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17th Oct 2023

Alex Ferguson says only one player guaranteed in his all-time Man United XI

Callum Boyle

Alex Ferguson

Only one ‘unbelievable player’ is guaranteed a spot

Alex Ferguson has said that there is only one player that would be guaranteed a place in his all-time Manchester United XI.

During his 26-year stint as United boss, Ferguson won it all and had some pretty good players to help him conquer football over the years. Talent such as Eric Cantona, Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo were just a few of the world class names he had at his disposal.

When the legendary Scot announced his retirement in 2013 he was asked to name his all-time Man United XI, however, there was only one player he was certain of making the squad.

Speaking to the Sunday World at the time, he said: “People ask you: ‘Who is your best Man United team?’ and it’s absolutely impossible.

“It is absolutely impossible. You look at the strikers I had, going back to [Brian] McClair, [Mark] Hughes, [Andy] Cole, Cantona, [Ruud] van Nistelrooy, [Louis] Saha, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, [Dwight] Yorke, Teddy Sheringham.

“Then to the present players — Wayne Rooney, [Robin] van Persie, Chicharito [Javier Hernandez]. How do you pick out of that? Cantona and somebody else maybe?”

Alex FergusonAlex Ferguson shares a laugh with new Man United signing, Rio Ferdinand at a press conference at Old Trafford, in 2002. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Alex Ferguson on his one definite selection

“The midfield was probably a bit easier,” Alex Ferguson continued, “because you have [Roy] Keane, [Bryan] Robson and Scholes — they were fantastic players — and [David] Beckham, Ronaldo and [Ryan] Giggs.

“Honestly, I would say Denis Irwin would be the one certainty to get in the team. I called him an eight out of 10.

“At Highbury in one game, he had a bad pass back in the last minute and [Dennis] Bergkamp came in and scored. After the game, the press said: ‘You must be disappointed in that pass back.’ I said: ‘Well, one mistake in 10 years isn’t bad.’ He was an unbelievable player.”

Irwin made 468 appearances for United and lifted seven Premier League titles, a Champions League, two FA Cups and a League Cup during his 12 years at the club.

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