It’s not an easy task but it does highlight the fact that, despite some high profile departures over the last few years, such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Cesc Fabregas, The English league still possesses a fearsome array of talent – as well as a lack of world class right-backs. Would this team beat a Primera League select XI? Perhaps some billionaire somewhere could enlighten us by putting just such a game on. Either that or Barcelona vs Brazil please.
Now for the normal back-covering caveats. There are a multitude of notable exceptions in my side. A match fit Essien would make a case for inclusion. Modric, Bale, Mata and Hernandez were certainly knocking on my fantasy door (amongst many others). And many would argue that Ashley Cole is a shoe-in for left back. Anyway, apologies aside, here goes.
Between the sticks
There are some great keepers in the Premier League, but for all round ability in terms of handling, agility, presence and distribution Pepe gets the nod. Doesn’t ‘Reina’ mean ‘queen’ in Spanish? Anyway, Pepe Queen is my goalie.
Left Back – Patrice Evra
Evra matches Ashley Cole for swashbuckling athleticism but has superior technical ability
Centre Back – Nemanja Vidic
Blood, Guts, Thunder – leader of men. Eater of bears.
Centre Back – Vincent Kompany
Personally, I prefer a ball player to complement a bully at the back. In his pomp, Rio Ferdinand would have been one of the first names on my teamsheet. Vermaelen is never fit. So Kompany gets the nod. Don’t get me wrong, Vincent’s a top player, but he just lacks the fantasy of a Rio, who used to have strikers on toast with an effortless flick of the hips. Defending as art.
Right Back- Micah Richards
Bacari Sagna is quality but in the absence of another stand out candidate, and due to recent form, insanely muscular Micah would marshal my right flank. If I had just one of his muscles I’d spend the whole day walking around town showing it off. Everyone look at my tricep!
The Engine Room
Midfield – Steven Gerrard
Usually less effective when he has the England team around him, but he’s a monster in the Premier League. Continued injury problems have kept him out, but when he’s fit he has the lot. The last of a dieing breed of box to box winners. Lethal in front of goal and one of the best crossers of the ball in the league.
Midfield – David Silva
After a quiet start to life at City suddenly everyone seems to think that the little Spaniard is the best player in the league. Not sure about that but on current form he has to be included. What you can say with confidence is that he would stroll into any Premier League midfield. Elusive, progressive passing and vision to match his super skills on the ball. Has he ever actually given the ball away? Can also play behind a striker but he would be pulling the strings in my midfield. Spain has too many of these players. Not fair.
Midfield – Luis Nani
Perhaps a controversial choice to some and can still infuriate at times. However, few can match the natural talent that Nani has honed during his time at Old Trafford. A rare breed of match winner and so exciting to watch, possibly because of his unpredictability. In terms of pure entertainment he makes the football world a better place. With him and Silva periodically interchanging either side of Gerrard your team would go like the clappers.
The Finishing School
Forward – Sergio Aguero
He has had an instant impact on the league with his stocky yet silky dynamism, pace and eye for goal. Like so many foreign imports before him, he may come down with second-season-itis but one suspects that a player of this talent will not suffer such a fate. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to say (without totally lieing) ‘yeah my dad’s Maradona’ . But the flip side is that you would also have to regularly say ‘ No I DON’T know where to get any good coke’.
Forward – Wayne Rooney
Apart from anything, the sheer adaptability of the man makes him hard to exclude. It’s no exaggeration to say that he would be brilliant in any outfield position. Perfect blend of guile and guts. Best English player of my lifetime.
Forward – Luis Suarez
What no Van Persie? The Dutchman is undoubtedly a top player but Luis gets the nod as he better complements the overall balance of my team with his versatility and mobility. Defenders must hate playing against him as he never fails to irritate the opposition back line. Sometimes seems to find the fourth dimension. Suarez is another that has made a huge impression on his new league and would be the final piece of the jigsaw of this blistering attack. Can you imagine how dangerous we would be on the counter? As manager though I would have to insist he took Evra out for a couple of shandies to sort things out first.
So, do you agree? probably not! Answer on an e-postcard please