Possession. Distribution. Disruption. Play-making. The role of the midfielder is the pivot on which a team’s performance turns, so it’s no surprise that the most successful club in the Premier League era has had some of the best midfielders ever. The legendary Class of ’92 was largely comprised of midfielders drilled to perfection, and they are no doubt going to feature heavily in most people’s teams.
Although Bryan Robson is mostly associated with the 1980s, he qualifies for the Premier League dream team thanks to an engine that kept him at the heart of the United team until 1994. He remains to this day Old Trafford’s longest-serving captain, and captained England many times, despite suffering bad luck with injuries during most of the international Finals.
This brings us to Fergie’s Fledglings, without doubt the Premier League’s most successful midfield intake, but possibly the most coveted middle line in club football history. Although some left Old Trafford during the golden period, they will be forever associated with United.
Paul Scholes was the wizard of United’s midfield for most of the nineties and noughties, his distribution and footballing brain being instrumental in 25 trophies including 11 Premier League titles and two Champions Leagues. This local lad came up through the ranks at United and joined the professional squad in 1993, securing his place in 1994/5 with five goals. He retired in 2011 but loyal to the end, he returned in 2012 to help the Reds through an injury crisis.
After 23 years, 963 appearances and 114 goals for United, Ryan Giggs finally hung up his boots at the age of 40. His impact on the team, both on the field and as an inspiration to the whole club, can never be overstated. He would go on to be interim manager after Moyes left, and then served as van Gaal’s assistant.
In his day, David Beckham was the most recognisable face in world sport, let alone football, with his film star looks and glamorous lifestyle making him a tabloid hero – and sometimes villain. Football has always had its glamour players, but it’s Beckham’s hard work and skill with the ball that truly made him the complete package. His famous free kicks for club and country made his name, and he took success with him wherever he played.
In more recent times, United have been blessed with incredible midfield talent, and with a few trophies in the Mourinho cabinet, a title challenge is on the cards for the first time in five years. Choosing between Carrick, Pogba, Herrera, Mata, Lingard, Young, Fellaini and Mkhitaryan will be a challenge in itself.