We continue with our ‘best ever’ vote series, where we put across a selection of players to you, the reader, in attempt to define our readers’ XI. The poll remains open for five days and we will also be running our writers’ XI and revealing our former player contributors XI’s too.
The team will be assembled in a 4-4-2 formation. We are aware that certain difficulties will be presented when considering players from older generations where the formation doesn’t quite fit. The most common example of this is Duncan Edwards who played at half back. This was an era when four man defences were only just coming into the fore and were certainly unfamiliar in British football, and the half back played on the outside of what would be classed as a modern midfield three. However, their duties included pushing wide when defending, assuming the role of a modern full back. For this reason, where such a player excelled in two roles, we will include the player in both categories we feel appropriate and if that player scores highest in both categories, whichever one he attracted the most votes in will determine the position he will be selected in.
Today we look at the right wing.
Joe Spence played at United for fourteen years from 1919 to 1933. He scored 168 goals in 510 appearances, putting him high up on both respective lists – and, during a turbulent period for the Old Trafford club, he was arguably the best performer at the time. However, our poll only includes six names, and sadly he misses out in place of Willie Morgan, a swashbuckling dribbler who played well over two hundred times, entertaining Old Trafford in a period of much transition.
George Best and Cristiano Ronaldo are two players, much like Edwards in our previous poll, who split opinion as to where their best position was. They all played in a variety of positions and so they will be included in other areas too. In the 1968 European Cup Final Best nominally played from the right, and, in his best two seasons at United, Ronaldo operated from the right hand side.
Steve Coppell is easier to categorise due to the fact that he played as a right winger and that was that – his engine was outstanding and he holds the record for consecutive Manchester United games played. Forced to retire at just 28, there is little doubt that the diminutive wide man could have played late into his thirties.
Andrei Kanchelskis is another whose Old Trafford career was over all too soon and the heartbreak surrounding his departure meant that even with the acrimonious circumstances around his transfer to Everton, the winger is not loathed – indeed, he is fondly remembered for his blistering speed and number of outstanding goals scored on the counter attack.
David Beckham succeeded Kanchelskis and went on to become a global superstar – his reputation for long range goals was followed by a reputation as one of the greatest strikers of a dead ball in world football. He was a poster boy alright but also the poster boy for what hard work gets you.
The vote will last for five days.