to Manchester United in 1989. His transfer broke the national record for a fee paid for a defender, as well as being the highest fee between British clubs. By the time of his departure from Old Trafford after nine years, he was the only player to have collected winner's medals in all of the club's successes under Alex Ferguson's management. He was capped 22 times.
CB: Bill Foulkes
Bill Foulkes was a one club man. played for Manchester United in the Busby Babes teams of the 1950s, and also in the 1960s. His favoured position was centre-half. For Manchester United, he played 688 games which places him at number 4 on the all-time list of appearances. He was a part of the 1968 European Cup winning team. He was capped once by England.
Roger Byrne was the captain of the Busby Babes from the 1955–56 season onwards. With Manchester United, he won the league title in 1952, 1956 and 1957. He earned 33 caps with England while playing in every England's fixtures in that period, a record for England. This remains a record. Unfortunately, he died at the age of 28 in the Munich Air Disaster.
LB: John Aston Sr
John Aston Sr's made his debut for Manchester United in 1946. He was a one club player. He played in the 1948 FA Cup Final triumph over Blackpool at Wembley Stadium. He left the club in 1954 after scoring 30 goals in 284 appearances.He won 17 England caps between 1948 and 1950, all at left-back, and featured in the 1950 FIFA World Cup. His son John Aston Jr also played for Manchester United.
DM: Nobby Stiles
Stiles played for England for five years, winning 28 caps and scoring 1 goal. He played every minute of England's victorious 1966 FIFA World Cup campaign. Stiles played the majority of his club career for Manchester United, spending eleven years at Old Trafford. He won the European Cup in 1968. After retirement, he was famously known for the youth coach for Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Paul Scholas, Gary Neville, Phil Neville and Nicky Butt.
CM: Michael Carrick
Michael Carrick started his career with West Ham and Tottenham Hotspurs before moving to Manchester United in 2006. At Old Trafford, he won every major trophy for club football, including the Champions' League Title in 2008. At the international level, he played 34 times for England between 2001 and 2015. He went to the World Cup Finals in 2006 and 2010.
Bryan Robson was at one point the most expensive British player when he joined Manchester United from West Bromwich Albion in 1981. He is considered to be one of England's best ever box-to-box midfielders. He earned 90 caps for England. He went to three World Cup Finals, but he only played a major role in 1982. He was injured in both World Cup Finals in 1986 and 1990. He spent 13 years with Manchester United, winning the Cup Winners' Cup for the season 1990–91.
CM: Duncan Edwards
Duncan Edwards was one of the Busby Babes of Manchester United. He made his professional debut at the age of 16. He was the youngest player to play in the Football League First Division. He died in 1958 during the Munich Air Disaster at the age of 21. Many people considered him to be England's greatest player. He was a dominating central midfielder of his time. For the English national team, he was capped 18 times between 1955 and 1957, scoring 5 goals.
|Duncan Edwards |
Scholas was a member of Manchester United's Class of 1992. He spent 20 years with Manchester United's first team. He won 11 Premier League, three FA Cup and two UEFA Champions League winners medals. He earned 66 caps for England before he retired from the Three Lions in 2004. His cap total was limited because of playing the same generation with Frank Lampard and Steve Gerrard.
AM: Sir Bobby Charlton
Sir Bobby was considered one of the greatest midfielders of all-time. He was capped 106 times by England and led England to World Cup victory in 1966. He is also England's all-time leading scorer and all-time cap leader at the time of his retirement. He was selected for four World Cups (1958, 1962, 1966 and 1970). For club career, he almost played his entire career with Manchester United. He was the hero of Manchester United's the first ever European Cup trophy in 1968. He won the Ballon D'Or in 1966.
Beckham is the greatest ever icon to play the game. He started his career with Manchester United where he was a part of the famous team that won the 1992 FA Youth Cup. For the senior side, he won 6 Premiership titles and the 1999 Champions' League. In 2003, he joined Real Madrid for the well-publicized "Galacticos" signing. In 2007, he moved to LA Galaxy, where he kickstarted a soccer fever in the United States. For England, he earned 115 caps and was a key part of the national team throughout his career.
Coppell played or Tranmere Rovers while he studied for a degree in economic history at the University of Liverpool. In 1975, he joined Manchester United. He helped the club to win promotion that year. From 1977 to 1983, he earned 42 caps for England. He played in the 1982 World Cup Finals, despite suffering from an injury. He retired in 1983 at the age of 28.
LW: George Wall
Wall started his career with Boldon Royal Rovers and played for Whitburn and Jarrow before joining Barnsley in 1903. In 1906, he transferred to Manchester United and helped them win the 1908 and 1911 league titles, as well as the 1909 FA Cup. He left the club in 1915 because of World War I and joined Oldham Athletic after the war in 1919. He later played for Hamilton Academical, Rochdale Ashton National and Manchester Ship Canal. Wall also won seven caps for England, scoring two goals
RW/LW: Lee Sharpe
Sharpe joined Manchester United from Torquay United as a youngster in 1988. He played a key part in United's success in the European Cup Winners' Cup in 1990–91. However, injuries and the emerge of Ryan Giggs limited his career with Manchester United. He later played left back and right wing for them. He left Manchester United in 1996 and never found stardom. Sharpe was capped eight times by England between 1991 and 1993.
FW: Wayne Rooney
In 2002, Rooney made his debut as a 16 years old with Everton. Less than a year later, he became England's youngest international when he played against Australia. He made his big tournament debut at Euro 2004. He scored 4 goals and named as a member of the tournament's best XI. At the time of writing, he is England's key player for every major tournament since Euro 2004. As for Manchester United, he has won 5 Preimer League titles. In 2008, he formed a partnership with Cristano Ronaldo and won the Champions' League.
Dennis Viollet came through the junior ranks at Manchester United and turned professional in 1950. His first game for the club came against arch-rivals Newcastle United on 11 April 1953. He was a striker, along with Tommy Taylor for the Busby Babes of the 1950s. He was a survivor of the Munich air disaster. He played twice for England, debuting in 1960 against Hungary.
ST: Tommy Taylor
Tommy Taylor was one of the eight Manchester United players who lost their lives in the Munich air disaster. He was 8 days past his 26th birthday. He started with Barnley and moved to Manchester United in 1953. For England, he was seen as the perfect eventual replacement for the ageing Nat Lofthouse in the England side. In all, he played 19 times for England, scoring 16 goals. He managed two hat-tricks for the England team.
ST: Jack Rowley
Rowley mainly remembered for a 17-year spell with Manchester United. He was nicknamed "The Gunner" because of his prolific goalscoring and explosive shooting, scoring 211 goals in 424 appearances for United between 1937 and 1954. He is one of only four players in the history of Manchester United to score over 200 goals for the club. He was also capped six times for England scoring six goals, four of which came against Northern Ireland in 1949.
Reg Allen, Jack Crompton, Ray Wood, Andy Cole, Frank Barson, Stuart Pearson, Stan Pearson, Joe Spence, Allenby Chilton, Teddy Sheringham, Jack Silcock, Eddie Colman, Johnny Berry, David Pegg, Albert Scanlon, Charlie Mitten, Charlie Moor, Brian Kidd, David Sadler, Mark Jones, Nicky Butt, Paul Ince.
-- Ten of my players made my all-time Manchester United team. They are Alex Stepney, David Beckham, Gary Neville, Bill Foulkes, Rio Ferdinard, Sir Bobby Charlton, Roger Byrne, Duncan Edwards, Bryan Robson and Paul Scholas.
--The third keeper was difficult to choose. Gary Bailey, Reg Allen, Jack Crompton and Ray Wood all played with each other. In the end, I chose Gary Bailey because he is the longest serving starter among the four keepers. Alf Steward and Harry Moger were also considered.
-- The four centerbacks are easy to choose. Steve Bruce, Rio Ferdinard, Gary Pallister and Bill Foulkes are among the greatest defenders ever played for the club.
-- Charlie Moore was an old-timer whom I did not know much.
-- I do not have much choices for leftback after Roger Byrne. John Aston Sr. edged out Jack Silcock because Silcok played mainly in the 2nd division.
-- Michael Carrick played 12 seasons with Manchester United. In his career, he was often overshadowed by other star players in the squad, but he was an unsung hero to the club.
-- The right midfield/wing position has many options. Both David Beckham and Steve Coppell are known as Manchester United's all-time greats. Eddie Colman, Joe Spence and Johnny Berry also deserved serious considerations.
-- On the left side, the options are much more limited. I have the following English players: David Pegg, Lee Sharpe, George Wall (most appearance), Albert Scanlon and Charlie Mitten. While it is a great list, I do not have a "David Beckham" on the left. In the end, I took Wall because he served the longest with the club. Pegg's career was cut short by the air disaster in Munich.
-- Lee Sharpe took the 25th spot. He was extraordinary in his peak, but his peak was very short. In the end, I took him because the team lacked left wingers. Joe Spence who is listed among the legends on official website of Manchester United and Andy Cole were also seriously considered for the last spot.
-- Wayne Rooney is Manchester United's all-time leading scorer and the only player to have scored 250 goals for the Reds. I do not think the fans respected him as much as he deserved.
|David Beckahm, Gary Neville and Paul Scholas|
I tried to put the best eleven players on the field. Rooney on the left is very weird, I admitted. Starting George Wall or Lee Sharpe might be a more realistic formation.