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WATCH | John Giles' all-time Manchester United XI

Ciaran Bradley
Ciaran Bradley

20:17 2 Apr 2020

John Giles has chosen his all-time Manchester United XI on Off The Ball this evening, including three Ireland legends - though not himself.

Giles's Manchester United team is as follows:

Peter Schmeichel

Peter Schmeichel, Manchester United

The Dane makes it in ahead of David De Gea and Edwin van der Sar because of his force of personality alongside his performances.

Giles prasied his "[big] presence, his confidence in himself - he even had a few clashes with Roy Keane!"

Schmeichel makes it in ahead of De Gea because while "the present goalkeeper is very good, the last twelve months... I haven't seen a player like Schmeichel drop off like that."

Denis Irwin

Liverpool's John Barnes is blocked by Manchester United's Denis Irwin

Irwin is the first of the Irish contingent in Giles' lineup, with the versatile Corkonian able to play either right or left-back.

Irwin "never got the credit he deserved" in his glittering time at Manchester United, doing his job with minimal fuss but maximum success.

Irwin 'got the job done' and Giles praises him thus: "I never saw him flustered in any of his games."

Nemanja Vidic

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson with new signing Nemanja Vidic during a phot-call at the Academy Building, Carrington, Manchester, Monday January 9, 2006. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA THIS PICTURE CAN ONLY BE USED WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF AN EDITORIAL FEATURE. NO WEBSITE/INTERNET USE UNLESS SITE IS REGISTERED WITH FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION PREMIER LEAGUE.

The Serb makes it in, and John says: "Vidic was the main man, he was the man that went for all the headers, Ferdinand was good on the ball but he was sweeping up.

"Vidic was doing the most important stuff - Ferdinand would catch your eye more than Vidic, but Vidic was the main man."

Giles praises him for his solidity, and it helped that "he could score from corners too."

Jaap Stam

Manchester United's Jaap Stam directs operations from the back

The Dutchman ousts Rio Ferdinand and Steve Bruce from a starting berth, with his three Premier League titles, one FA Cup and a European Cup.

"Stam and Vidic were both good on the ball," John said of his inclusion ahead of Ferdinand.

"Stam was a very, very solid defender. You wanted defenders to defend. Ferguson said he made a mistake in letting him go, and he didn't make many mistakes!"

Tony Dunne

Dublin-born Tony Dunne, who plays at left-back for Manchester United.

The Irishman makes it in at left-back, ahead of compatriot Irwin - though he's in too!

The Dubliner was in receipt of high praise from Giles for his solid performances and 'deceptive' speed.

It is not an easy compliment to get from Giles that Dunne was the "best left-back in England for ten years."

Roy Keane

Manchester United's Roy Keane celebrates his goal

Irwin is not the only Corkonian to have made the XI, with Keane providing steel and leadership in the middle of the park.

Keane was "the driving force, took no nonsense" and was "never satisfied with what the players are doing - the great players do that."

In terms of making it ahead of Brian Robson, Giles contrasted Keane with his former West Brom partner.

"Robson was the best winner of the ball I ever came across, and scored a lot of goals from midfield" but "one of Keane's attributes was driving players on."

He dovetailed well with Paul Scholes too: "Keane won the ball, but didn't use it as well as Scholes - they complemented each other brilliantly."

Bobby Charlton

Bobby Charlton, Manchester United.

Giles reserved special praise for the England legend, Charlton, as the "best player I've played with and played against."

"I played with him in the midfield and he didn't need me, would play with him and he wouldn't give it to me - he'd be threatening the goal with either foot from 40 yards out!

"He scored 270 goals for Manchester United from midfield - that is unbelievable."

Paul Scholes

Paul Scholes (right) rounds Angelo Peruzzi the Juventus goalkeeper to score the second goal for Manchester United in their UEFA Champions League Match at Old Trafford tonight. Photo John Giles/PA.

Scholes makes it in as £the best real midfield player of his time" and for his ability to "[distribute] the ball brilliantly."

Was Scholes appreciated properly for England? Not in the eyes of Giles.

"They never played him in the right position, they always had Gerrard and Lampard in midield and would fit him in on the left when it wasn't his game."

"[Lampard and Gerrard] were great at getting on the end of things, but to get to the end you need a beginning.

"Gerrard and Lampard couldn't control the midfield."

Cristiano Ronaldo

Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo

"When I first saw him, I thought he was too lazy," said Giles of the Portuguese.

"[Ronaldo] was doing the most important thing - looking to score goals," he says, before saying that the onus was on Giles to recognise that rather than castigate the young player.

"He was waiting, taking his time and scoring goals. He is absolutely genius at finding goals, he very seldom makes a goal but he scores loads of them."

Denis Law

Denis Law (c), who smiles at Manchester United manager Matt Busby (r) as he puts pen to paper, watched by agent Gigi Peronace (l) and United assistant manager Jimmy Murphy (c, back).

The Scottish forward was "the most dynamic player I played with or against."

Denis Law was "[one] of the greats and would still be great today."

George Best

George Best, Manchester United

Last word goes to the boy from Belfast.

"Best was the most gifted player I have ever seen, including Lionel Messi in that.

"He was a genius. He lost his way and had no protection, but at his best he was unbelievable.

"He very seldom played well against Leeds, with Paul Reaney and most of the time he kept Georgie down!

"But he turned it on against almost everybody else!"

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Cristiano Ronaldo Football Man United Manchester United Mufc Paul Scholes Roy Keane Soccer

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