Roy Keane has continued to make headlines recently by taking shots at his old boss Sir Alex Ferguson and the club he captained for years, Manchester United. Now Keane has revealed his all-time Manchester United XI from the Premier League era and it is more notable for its absences than who is on the team.
Keane of course included himself in the best XI while omitting Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney.
For me, the biggest omission is Paul Scholes, the single more technically gifted and adept passer English football has produced in the last two decades. Scholes’ style didn’t always fit the English game but at Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson knew how to utilize this most precious of assets. Paul Ince, who made the team ahead of Scholes, was no doubt a great player but lacked the Scholes level of quality that was the most mouthwatering of any English player of his generation.
Despite being a core player for the entire Premier League era at Manchester United and showing a tactical flexibility rare in the British game, Giggs has been omitted. While Cristiano Ronaldo certainly deserves his place in the side, it can be argued that David Beckham, a great player in his own right, should be bumped for Giggs. But then again, perhaps Keane is trying to keep the team as position specific as possible.
As for Wayne Rooney, his omission for Eric Cantona is understandable but not for Ruud Van Nistelrooy. Consistency and scope of performances have to be considered when determining this list and while the Dutchman had his fair share of match winning moments, Rooney has had the number of title and trophy winning moments that no other United attacking player since Cantona has enjoyed. This omission is galling but when dealing with Roy Keane, who knows if it was malicious or just a matter of opinion.
In his recently released updated autobiography, Sir Alex Ferguson has spoken of Keane’s mood swings that kept his teammates on edge. Perhaps this ultimate team sheet of his was just a passing moment in time or is it really what he thinks?
Editor’s note: For the latest Red Devils news, analysis and opinion, visit the Manchester United team page.
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