So, you may have heard the Premier League is planning to open it’s own Hall Of Fame. It’s led to many football fans debating their greatest ever Premiership XI.
So, during time where we are light on discussion, I will be putting together my best team of the decade for each of the Premier League’s 3 decades.
My only criteria is you can only pick one player to represent each position in your team of the decade. For the 90’s you will see a majority of Arsenal and Man United representation, which is logical, as apart from Blackburn we were the only competition really to United at the time.
Plus just remember there is nothing really to be angry about is there?
Here is my team of the decade for the 90’s…
Peter Schmeichel (Man United)
What separates the good from the great is their ability to make such a good save it is as good as scoring a goal, that’s how vital it is to the team. That’s what Schmeichel did in critical games in critical moment of seasons. Think how Many United’s trebles would have gone differently without his performance in the FA Cup Semi Final and Champions League Final? Many strikers, including Ian Wright, have admitted getting to the point of mentally being affected by the presence of the Dane
He had made such a reputation that he had gotten into forwards heads.
Gary Neville – RB (Man United)
A classic example of someone who worked 100 per cent to get the best out of his talent. Technically not the best, but pure work rate assures him be one of the first of the ‘Class of 92’ to break through, never losing his position until his retirement. He was underrated for his ability to get forward and put in the final ball. He had a great understanding with his best friend David Beckham for both club and country.
Sol Campbell – CB (Spurs)
Of course, it wouldn’t be till the next decade when Sol Campbell would complete one of the most controversial transfers in English Football. At that point though since the Premiership creation he had put together the body of work that made him in such high demand when his contract expired.
The reason Spurs fans were so angry he left was in fact because they loved him. Since graduating from their academy, he had been their most consistent player and was just as good a defender as we saw at Highbury. He is still a Spurs captain who can say he won the title at White Hart Lane. Do you think they would be proud?
Tony Adams CB- (Arsenal)
Of course, you could just put the whole famous Arsenal back 5 in this team, a defence that Adams controlled. To not just worry about your own game but constantly be making sure the whole back 4 had the right shape takes a lot of focus. Off the pitch he welcomed the likes of Bergkamp, Vieira and Henry to Highbury, teaching them the values of the club. He ended up though one of the Premiership’s great stories. Admitting alcohol addiction, the introduction of Arsene Wenger extended his professional life. He was used to a heavy drinking culture. Many English players, including our captain, credited the Frenchmen’s training and dietary ideas for adding a few years onto their careers.
Denis Irwin – LB (Man United)
Technically not great and not the type of fullback younger fans may associate with today, but sometimes you need a player who will guarantee you a solid 7 or 8 out of 10 every week. He could defend, get forward, take a decent free kick, and never missed from the spot. He was a leader on the field but stayed out of the spotlight off it.
Patrick Vieira – DM (Arsenal)
Part of the famous midfield partnership with Petit that won the World Cup the same year they were winning us the domestic Double. Perhaps the early signing which reflected the vision Arsene Wenger had. Even before signing the Frenchman advised the player based on his knowledge of youth football back in his native France. Vieira was good on the ball but also had the physicality not to be bullied. Credit must go to our old British back 4 for molding him into the captain he became, and teaching him the meaning of the crest. He in turn would pass that on to the French connection that would grow at our club. One of the first foreign players to really fall in love with the values of the badge. Why do you think he kept colliding with Roy Keane?
Paul Scholes – CM (Man United)
Could have made the team for the following decade as well. That was more about his footballing brain; dropping back, picking out passes and dictating the tempo of the game. This decade though was the more exciting Scholes; Scoring from 20 yards out, timing his runs into the box, and for someone so small he had a great leap/header on him. The only thing he never mastered was the art of tackling..
David Beckham – RM (Man United)
Some believe he was overrated but to me he maximised his potential. No one can doubt his love for Man United or England. What he had this decade which no one else had was, either from set pieces or in open play, being the best crosser of the ball in the world. If I was sending out this team for a game who wouldn’t want Beckham taking a corner of free kick.
Dennis Bergkamp – AM (Arsenal)
The player who was the transition between ‘Boring Boring Arsenal’ and Arsene Wenger’s Entertainers. One of the first great imports to arrive in the Premiership. I have often described the Dutchman as not a great goalscorer but a scorer of great goals! He would drop deep and spot the runs of Overmars, Anelka, Henry, Pires, Ljungberg, etc, in this and the following decade. He could also physically look after himself
Gianfranco Zola – LM (Chelsea)
Those newer to the sport might find it hard to believe but the Premiership wasn’t always filled with talent from abroad. In the late nineties it felt like only the very best were arriving. Zola became one of the faces of players who showed foreigners talent and skill could survive in English Football, renowned for its physicality. The biggest credit you can give Zola is most Arsenal fans will tell you he was entertaining to watch, some amazing skills, despite the fact that he played for Chelsea. This was the pre Abramovich so the Blues were mostly a cup team, but he’s still fondly remembered, often voted Chelsea’s greatest player ever.
Striker – Shearer ( Blackburn, Newcastle)
Fans not aware of this era need to understand the role of your striker was very different in the 90’s. In 2020, you need to do more than put the ball in the back of the net, it’s about your hold up play, linking up, pressing, etc. In this decade you could be in the area, wait for the right cross, be a goal poacher, etc. Shearer’s record shows he was one of the best in this country at doing that. Not the most exciting player of all time but simply a superb finisher. No man has scored more in this League then Shearer and that was at Blackburn and Newcastle. Imagine if he had moved to Old Trafford?
Who would make your team of decade for the 90’s?
Be kind in the comments