Manchester United's best Premier League XI: Ronaldo, Rooney & top players of modern era

The Red Devils have won more titles than any other club since England's top flight was revamped in 1992, so who makes their dream team? ...

The Red Devils have won more titles than any other club since England's top flight was revamped in 1992, so who makes their dream team?
  1. GK: Peter Schmeichel
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    GK: Peter Schmeichel

    The goalkeeper is a tough call, with solid arguments to be made for the three mainstays of the Premier League era (Schmeichel, Edwin van der Sar and David de Gea) but the great Dane edges it.

    Key to the success of Sir Alex Ferguson’s early years, Schmeichel left on a high having helped the club land the Treble in 1999.

    His acrobatics, commanding personality, presence and clean sheet record led to him becoming a club icon.

  2. RB: Gary Neville
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    RB: Gary Neville

    A club hero who endeared himself to the Old Trafford faithful for his antics off the ball, namely winding up Liverpool and Manchester City supporters with his over exuberant celebrations.

    Neville, though, was also an excellent and remarkably consistent defender. Over 600 appearances and nearly 20 years, he was a passionate leader for United, who struggled to replace the right-back when he left in 2011.

    He won it all during his time at Old Trafford and led by example with consistent, determined performances.

  3. CB: Rio Ferdinand
    Getty Images

    CB: Rio Ferdinand

    The next two selections come as a pair because, as a duo, Ferdinand and Vidic were formidable.

    The fact that United haven't had such a consistent and solid pairing since their respective departures says it all.

    Expectations were high when Ferdinand arrived as the most expensive British footballer of all time but showed he was worth every penny during his 12 years at the club.

    Indeed, he left having won six Premier League titles and one Champions League, in 2008.

    1. CB: Nemanja Vidic

      CB: Nemanja Vidic

      Ferdinand had already established himself at Old Trafford before Vidic joined him in 2006 but the pair became one of the best centre-back partnerships in Premier League history, never mind just at United.

      The Serb played 211 times in the league and was recognised for his leadership qualities when he was given the captain’s armband.

      His passion and fiery behaviour endeared him to United supporters and he established himself as a fan favourite before he left, along with Ferdinand, in 2014.

    2. LB: Denis Irwin
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      LB: Denis Irwin

      A close contest between Irwin and Patrice Evra for this spot but the former Republic of Ireland international gets the nod for being instrumental in Ferguson's early title wins and the treble-winning campaign.

      There’s a reason the Scot said Irwin should be the first name on the teamsheet of an all-time United XI, as he barely put a foot wrong in his 529 appearances for the club.

      Quick, two-footed, a humble hard worker and a set-piece specialist, he was a sensational servant to the club.

    3. RW: Cristiano Ronaldo
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      RW: Cristiano Ronaldo

      Ronaldo established himself as one of the greatest players in the world during his time at Old Trafford, even if there was more to come from the Portuguese, as he underlined at Real Madrid.

      For the purposes of this team, he’s playing off the right, where he started the majority of games for United. His speed, skill, assists and goals made him a massive crowd favourite.

      He was instrumental to United’s three back-to-back titles between 2006 and 2009, scoring 66 league goals, mainly from out wide.

    4. CM: Roy Keane
      Getty Images

      CM: Roy Keane

      Captain, leader and club legend. Despite the number of impressive characters in this greatest XI, Keane would undoubtedly get the armband.

      He struck fear into opponents, was always there to stand up for his team-mates and was never afraid to put his body on the line. However, his passing skills and ability to dictate the pace of the game were also underappreciated by those outside Old Trafford.

      The outspoken but inspirational Irishman led United to four titles in five seasons between 1998 and 2003 and, for many years, essentially served as Ferguson's on-field lieutenant.

    5. CM: Paul Scholes
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      CM: Paul Scholes

      Speaking of midfield maestros, it would be impossible not to have Scholes in this team. The Englishman is one of the greatest midfielders of the Premier League era.

      A pivotal player in 11 Premier League title triumphs and two Champions League wins, Scholes was the creative hub of Ferguson's finest teams.

    6. LW: Ryan Giggs
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      LW: Ryan Giggs

      The Welsh winger gave defenders nightmares with his pace and ability to whip in an inch-perfect cross. Giggs' dribbling, control, work rate and ability make him one of the club’s all-time greats.

      That famous solo strike against Arsenal in an epic FA Cup semi-final replay perfectly illustrated how dangerous he could be when United were on the counter.

      Giggs played an incredible 22 league seasons before retiring in 2014, winning 13 titles along the way.

    7. FW: Wayne Rooney
      Getty Images

      FW: Wayne Rooney

      The club’s all-time leading goalscorer with 253 goals. Rooney won five titles in 13 seasons at the club, scoring 183 times in the league.

      The former England captain was a gifted workhorse who would always give 100 per cent for the cause and was happy putting a shift in wherever he was required.

      Deservedly handed the captain’s armband, he became a leader in the squad, having matured enormously after first joining the club as an 18-year-old from Everton.

    8. FW: Eric Cantona
      Getty Images

      FW: Eric Cantona

      There are other great players who spent longer at the club and scored more goals but none as iconic as Cantona.

      He inspired title wins in the early Premier League years and by the time he retired in 1997 he had won four in five years. He had an aura about him that intimidated opponents and inspired team-mates.

      Cantona was a talismanic centre-forward who could have continued for a few more years at the highest level.

    9. Substitutes
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      Substitutes

      United have had so many incredible players since 1992 that many world-class performers had to be omitted from our all-time XI.

      At the back, the aforementioned Evra and Dutch defender Jaap Stam, whom Ferguson later admitted he sold too hastily, both miss out.

      In addition, De Gea, regarded as the best in the world during many of his years at Old Trafford and a mainstay in the Premier League team of the year between 2014 and 2018, has to settle for serving as back-up to Schmeichel, with the unlucky Van der Sar missing out completely.

      David Beckham doesn’t make the starting line-up but one of the best crossers of a ball in Premier League history can take consolation in a seat on the bench.

      Mr Reliable Michael Carrick was underrated during his time at the club but played a pivotal role in Ferguson’s midfield as a calming presence. Then, there’s Andy Cole and Ruud van Nistelrooy, who were devastating in attack, scoring 271 goals between them.

      Not a bad supporting cast!

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