United Trinity statue outside the Manchester United football stadium

Manchester United: My Top 10 Players


Mik Bowers. DAZN Bet’s very own football fanatic, and unashamed Man-U fan, brings us regular highlights of his favourite games. If you’ve missed the game, or just want a reminder, then Mik’s got you covered. Mik gives us his thoughts on the matches, focusing mainly on the FA Cup, The Premier League and occasional games from the major European tournaments. This week, in preparation for the all-Manchester FA Cup final Mik is sharing some of his favourite United players.

Man U top 10 players Mark Hughes


If you ask any football fan, of any team, in any league in the world, they will have favourite players. Those certain ones they regarded as a special talent, someone the team couldn’t do without. Someone who held that team together, who made the team play better when they played. Whatever the reason, everyone has favourite players, and not everyone agrees. Fans can be split on a particular player, some may like them, some may not. That’s why people can talk about football for hours!

It’s no secret I support Manchester United, most of my match reports will include them. So, I am going to do a summary of who is in my list of top 10 players from United. As a disclaimer, I am only including players I actually saw play, so although some United purists may ask why Sir Bobby Charlton, Dennis Law and George Best did not make my list, I can only say I never actually saw them play.

Over the next week or so, I will compile my list and share. Don’t forget, this is only my opinion. Agree, or not, that’s up to you.

So without further ado, starting at Tenth and working down to First here is my list of top ten Manchester United players

List of my Top 10 Players of Manchester United

10. Mark Hughes

Mark Hughes Forward, Profile & Stats | Premier League

Leslie Mark Hughes, born on November 1, 1963, in Ruabon, Wales, is widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers to emerge from Wales. Known for his exceptional skill, determination, and leadership qualities, Hughes left an indelible mark on the footballing world both as a player and a manager.

Hughes began his football journey at a young age, showing promise and talent from the outset. He joined the Manchester United youth academy at the age of 15, where he honed his skills and developed as a player. His dedication and hard work paid off when he made his professional debut for Manchester United in 1983.

During his playing career, Hughes earned a reputation as a fierce and formidable striker. He possessed incredible strength, technical ability, and an eye for goal. Hughes spent two separate spells at Manchester United, from 1980 to 1986 and 1988 to 1995, becoming a fan favourite. “Sparky” as he was known, scored 120 goals for United during those two spells at the club.

His time at Manchester United was marked by numerous successes. He won two Premier League titles, four FA Cups, and the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup. Hughes played a crucial role in the team’s triumphs, forming formidable partnerships with the likes of Brian McClair and Eric Cantona. His ability to score crucial goals in big matches cemented his status as a Manchester United legend.

After his successful stint at Manchester United, Hughes embarked on a journey that took him to several top clubs across Europe. He played for Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and Chelsea, leaving an impact wherever he went. His time at Barcelona saw him win the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, further adding to his impressive list of accolades.

Representing Wales on the international stage, Hughes was a key figure in the national team’s setup. He made his debut for Wales in 1984 and went on to earn 72 caps, scoring 16 goals. Despite Wales not qualifying for major tournaments during his playing days, Hughes showcased his immense talent and determination while leading his country’s forward line, he makes most fans’ Top 10 Players lists for Wales as well as United.

Following his retirement as a player, Hughes transitioned into football management. He took charge of the Welsh national team from 1999 to 2004, leading them in their campaign for qualification to Euro 2004. Under his guidance, Wales made significant progress and narrowly missed out on a place in the tournament.

Hughes’s managerial career also saw him take charge of various English clubs, including Blackburn Rovers, Manchester City, Fulham, and Stoke City. At Blackburn, he led the team to League Cup success, ending a 74-year trophy drought. Hughes was renowned for instilling discipline, tactical astuteness, and a never-say-die attitude in his teams.

Mark Hughes’s impact on Welsh football and the broader footballing world cannot be overstated. He remains one of the most celebrated Welsh players, inspiring a generation of young footballers. His achievements on the pitch, both domestically and internationally, continue to be revered.

Mark Hughes’s contribution to the beautiful game, both as a player and a manager, is remarkable. His skill, determination, and leadership qualities have left an enduring legacy in Welsh and English football. Hughes will always be remembered as a true legend of the game and a source of inspiration for future generations of footballers.

My Verdict

It’s easy to see why “Sparky” made my top 10 players list. He scored several wonder goals and could score from anywhere. Inside the box, outside the box, left or right foot and was pretty decent in the air. He was super competitive and left his all out on the pitch. Pretty much what every manager would want. Many of the current Premier League forwards can go missing from time to time, but Mark Hughes chased and worked hard for the team for the whole 90 minutes!

Sparky’s most memorable goal, although I watched on TV rather than at Old Trafford, was voted number one by many others, as well as myself, can be seen here –

9. Peter Schmeichel


Peter Schmeichel Goalkeeper, Profile & Stats | Premier League

Peter Schmeichel is widely regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers in the history of football. His exceptional shot-stopping ability, commanding presence, and leadership skills made him a key figure for Manchester United during their dominant years in the 1990’s.

Peter Bolesław Schmeichel MBE, born on November 18, 1963, in Gladsaxe, Denmark, showed early promise as a goalkeeper. He began his professional career at Hvidovre IF in 1981 and later moved to Brøndby IF, where he achieved considerable success, winning five Danish league titles and two Danish Cups. Schmeichel’s impressive performances caught the attention of several European clubs, including Manchester United.

In 1991, Schmeichel made the move to Manchester United, signing with the club for a then-record fee for a goalkeeper. His impact was immediate, as he quickly established himself as a commanding presence between the posts. Schmeichel played a vital role in Manchester United’s resurgence under manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

During his eight-year tenure at Old Trafford, Schmeichel led Manchester United to an unprecedented period of success. He won five Premier League titles, three FA Cups, and the UEFA Champions League in the memorable 1998-1999 season when United secured the historic treble. Schmeichel’s remarkable reflexes, agility, and ability to make crucial saves in high-pressure situations were key factors in the team’s triumphs.

Schmeichel’s playing style was characterized by his physical prowess and dominant presence in the penalty area. Standing at an imposing 6 feet 3 inches, he possessed exceptional strength, commanding his penalty box with authority. Schmeichel had an incredible ability to make himself big, making it difficult for opposing strikers to find the net.

His shot-stopping ability was unmatched, often producing breathtaking saves that left fans and pundits in awe. Schmeichel had an uncanny ability to anticipate and react quickly to shots, making seemingly impossible saves. His acrobatic dives and reflexes became his trademark, earning him the nickname “The Great Dane.”

Beyond his individual brilliance, Schmeichel’s leadership qualities were invaluable to Manchester United. He was a vocal presence on the pitch, constantly organizing and motivating his teammates. His commanding personality and winning mentality had a profound impact on the team’s morale and helped forge a winning culture at the club.

Following his departure from Manchester United in 1999, Schmeichel continued his playing career at several clubs, including Sporting Lisbon, Aston Villa, and Manchester City. While his time at these clubs didn’t replicate the same level of success, Schmeichel’s impact and legacy were firmly established.

In recognition of his achievements, Schmeichel was awarded the IFFHS World’s Best Goalkeeper award for four consecutive years from 1992 to 1996. He was also included in the UEFA European Championship Team of the Tournament in 1996, showcasing his international prowess for the Danish national team.

After retiring from professional football in 2003, Schmeichel has remained involved in the sport. He has worked as a television pundit and commentator, sharing his expertise and insights with football fans worldwide. Schmeichel’s son, Kasper Schmeichel, has followed in his father’s footsteps and has become an accomplished goalkeeper himself, representing Leicester City and the Danish national team.

Peter Schmeichel’s name will forever be etched in the annals of football history, particularly in the memories of Manchester United supporters. His contributions, both on and off the pitch, have solidified his status as a legend of the game. The impact he made during his time at Manchester United and his unwavering commitment to excellence serve as an enduring testament to his greatness.

My Verdict

I watched Schmeichel over several seasons in the 90’s and he always a commanding presence in the penalty area. He made it his area. When he played it was like having 2 captains on the pitch, generally barking instructions to his defence. Not many goalkeepers can say they assisted goals, but he did that several times with his 100 yard throw outs! He is also one of very few goalkeepers who have scored, although not for Manchester United. I will finish my verdict of him where I started. Peter “The Great Dane” Schmeichel is regarded as one of the greatest goalkeepers in the history of football and for that reason, he makes my top 10!

Peter Schmeichel’s top 10 saves (YouTube video clip)

8. David Beckham


David Beckham Midfielder, Profile & Stats | Premier League

David Robert Joseph Beckham is a former professional football player who has left an indelible mark on the world of sports, not just football. Born on May 2, 1975, in London, England, Beckham’s talent and charisma propelled him to become one of the most recognizable and influential athletes of his generation.

Beckham’s football journey began at a young age when he joined the youth team of Manchester United, one of the most successful clubs in English football. He quickly rose through the ranks, making his first-team debut at the age of 17 in 1992. He was part of the now famous “Class of 92“. Beckham’s remarkable technique, precision passing, and exceptional ability to bend the ball earned him acclaim as one of the best midfielders of his time. During his tenure at Manchester United, Beckham won numerous domestic and international titles, including six Premier League titles and the UEFA Champions League.

Beckham was a free-kick specialist and would spend hours out on the training ground honing his skills. But he also weighed in with other fantastic strikes. One of Beckham’s most iconic goals came in the 1996/1997 season when Manchester United faced Wimbledon. From the halfway line, Beckham noticed the opposition’s goalkeeper off his line and audaciously struck the ball with precision, lobbing it over him into the net.

In the 2000/2001 season, Beckham’s remarkable free-kick against Arsenal showcased his exceptional technique and accuracy. From 30 yards out, he expertly curled the ball over the wall and into the top corner, leaving the goalkeeper with no chance of saving it. This was trademark Beckham!

Another memorable goal by Beckham was his long-range strike against Everton in the 2002/2003 season. From just inside the opposition’s half, he unleashed a powerful shot that dipped over the goalkeeper and nestled into the net, highlighting his ability to score from incredible distances.

Beckham also scored some memorable goals for England. Probably his most famous strike against Greece in the World Cup qualifiers in 2001. “Becks” as he was known, had numerous freekick opportunities during the game and with time running out, was afforded one last chance. Although he had missed several other free kick chances he was still confident as he stood over the ball. I doubt any of the other England players would have dared take the ball away from him.

Beyond his accomplishments on the field, Beckham’s marketability and global appeal transformed him into a cultural icon. His distinctive style, fashion sense, and celebrity status transcended football, making him a household name worldwide. Beckham’s marketability paved the way for him to sign lucrative endorsement deals with renowned brands, further enhancing his status as a global superstar. Many say this was with the help of his “Spice Girl” wife, Victoria Beckham.

In 2003, Beckham joined Real Madrid, another football powerhouse, where he continued to excel. He played a crucial role in helping the team secure the La Liga title in the 2006-2007 season. Beckham’s time in Madrid bolstered the popularity of football in the United States when he made a high-profile move to the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2007. His arrival in Major League Soccer (MLS) marked a turning point for football in America, attracting widespread attention and significantly increasing the sport’s popularity across the nation.

Beckham’s impact extended far beyond his playing career. He became an ambassador for various charitable organizations, using his fame to raise awareness and funds for important causes. He played a significant role in bringing the 2012 Olympic Games to his hometown, London, and was instrumental in promoting sports and physical activity to young people through his involvement in numerous grassroots initiatives.

Following his retirement from professional football in 2013, Beckham turned his attention to other ventures. He co-founded Inter Miami CF, a Major League Soccer team, with the aim of elevating football in the United States. Beckham’s involvement in club ownership demonstrates his continued dedication to the sport and his desire to leave a lasting legacy.

My Verdict

Although Becks was a fashion icon off the field, his attitude and work rate on it helped him make my top 10. He, along with others from the “Class of 92” just played well together, and worked hard for each other. Sir Alex Ferguson instilled a hard work ethic and these “kids” just epitomized the culture of hard work.  They also just knew, instinctively, where each of them were on the pitch. Beckham got forward and scored many fantastic goals, not just from freekicks, at which he was deadly, but from open play. He could pick a pass without looking and some of his cross-field passing at range was unbelievable.

Alan Hansen famously once said “You will never win anything with kids”. I think Ferguson only needed to show this video to the team before any game and it was motivation enough!

I watched many games in which Beckham starred. I think he, at his prime, could have walked into any team in the world and been their best player. Yet still, I have 7 other players who I think were better…

Now we have my 7th and 6th top 10 Man UTD players

Wayne Rooney scores an amazing overhead kick for Manchester United

7. Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney Derby County Forward, Profile & Stats | Premier League

Wayne Rooney, born on October 24, 1985, in Croxteth, Liverpool, is a renowned English footballer who has left a lasting mark on the sport. Rooney’s exceptional skills, versatility, and goal-scoring prowess have solidified his place as one of the greatest football players of his generation.

Rooney began his professional career at Everton Football Club, making his debut at the tender age of 16. Even at 16, he was considered as strong and powerful as some players twice his age. His performances quickly caught the attention of football enthusiasts worldwide. Rooney’s remarkable goal-scoring ability and tireless work ethic propelled him to the forefront of English football. In 2004, he burst onto the international stage with his sensational performances during the UEFA Euro tournament, where he became the youngest scorer in the history of the competition. (YouTube video clip)

Rooney’s talent and potential attracted the interest of Manchester United, one of the most successful clubs in English football. In 2004, he joined the Red Devils for a record-breaking transfer fee for a teenager. At Manchester United, Rooney flourished under the guidance of legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson. He formed a formidable partnership with Cristiano Ronaldo, propelling the club to numerous domestic and international triumphs.

During his 13-year stint at Manchester United, Rooney achieved remarkable success. He won five English Premier League titles, three League Cups, one UEFA Champions League title, and one FIFA Club World Cup. Rooney’s contribution to the team was immense, as he became the club’s all-time leading goal scorer with 253 goals, surpassing the previous record set by Sir Bobby Charlton. His performances were characterized by his explosive pace, clinical finishing, and ability to create opportunities for his teammates.

Beyond his club career, Rooney also left a mark on the international stage. He represented England in numerous major tournaments, including the FIFA World Cup and UEFA European Championships. Rooney became England’s all-time leading goal scorer, surpassing Sir Bobby Charlton’s long-standing record. His dedication to the national team and his relentless drive on the pitch earned him the respect and admiration of fans worldwide.

Rooney’s playing style was defined by his versatility. He possessed exceptional vision, passing accuracy, and an uncanny ability to find the back of the net. Rooney was equally adept at playing as a forward, attacking midfielder, or even dropping deeper to dictate the game’s tempo. His versatility and adaptability made him a vital asset for any team he represented.

Rooney’s legacy extends beyond his playing career. After leaving Manchester United in 2017, he returned to his boyhood club, Everton, for a brief spell before embarking on a new chapter in his career in the United States, joining D.C. United in Major League Soccer. His fighting spirit and never say die attitude are summed up in one video clip for D.C United.

In 2020, he hung up his boots to focus on his coaching career, taking charge of Derby County.

Rooney’s legacy will be remembered for generations to come, inspiring future players to emulate his dedication, passion, and love for the game.

Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo congratulates Wayne Rooney

My Verdict

Rooney was a brilliant passer of the ball and a brilliant goal scorer. But, like many of the players in my list, it was his work ethic that got him in my top 10. I’m convinced Sir Alex Ferguson could get the best out of even average players. Although Rooney was no average player. He worked tirelessly for the team and knew, like many others that he, as a player, was no better than the team itself. One of my favourite goals from Rooney came while he was arguing with the ref. While still complaining, and not really watching the game, the ball fell kindly to him. One sweetly struck shot and the ball was in the back of the net.

He had a passion, determination, want to win attitude. Always getting stuck in, always challenging, and of course, weighing in with some absolute belting goals. Because of his sheer work ethic and passion, seen in the clip above for D.C. United, Rooney makes it into the top 10 at number 7…


6. Cristiano Ronaldo (1st stint)

Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester Utd

Cristiano Ronaldo Riyadh ST XI Forward, Profile & Stats | Premier League

Cristiano Ronaldo, born on February 5, 1985, is a Portuguese professional footballer widely regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of the sport. Known for his incredible athleticism, goal-scoring prowess, and versatility, Ronaldo has achieved remarkable success throughout his career.

Ronaldo began his professional career with Sporting Lisbon in Portugal, where his exceptional skills quickly caught the attention of scouts from top European clubs. In 2003, he signed with Manchester United, where he showcased his immense talent and helped the club win numerous domestic and international trophies, including three Premier League titles and the UEFA Champions League. During his time at United, Ronaldo established himself as a prolific goal-scorer and won his first Ballon d’Or award in 2008.

Ronaldo could strike the ball with either foot and scored some fantastic goals cutting in from the wing from left or right, and he was also particularly good in the air. His athleticism allowed him to leap high in the air to reach almost impossible headers. The winning goal he scored against Sampdoria for Juventus showing how incredibly high he could leap!

In 2009, Ronaldo transferred to Real Madrid for a then-world record fee. His stint with the Spanish club was nothing short of extraordinary. He shattered numerous records, became Real Madrid’s all-time leading scorer, and led the team to four Champions League titles. Ronaldo’s time in Madrid also saw him win four more Ballon d’Or awards, cementing his status as one of the greatest players of his generation.

After nine successful seasons in Madrid, Ronaldo made a surprising move to Juventus in 2018. Despite facing new challenges in Italy, he adapted quickly and continued to display his exceptional skills, contributing significantly to Juventus’ domestic successes. Ronaldo has showcased his consistency and longevity by maintaining an exceptional goal-scoring record well into his thirties.

In addition to his club success, Ronaldo has made a significant impact on the international stage. He has been a key figure for the Portuguese national team since his debut in 2003, leading them to victory in the UEFA European Championship in 2016 and the UEFA Nations League in 2019. With numerous records and achievements to his name, Ronaldo is considered one of the greatest players in the history of international football.

Ronaldo’s playing style is characterized by his remarkable speed, agility, and aerial ability. His athleticism allows him to excel in one-on-one situations and contribute both as a goal-scorer and a playmaker. Ronaldo possesses a powerful and accurate shot, often finding the back of the net from long-range or set pieces. Moreover, his dedication to fitness and relentless work ethic have played a crucial role in maintaining his high-performance levels over the years.

Off the field, Ronaldo has become a global icon and a brand unto himself. With his striking looks, charismatic personality, and active social media presence, he has amassed an enormous following worldwide. Ronaldo’s endorsement deals and business ventures have made him one of the wealthiest athletes in the world.

His immense talent, dedication, and success on and off the field have made him an inspiration to millions of fans worldwide. As he continues to dazzle audiences with his skills, Ronaldo’s legacy as one of the greatest footballers of all time is secure.

My Verdict

Ronaldo, for his first stint at Manchester United, playing for Sir Alex Ferguson, was an incredible player. I’ve mentioned before, I think Ferguson was a great man manager and could get the best from pretty much anyone. All of his teams were hard-working. Ferguson didn’t really like prima donna players and Ronaldo could have easily fallen into that category. He was occasionally moody, and at times appeared to spit his dummy out, but he was targeted by many during games so it’s easy to see why he got upset. Despite the sometimes arrogance, he was a brilliant player who seemed to be able to score at will. I personally wasn’t keen on his return to Old Trafford. I couldn’t see it being any better than his first spell at the club. Nevertheless, he returned, scored a few more and went on his way. Ronaldo, and Messi, will probably forever be known as the best footballers the world has ever seen. If it wasn’t for his sometimes poor attitude, Ronaldo probably would have been in my top 2.


Now we have my 5th and 4th top 10 United players and both were very similar.

5. Bryan Robson

Man UTD Bryan Robson in action

Bryan Robson Midfielder, Profile & Stats | Premier League

Bryan Robson, widely regarded as one of England’s finest footballers, has left an indelible mark on the beautiful game. Born on January 11, 1957, in Chester-le-Street, County Durham, Robson’s passion for football blossomed at an early age. He would go on to become an iconic figure both for club and country, amassing an impressive array of achievements throughout his illustrious career.

Robson’s journey to footballing greatness began when he joined West Bromwich Albion in 1972. His exceptional skill set quickly caught the attention of scouts, and he soon became a pivotal figure in the club’s midfield. His remarkable leadership qualities, coupled with his technical prowess and goal-scoring ability, made him an invaluable asset to any team.

In 1981, Robson’s outstanding performances earned him a move to Manchester United, one of the most storied clubs in English football. He would go on to captain the Red Devils for an incredible 12 years, a testament to his influence and importance within the team. Robson’s inspirational leadership, work ethic, and tenacity endeared him to fans and teammates alike.

During his time at Manchester United, Robson collected an impressive haul of trophies. He lifted the FA Cup on three occasions (1983, 1985, and 1990) and secured 2 Premier League titles (1993 and 1994) 1 League Cup in 92, The FA Charity Shield in 1983 and 1993 and the European Cup Winners Cup in 1991. Robson’s relentless drive and exceptional skill set were crucial in bringing success to the club, and he remains a revered figure among the Manchester United faithful who nicknames him Captain Marvel.

Robson’s contributions were not limited to the club level. He enjoyed a distinguished international career, representing England on 90 occasions and scoring 26 goals. His performances in the 1982 and 1986 FIFA World Cups showcased his ability to shine on the global stage. Robson’s fierce determination and unmatched skill set earned him the nickname “Captain Marvel” among fans and pundits.

Despite his undeniable talent, Robson’s career was not without its fair share of challenges. He endured numerous injury setbacks throughout his playing days, yet always managed to bounce back stronger. His unwavering resilience and determination in the face of adversity serve as an inspiration to aspiring athletes worldwide.

Following his retirement as a player, Robson ventured into coaching, taking charge of several clubs, including Middlesbrough and West Bromwich Albion. His impact extended beyond the pitch as he nurtured young talent and instilled in them the same values and work ethic that defined his own career.

The footballing community recognized Robson’s contribution to the sport, and he was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2005. His legacy as a player and leader continues to inspire generations of footballers, and his name is firmly etched in the annals of footballing history.

Bryan Robson’s impact on the world of football cannot be overstated. A true legend of the game, he exemplified skill, leadership, and resilience throughout his career. From his early days at West Bromwich Albion to his iconic captaincy at Manchester United and his distinguished international performances, Robson’s influence extended far beyond the field. His legacy serves as a constant reminder of what can be achieved through dedication, determination, and a burning passion for the game. Bryan Robson will forever be remembered as one of football’s all-time greats.

My Verdict

March 1984. Barcelona, featuring Diego Maradona, arguably one of the world’s best players, visited Old Trafford for their return match in a European cup tie. Barcelona were 2 up from the first leg which meant United had to win 3 – 0. I was lucky enough to be at this game and what a game it was. Ron Atkinson was the manager at the time and we had such players as Remy Moses and Ray Wilkins. Robson inspired United to beat Barcelona that day scoring 2 goals from midfield. His drive alone enough to inspire all at United. United went on to win that game 3 – 0. I remember spilling over the hoardings and out onto the pitch to celebrate! This, plus many other times Robson, or Captain Marvel, inspired the team to victory. Based on his hard work and passion alone, plus his ability and drive, puts him in my top 5 players at United..

4. Roy Keane

Roy Keane Manchester United captain

Roy Keane Midfielder, Profile & Stats | Premier League

Roy Keane is widely regarded as one of the greatest midfielders of his generation. Born on August 10, 1971, in Cork, Ireland, Keane enjoyed a highly successful career playing for top clubs such as Nottingham Forest and Manchester United. Known for his aggressive playing style, leadership qualities, and exceptional skills, Keane left left his mark on the footballing world, in more ways than one.

Keane’s career began at Cobh Ramblers, a club in his hometown. His talent caught the attention of Brian Clough, who signed him for Nottingham Forest in 1990. During his time at Forest, Keane showcased his exceptional abilities as a midfielder, combining technical prowess with physicality and determination. His performances led to him being named the PFA Young Player of the Year in the 1992-1993 season.

In 1993, Keane made a high-profile move to Manchester United, where he would spend the majority of his career. Under the guidance of Sir Alex Ferguson, and playing alongside Bryan Robson, Keane flourished and became an integral part of the United squad. His combative playing style and fierce determination on the field earned him a reputation as one of the toughest midfielders in the game. He

Keane’s leadership qualities were evident throughout his time at Manchester United. He captained the team from 1997 until his departure in 2005, inspiring his teammates with his relentless drive and high standards. Keane’s presence in the midfield provided a strong backbone for the team and played a crucial role in United’s success during the late 1990s and early 2000s.

During his tenure at United, Keane won numerous domestic and international honours. He helped the club secure seven Premier League titles, four FA Cups, and the UEFA Champions League in 1999. Keane’s performances in the midfield were consistently outstanding, and he was widely regarded as the driving force behind United’s success during this period. Keane actually missed the Champions League Final of 1999 through suspension. He received a yellow in the semi which meant he missed the final. Although Keane knew he was missing the final, he played out the semi with complete professionalism, drive and solid determination.

However, Keane’s career was not without controversy. His strong personality and fierce competitive spirit often led to clashes both on and off the field. One of the most notable incidents occurred during the 2002 World Cup, where he famously criticized his Irish teammates in an interview, resulting in his dismissal from the national team. Keane also famously got his revenge on Alfie Haaland after a previous clash four seasons earlier! Some say this was the most deserved red card in a game, ever!

In 2005, Keane’s time at Manchester United came to an end following a fallout with the club and manager Sir Alex Ferguson. He subsequently joined Celtic before retiring from professional football in 2006. After hanging up his boots, Keane transitioned into coaching and punditry, providing analysis and commentary on football matches.

While his career was not without controversy, Keane’s legacy as a highly accomplished player and a driving force behind Manchester United’s success remains intact.

My Verdict

Keane was of the same mould as Bryan Robson and played alongside Captain Marvel for several seasons. Keane was more of an allrounder though. He bossed the midfield and was super competitive. Even though he was very combative, he was also very skilful and weighed in with several key goals. I watched Keane play many times at Old Trafford and the team always worked harder when he was there. I loved the games he had with other combative midfielders, probably the best of action between Keane and Patrick Viera from Arsenal. Those games were always pretty special and you knew there were going to be some great battles in midfield. Keane did eventually fall out with Manchester United and Sir Alex but he still has a soft spot for United and most United fans would have him on their top 10 players of all time. Keane commanded respect and demanded the team work hard during any game. Keane’s all-round game was brilliant and for that, he makes my top 4…

Moving in to my 3rd and 2nd top 10 players for United

3. Eric Cantona

Eric Cantona on his first appearance at Old Trafford

Eric Cantona Manchester United Forward, Profile & Stats | Premier League

Eric Cantona, widely regarded as one of the most enigmatic and influential footballers of his generation, left an enduring mark on the sport both on and off the field. The fact that Manchester United fans to this day, over 20 years later, still sing his name every single week testament to what he means to them.

Eric Cantona was born on May 24, 1966, in Marseille, France. He began his professional football career at the age of 16, joining the French club Auxerre. Cantona’s talent quickly became evident, and he moved to Marseille in 1988. However, his time at the club was marred by disciplinary issues, leading to a move to Montpellier in 1989.

It was at Leeds United, where Cantona truly made his mark on English football. Signed by manager Howard Wilkinson in 1992, he played a pivotal role in helping the team secure the English First Division title in the 1991-1992 season. Cantona’s flamboyant playing style, skill, and scoring ability made him a fan favourite at Leeds United.

In November 1992, Cantona made a controversial move to arch-rivals Manchester United. Even Ferguson at the time was surprised Leeds would let the Frenchman leave the club, but he did, and the rest was history! It was at Old Trafford that he would achieve legendary status. Cantona’s impact on the team was immediate, leading Manchester United to four Premier League titles in five seasons. He was instrumental in the club’s dominance during the 1990s, with his creative play and ability to score crucial goals.

Cantona’s playing style was unique, combining elegance, vision, and flair. He possessed exceptional technical skills, impeccable control, and a sublime understanding of the game. He was equally comfortable playing as a striker or an attacking midfielder, making him a versatile asset for any team. Cantona’s audacious goals, including his famous chip against Sunderland in 1996, demonstrated his creative genius. You could almost see him say “Are you not entertained?!” as he scanned the stadium.

However, Cantona’s career was not without controversy. In January 1995, during a match against Crystal Palace, he infamously launched a kung-fu kick towards a spectator who had insulted him. This incident led to a lengthy suspension and tarnished his reputation. Nevertheless, Cantona returned to the game and continued to excel on the field.

In 1997, at the age of 30, Cantona surprisingly announced his retirement from professional football. His decision shocked the football world, as he was still at the peak of his abilities. Cantona’s departure left a void in the game, with many fans lamenting the loss of his unique talent and charisma.

Since retiring, Cantona has embarked on various endeavors. He has dabbled in acting, appearing in movies such as “Elizabeth” and “Looking for Eric.” He has also become an influential figure in football, known for his philosophical and insightful views on the sport. Cantona’s enigmatic persona and poetic interviews have only added to his legendary status.

In recognition of his contributions to the game, Cantona was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2002. His impact on Manchester United and the Premier League is still felt today. Cantona’s influence extends beyond the field, as he remains an icon for his style, charisma, and the aura he brought to the game. His skill, creativity, and audacity made him a joy to watch on the field, while his enigmatic personality and philosophical musings added an extra dimension to his legend. Cantona’s impact on Manchester United and the Premier League will forever be remembered, solidifying his place as one of the all-time greats in football history.

My Verdict

Eric Cantona was an incredible player and as a United fan, I was surprised and angry at the time he announced his early retirement. Despite this, while he was at Old Trafford, he was a joy to watch. For a big guy, he was very skilful. I watched Cantona many times at Old Trafford and the number of times United won 1 – 0 with him getting the winning goal was amazing. His career will be tarnished, however, with the incident at Palace. He famously used the “Seagulls follow the trawler” after the incident, which summed him up perfectly. Eric Cantona was an enigma wrapped in a puzzle. The ‘Class of 92’ learned so much from Cantona. He was the glue that held the team together, the team that went on to win so much with him.  He was a brilliant footballer and the fact that fans still sing his name shows the admiration they had, and still have, for the player.

As an added fact, prior to Cantona joining Marseille they hadn’t won the league in 16 years. He won it in his first year. Prior to joining Leeds, they hadn’t won their division league for 18 years. He won it in his first year. Prior to him joining Manchester United, they hadn’t won their league for 26 years. He won 4 Prem titles in 5 years!

2. Paul Scholes

Paul Scholes of Man Utd

Paul Scholes Manchester United Midfielder, Profile & Stats | Premier League

Paul Scholes, a name that resonates with football enthusiasts around the world, is widely regarded as one of the greatest midfielders of his generation. Born on November 16, 1974, in Salford, Scholes spent his entire professional career at Manchester United, leaving an indelible mark on the club’s rich history.

From a young age, Scholes displayed immense talent and passion for the beautiful game. Joining Manchester United’s youth academy at the age of 14, he quickly rose through the ranks, making his first-team debut in 1994. Scholes was known for his remarkable vision, precise passing, exceptional technique, and uncanny ability to score goals. Standing at just 5’7″, he defied physical expectations with his agility, balance, and impeccable timing.

During his illustrious career at Manchester United, Scholes amassed an impressive list of accolades. He won 11 Premier League titles, three FA Cups, two UEFA Champions League trophies, and numerous other domestic and international honours. He was a key figure in Manchester United’s unprecedented treble-winning season in 1998-1999, where they secured the Premier League, FA Cup, and Champions League titles. He was also part of the renowned Class of ’92 alongside players like Beckham, Giggs and the Neville’s.

Scholes’ contributions extended beyond his personal achievements. His partnership with fellow midfielders Roy Keane and David Beckham formed the backbone of Manchester United’s dominant era under Sir Alex Ferguson. He played a crucial role in the team’s attacking play, orchestrating moves from the midfield and often finding the back of the net himself. His long-range shooting ability and knack for scoring important goals made him a true asset to the team.

Paul Scholes’ impact on the game goes beyond the trophies and individual honours. He embodied the values of Manchester United, displaying unwavering loyalty, dedication, and professionalism throughout his career. Scholes’ humility and shyness off the field were in stark contrast to his commanding presence on it. He remained a model professional, never courting controversy or seeking the limelight. The same couldn’t be said for some of his close teammates!

Zinedine Zidane was arguably one of the most talented players of his generation for both club and country. When once asked, “What does it feel like to be the best player in the world?” Zidane reportedly replied: “I don’t know, ask Paul Scholes”. In a separate interview, he said: “There is no doubt for me that Paul Scholes is still in a class of his own. He’s almost untouchable in what he does. I never tire of watching him play. “You rarely come across the complete footballer, but Scholes is as close to it as you can get. One of my regrets is that the opportunity to play alongside him never presented itself during my career”.

Scholes’ influence on the next generation of footballers cannot be overstated. His style of play, characterized by technical excellence and an eye for a killer pass, served as an inspiration for many aspiring young midfielders. Scholes’ ability to control the game from midfield, dictate the tempo and make incisive passes set him apart as a true master of his craft.

After retiring in 2013, Scholes briefly worked as a television pundit before returning to Manchester United in a coaching capacity. He joined the club’s coaching staff, providing valuable guidance to the next generation of players. Scholes’ expertise and insights have been highly regarded, further solidifying his reputation as a footballing genius.

Paul Scholes’ name will forever be etched in the annals of football history. His exceptional career, marked by skill, intelligence, and an unwavering commitment to his club, Manchester United, has made him a legend in the sport. Scholes’ playing style and achievements continue to inspire aspiring footballers, while his contributions as a coach ensure his lasting influence on the game. Paul Scholes, a true icon of the beautiful game, will be celebrated for generations to come.

My Verdict

Scholes was a class act. He scored many important goals for Manchester United and England, some of them absolute screamers. I think one of my favourite goals came from a Beckham corner. Scholes was standing on the edge of the box and I don’t think many were expecting the pass.

He drifted into the box with ease to score several important goals from midfield. Several pundits used to say Scholes was an all-rounder but couldn’t tackle. I think he knew exactly what he was doing when it came to breaking up play. A very clever player and United were definitely the better with him in the team!

As I  mentioned in my bio, one of my daughters played football until recently. We’ve always had an affinity for Stalybridge Celtic, so it was no surprise when my youngest, Charlotte, wanted to start playing football with them. At the time there were no girl’s teams so she played every week with the boys until Oldham Athletic created a girls team when she was 10. Young Arron, Paul Scholes’ son, used to play for the same under 8’s boys team, Paul occasionally brought his son to train. He always had time for the other parents but you could tell he didn’t like the fuss. Paul also helped manage Stalybridge Celtic first team for a week or so while the club appointed a new manager. He still helps Stalybridge Celtic out to this day. A true legend of the modern game!

Here I finish my top 10 list ending with my number 1. Remember, this is only my opinion.

1. Ryan Giggs

Ryan Giggs playing for Manchester United

Ryan Giggs Manchester United Midfielder, Profile & Stats | Premier League

Ryan Giggs is the most decorated Premier League footballer of all time. During his time at United, he won 13 Premier League titles, 4 FA Cups, 3 League Cup winner’s medals, and 2 Champions Leagues.

Ryan Giggs, Giggsy, born on November 29, 1973, in Cardiff, Wales, is widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers to have graced the beautiful game. With an illustrious career spanning over two decades, Giggs became an icon at Manchester United, where he achieved unparalleled success both individually and as a part of a dominant team.

Ryan Giggs showed his prodigious talent from a young age. He joined the Manchester United youth academy at the tender age of 14, catching the attention of the club’s coaching staff with his exceptional skills, blistering pace, and natural flair. Giggs made his first-team debut for Manchester United on March 2, 1991, at the age of 17, and announced his arrival with a stunning goal against Manchester City. From that moment, he became an integral part of the Manchester United squad.

Giggs’ time at Manchester United was nothing short of extraordinary. He spent his entire professional career at the club, making a staggering 963 appearances in all competitions, which is a club record. He won an astonishing 34 major trophies with the Red Devils, including 13 Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups, and two UEFA Champions League titles.

Giggs’ playing style was characterized by his exceptional dribbling, ability to beat defenders with ease, and his penchant for scoring spectacular goals. He became renowned for his unmatched longevity and adaptability, evolving his game as he aged, transitioning from a speedy winger to a composed central midfielder. His footballing intelligence and vision on the pitch allowed him to orchestrate attacks and dictate play from deeper positions.

Not only was Giggs a prolific goal scorer himself, but he was also a master creator. His pinpoint crosses and incisive through balls provided countless assists for his teammates. Giggs’ contributions to Manchester United’s success were immeasurable, and he played a vital role in the team’s unprecedented dominance in English football during the 1990s and 2000s.

Giggs’ goal against Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-final of 1999 will go down in history as one of, if not the best, goals in the FA Cup. Not because of Giggs solo mazy run beating around 5 Arsenal players, not because he beat the then England goalkeeper smashing the ball in the roof of the net at a tight angle, but how it happened. United were drawing 1 – 1 and Roy Keane received a second booking and was sent off. United is now down to 10 men with time running out it didn’t look good for the Reds. Phil Neville, Gary’s brother, then gave away a penalty towards the end of the game having brought down Ray Parlour in the box.  Arsenal would have secured the win if Bergkamp would have scored. Schmeichel saved the penalty from Dennis Bergkamp and in the dying seconds of the game a wayward pass from Patrick Viera found it’s way to Ryan Giggs in the United half. The rest is history. United went on to win the FA Cup that year. The year they also completed the Treble!

On the international stage, Giggs, known as the Welsh Wizard, represented Wales, earning 64 caps for his country. However, his international career did not mirror his success at the club level. Despite his individual brilliance, Giggs was unable to guide Wales to major tournament qualification. Nevertheless, he remains a national hero and an inspiration for future Welsh footballers.

Ryan Giggs’ impact extended beyond the football pitch. His professionalism, dedication, and longevity served as an inspiration for younger players and his teammates alike. Giggs was admired for his work ethic, discipline, and commitment to maintaining peak physical condition throughout his career.

Moreover, Giggs’ conduct off the field was exemplary, and he became a role model for aspiring footballers. He conducted himself with grace and dignity, displaying humility despite his incredible success. Giggs’ charitable endeavours and involvement in various social causes further exemplify his desire to make a positive impact on society.

After retiring as a player in 2014, Giggs pursued a career in coaching and management. He served as an assistant manager at Manchester United under Louis van Gaal, contributing to the team’s FA Cup triumph in 2016. Giggs then took on the role of the manager of the Welsh national team in 2018, aiming to guide his country to future success.

My Verdict

I will conclude my verdict on why Ryan Giggs made my number one by repeating the first sentence. Ryan Giggs is the most decorated Premier League footballer of all time! During his time at United, he won 13 Premier League titles, 4 FA Cups, 3 League Cup winner’s medals, and 2 Champions Leagues.

With the way football is evolving, I doubt very much that Ryan Giggs’ record will be beaten. Ever!

Final Word

There have been many other players over the years at United who could have made my top 10. Alex Fergusons’ top choice, Dennis Irwin, probably could have made the list as well as players like Ruud Van Nistlerooy and Rio Ferdinand. The list was just my opinion and I don’t doubt some will agree and many won’t. The older generation of players like Dennis Law, George Best and Sir Bobby Charlton would no doubt feature in many other people’s versions of this list. The Busby Babes probably could have made a list of their own! This, plus many other reasons, are why the English Premier League and football are among the most talked about subjects ever.

On Saturday 3rd June Manchester United play Manchester City in the first-ever all Manchester FA Cup final at Wembley. Maybe a couple of the current Manchester United players can write themselves into history and become future top 10 listed Manchester United players of all time?