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"George Best was a genius. He was the most gifted lad I've ever seen" | John Giles

Thom Malone
Thom Malone

12:22 3 Apr 2020

John Giles virtually dropped in for his customary Thursday chat with Off The Ball where he named his Manchester United XI.

The best player Giles ever played with or against, Bobby Charlton made the cut in a midfield three with Roy Keane and Paul Scholes.

With bountiful striking options, the attacking combination was always going to be a hot topic, including Manchester United's record all-time goalscorer Wayne Rooney "not quite marching on to greatness."

Eric Cantona, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Mark Hughes and Andy Cole are others who will have to look on as Cristiano Ronaldo and Denis Law fitted in alongside George Best in John's XI.


Giles reserved special praise for the 'fifth Beatle', George Best.

"Best was a genius. He was the most gifted lad I've ever seen. That includes Messi in there", said Giles on Thursday's Off The Ball.

"When I talk about a gift, Georgie Best was the only play I ever saw who'd be dribbling down with the ball and cut inside with his right foot, then go in and cut back outside with his left foot.

"That's how he used to turn defenders inside out. Best was a genius, the most gifted player I've ever seen.

"Unfortunately, he lost his way. He had no protection and I felt sorry for him in that way, but an absolute genius of a player.

Unbelievable

Giles continued: "I have an awful lot of time for Georgie Best, I just wish he could have maintained it for longer than he did.

"But at his best, at his peak, he was unbelievable."

Despite his talent, Giles thought Best rarely played well against Leeds United in Giles' day. That was down to the attention of their feisty right-back Paul Reaney, "who got stuck in."

In an interview from 2001, Best himself rated Reaney as one of the two best defenders he ever played against, to corroborate Giles' assessment of the Manchester United maestro.

Giles added: "He might not have turned it on against us, but he turned it on against everyone else."

The Irish legend did concede the great man did produce it occasionally against Leeds, saying: "He played well against us a few times alright, but not in the magical way that he could."

Here is John Giles' Liverpool XI.

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