Manchester United XI: Class of 1999 vs 2013

Manchester United stars from yesteryear go head-to-head with the current crop of talent - but who comes out on top?

Andrew Gamble
Published 04/09/2013 15:50 by Andrew Gamble, read by 5,809 people.

Manchester United are one of the greatest team in English football, but out of the current crop and the side from 1999, which players would make their dream XI?

Their team of 1999 won the historic treble of the Premier League, the FA Cup, and the UEFA Champions League, and so are regarded by many to be the best United team ever. However, Sir Alex Ferguson has recently claimed his team this season is the best, following their utter domination of the Premier League. But player for player, which side was better?

Goalkeeper: David de Gea vs Peter Schmeichel

Despite a dodgy start in England, United's current no.1 de Gea has been in magnificent form this season. However, the Spaniard can barely be compared to the great Dane. Schmeichel was considered one of the best ever, and even scored a few goals.

Verdict: Schmeichel is the better goalkeeper.

Right-back: Rafael vs Gary Neville

Brazilian Rafael is often more like a winger than a defender, and is considered by many to surpass Neville as United's greatest right-back. However, Neville was more consistent than his successor, and was a key player of the 1999 side.

Verdict: Neville is better that young Rafael, for now.

Centre-back: Rio Ferdinand vs Ronnie Johnsen

Despite maybe losing a yard of pace, Englishman Ferdinand makes up for it with his brilliant reading of the game. Strong on the ground and in the air, he is still one of England's top defenders. Norweigan Johnsen had an influential time at Old Trafford, but the top-class centre-half saw his appearences limited due to injury setbacks.

Verdict: Johnsen was good, but Ferdinand is better.

Centre-back: Nemanja Vidic vs Jaap Stam

2013 captain Vidic has been a revelation since joining United. He has become one of Serbia's greatest football exports, and scores crucial goals. However, like Johnsen, his career has recently become blighted by injury. Jaap Stam is also considered by many to be Manchester United's best centre-back ever, although his Old Trafford career was cut short due to a fall out with Ferguson, and Stam was sold to AC Milan.

Verdict: Vidic's class defeats brilliant Stam

Left-back: Patrice Evra vs Denis Irwin

Over the past few seasons, Evra has become one of United's most consistent players. The Frenchman is a very attacking full-back, scoring vital goals, but also defends brilliantly too. Not as attacking as Evra, Irwin did score plenty of goals from free kicks and penalties. It would be difficult to find, however, a more consistent full-back in English football than Irwin.

Verdict: Irwin was a more complete player than Evra

Right-midfield: Nani vs David Beckham

You never know what you will get with the Portuguese winger. When Nani is good, he looks very good, but when he is bad, he is awful. Dead-ball specialist Beckham was one of football's most feared players. Despite craving to play in the centre, Beckham was far more influential on the right.

Verdict: Beckham all day long.

Centre-midfield: Michael Carrick vs Roy Keane

Perhaps the most underrated player in the Premier League, Carrick truly makes United tick. Since joining from Spurs, this has been his best season, and he is one of the main reasons United have stormed to the title. Irishman Keane was United's 1999 captain, and is arguably their most passionate player ever. Never one to shy away from a tackle, Keane led United for eight years, winning 10 trophies as captain.

Verdict: Carrick is getting very good, but it has to be Keane.

Centre-midfield: Tom Cleverley vs Paul Scholes

Cleverley has recently broken into the England side, despite being relatively new to the United first XI. However, Scholes in 1999 was a world beater, scoring incredible goals. 

Verdict: Scholes, no brainer.

Left-midfield: Ashley Young vs Ryan Giggs

Young had an impressive debut year at United last season after joining from Villa, and despite having an injury-blighted current term, still shows brilliance at times. Giggs, however, is a wonder. Back in 1999, there may not have been a better sight then the Welshman in full flow. 

Verdict: 1999 dominate the midfield, as Giggs comfortably sees off Young.

Striker: Wayne Rooney vs Andy Cole

Since his arrival from Everton, Rooney has transformed from "boy wonder" to a world class striker. At his best, Rooney is unstoppable and will no doubt go down as one of United's best ever players. Andy Cole may not have had the same reputation as Wayne Rooney, but he is one of the club's all time top scorers.

Verdict: Rooney is a more rounded striker than legendary Cole.

Striker: Robin van Persie vs Dwight Yorke

Dutchman van Persie has had a brilliant debut season at United. His 19 league goals have been instrumental in United's  charge to the title. Yorke also couldn't stop scoring in a United shirt, being a massive part of the treble of 1999.

Verdict: Yorke was sensational for the Red Devils, but Van Persie seems better.

Overall: United's side of 1999 is simply far better that the side of 2013, especially in the midfield.


DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeFootball Writing Academy and does not represent the views of or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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