Rank 9, WorldCupStory Club Index 27,015
Manchester United World Cup XI Dream Team
|MF||Park Ji-Sung||South Korea||2||7||630||2||4|
Competition for places in midfield is the main theme of Manchester United’s world cup dream XI, coupled with a dearth of strikers. Wayne Rooney’s 653 minutes of world cup football has not resulted in a single goal, and Cristiano Ronaldo and Ruud van Nistelrooy have each only managed one World Cup goal whilst at Old Trafford; indeed, as strong a case could be made for Joe Jordan’s inclusion. And so the attacking selection comes down to a couple of forwards who could equally be classified as midfielders: Bobby Charlton and Jesper Olsen. Charlton tops the Manchester United charts both in terms of World Cup minutes played and goals scored and was a prolific enough goalscorer to lead the line in the absence of plausible alternatives.
Behind is a classy combination of natural leaders who have also contributed goals to their country’s cause. David Beckham, Bryan Robson and Park Ji-Sung have all captained their countries in the World Cup, and they are joined by Paul Scholes. The bite of Nobby Stiles and the height of Norman Whiteside made for strong to challenges to the inclusion of Scholes, but neither case in the end was strong enough.
At the back, it is Peter Schmeichel in goal, seeing off both Edwin van der Sar and Fabien Barthez, whose world cup champion performances came when he played for Monaco, and then Gary Neville, Rio Ferdinand, Martin Buchan, and Gabriel Heinze across the back four. Norway’s Ronnie Johnsen was a contender, but could not match the pitch time of Ferdinand and Buchan, and Patrice Evra did not come close to Heinze at left back after the ignominy of France’s 2010 tournament.
So, how would this dream team go against its peers? Well the stats suggest that this team would outperform the other English clubs, but would not measure up against the European club giants from Italy, Germany and Spain. Perhaps the attacking options may be enhanced after 2014, depending how the Netherlands, England and Mexico perform.