This will definitely start some controversy, but I’m all for it. United fans need some distractions during the government shut down, and here is mine… Putting together a squad of former United players who played from 2000 to 2009 as well as picking a home, away, and third kit from the period.
There will be a “part two” to this series for 2010 to 2019 to come. Players can only be used once per decade, so you will only see players who played in both decades once (i.e. Rooney).
Going for the traditional Sir Alex style, this line-up will be a 4-4-2.
Lets get started.
Strikers: Ruud van Nistelrooy, Wayne Rooney, Andy Cole (bench)
Andy Cole on the bench is a tragedy, but United had a number of world class strikers at their disposal in this time. The depth here is insane.
Ruud van Nistelrooy was recently praised by Paul Scholes in an interview on the United Podcast as the best finisher he ever played with. Which is striking since Scholes also played with the likes of Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke, Solskjaer, Van Persie, and Rooney.
Speaking of the latter… Wayne Rooney starts next to Ruud. Rooney signed with United in 2004 and the rest is simply history. As United’s #1 all-time goalscorer, Rooney had (arguably) his best years with United before 2010, which is why I’ve placed him here and not in the next.
Midfielders: Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Scholes, Roy Keane, Ryan Giggs, David Beckham (bench), Nicky Butt (bench), Michael Carrick (bench)
My first three picks, Ronaldo, Scholes, and Giggs came easy. Hard to leave any of them out or on the bench. Beckham coming off the bench is nuts, but he’s not a center midfielder and I’d pick Giggs over him (no offence Becks).
O’ captain! My captain! Roy Keane. Tough as nails on the pitch, whether it was match day or training day. The likes of Keane has been missed at United for a long time. While the likes of Carrick and Butt provide some solid depth (which is again, missed).
Defenders: Gary Neville, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra, Dennis Irwin (Bench)
I don’t need to defend the selection of Ferdinand and Vidic as starters. Their resume speaks for itself, and in my humble opinion, they are the best center back pairing of all time in the Premier League. Period.
Uncle Pat and GARY Neville (sorry Phil) start at full-back, almost resembling the 2008 Champions League final back four (sorry Wes Brown).
Goalkeeper: Edwin van der Sar, Fabien Barthez (bench)
Edwin van der Sar was United best goalkeeper in that decade. Although it wasn’t much of a race. Barthez started towards the beginning of the decade, hence his bench spot here, but van der Sar was a tier or two above him in quality.
So there you have it, my dream team from 2000 to 2009. Be sure to comment with your banter and changes as making these selections was tough given that these were peak United years.
For the record, if I had to pick a third kit… The all black from 2007-2008. This kit was straight fire. Perhaps whoever is designing United’s 2020-2021 kits should put down whatever their smoking and look back on the 2007-2008 kits…