Sunday, 24 April 2011

My Favourite Premiership XI: A.D. Winn

Blogging has been somewhat non-existent of late and I have a range of poor excuses for that which I shall not bother even mentioning. Over the coming week I shall be putting up some of  the features and interviews I have done for but in the mean time, as it is a Sunday, I thought it would be good to put up another post in the 'My Favourite Premiership XI' series. This time it is A.D.Winn who has kindly taken the time to give us a side comprising of all the players they have most enjoyed watching over the past two decades.

For my goalkeeper, there’s only one rational choice here. Peter Schmeichel was, at times, unbeatable. Being 6ft 4in gives you one kind of advantage when faced with oncoming strikers, but being able to appear almost double that at times meant that shot-stopping seemed almost unfairly tilted in his favour. Add to that his ability to claw away what sometimes looked like the most unreachable efforts on goal puts him in a category of one for the best goalkeeper to grace English football.

You were unlikely to get many goals out of Gary Kelly, but he was dependable, hard-working, and loyal to his club, which are traits I’d happily have in my XI. His presence means I would be putting Denis Irwin on his weakened foot, though the former United full-back played the majority of his United career in that role, keeping Phil Neville out of a regular first-team place until the Irishman was near retirement age. Irwin’s ability at free-kicks and penalties would be ideal too; it’s one of those rare treats in football when someone unexpected deals with set pieces. I’d happily have them either side of Frank Leboeuf and, somewhat of an unexpected choice perhaps, but Brede Hangeland. I’ve never had a bad word to say for the Norwegian, I find his style of defending to be one that many of the so-called top four could actually benefit from having 40 times a season, and would happily have him alongside the World Cup winning Leboeuf.

The biggest problem my XI appears to have is the two central midfielders are quite similar. McAllister and Le Tissier were both set piece and penalty takers, heavily focused towards creativity and awareness on the ball and, well, hardly known for their out-and-out defensive abilities. It could be argued that both players were able to control games more when they had a more defensive partner alongside them, worthy names like Batty, Hamann... um... Magilton?

McAllister’s European goal against Rangers in 1992 was one of my earliest memories in football of thinking “wow; that was great!” Le Tissier, much like Cantona or a more modern day example in Berbatov, had the ability to do so much looking like he did so little.

The backup here is that if Matt or Gary ever had an off day, I think having Sinclair and Sinton as the wingers would give you plenty assists in any given game; a tactic which is downright crucial considering I have Thierry Henry and Kevin Phillips leading the line.

Henry was the worst name to see on the team-sheet when your team played Arsenal. He would always seem to score, just at a point in the game where you think things were turning in your teams favour. With 226 goals in 369 games for Arsenal he was, and perhaps still is, the epitome of excellence.

Phillips is in not just because he is a fantastic goalscorer, but because I’ve followed his career since he was at Baldock Town, around the same time that I was playing for one of their many youth teams. One day I will sit down to interview him, making sure to tell him that he is the best striker I have ever paid money to watch play.

Thoughts, comments and opinions please...

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