Team of the Decade

So we at CJS have finished our term, so what better way to end it than another “of the decade” blog post, and this one, team of the decade, was predictably chosen by me.

My team will include premiership players who have played for 3 seasons or more this decade, so no one season wonders found here! And it will be in a 4-3-3/4-5-1 (you know the wingery one) So lets kick off.

Goalkeeper: Shay Given

Shay Given - 321 apps for Newcastle and Man City since 99/00

There are many honourable mentions in this category. But it came down to a choice between 2. Brad Friedel is a great keeper, and has deservedly won the Premier League’s golden gloves award. His displays against Man Utd over the past few years have been outrageously good. But for me, the goalkeeper of the decade has to be Shay Given. He has all the attributes needed to be a great keeper. Fantastic shot stopping, great aerial ability and a commanding presence in the area. Shay Given wins this place because he kept Newcastle in the Premiership almost single handedly since 2006.

Right Back: Gary Neville

Gary Neville - 235 apps, 3 goals for Man Utd since 99/00

This is a difficult one. I am a big fan of Gary Neville and one of his chief defenders against the mindless pions who slate him purely because he plays for Man Utd. The truth is he has been the model of consistency at right back for Man Utd this decade. Although his injury problems since 2007 have put a dampener on things, he was a crucial part of 4 premiership winning teams. And frankly, right back is a difficult option, because aside from Neville there are very few outstanding contenders.

Centre Backs: William Gallas and Rio Ferdinand

Rio Ferdinand - 312 apps, 8 goals for West Ham, Leeds and Man Utd since 99/00

Very very difficult choice here. The Premier League has seen a wealth of fantastic centre backs this decade. Vidic, Toure, Campbell, Carragher, Hyypia, Woodgate, King and Carvalho are all fantastic defenders.  John Terryhe reads the game well and his brute strength has helped him out of many tight situations. But i have plumped for his former partner William Gallas. A rock at the back for Chelsea’s two title victories, it is perhaps notable that they have failed to win the league since he left for Arsenal. His brilliance at the back is underpinned by a great record going forward. So he is my goal scoring centre back.

William Gallas - 248 apps and 23 goals for Chelsea and Arsenal since 01/02

Rio Ferdinand reads the game better than any other defender in the Prem. His pace allowed him to comfortably deal with the likes of Henry and Torres (who he had in his pocket for all both league games in Torres record-breaking debut 07/08 season) and his height allows him to match the likes of Vidic in the air. The perfect all round defender, Ferdinand’s most impressive form has been since the resurgence of Man Utd since 2006, the crowning glory being the 07/08 and 08/09 seasons where he was simply imperious. Definitely worth the £18 million and £30 million paid by Leeds and Man Utd respectively.

Left Back: Ashley Cole

Ashley Cole - 236 apps, 12 goals for Arsenal and Chelsea since 99/00

Although i detest him as a person, at left back he is unrivalled. Evra runs him close as does Clichy, but Cashley’s decade long reign at left back makes him the only choice. Shame

Centre Midfield: Roy Keane, Paul Scholes and Michael Essien

Roy Keane – 170 apps, 14 goals for Man Utd since 99/00

Roy Keane and Paul Scholes need very little explanation. Keane opened the decade by winning the PFA and FWA player of the year awards in a United team that won the league by 18 clear points. This was followed by a 10 point margin of victory the next season. He continued to dominate midfield battles into his 30’s, memorably getting the better of Gerrard and Vieira in 2005 victories at Anfield and Highbury despite his age.

Paul Scholes - 297 apps, 67 goals for Man Utd since 99/00

Scholes partnered him for half of the decade, and has there ever been a better partnership. Keane’s defensive qualities allowed Scholes to bomb forward, and his 99 premiership goals are a result. And some goals they were. No other midfielder has consistently scored brilliant goals as Scholes have. A 4 time member of the PFA team of the year award, Scholes’ crowning glory was the 02/03 season, where his 14 league goals helped overturn an 8 point deficit to win the title.How he has never won player of the season is beyond me and the likes of Henry and Fabregas.

Michael Essien - 116 apps, 14 goals for Chelsea since 2005

I considered Steven Gerrard for the final position here, but i decided against it because he is too similar to Keane defensively and as a leader, and too similar to Scholes going forward. So for the anchorman position, allowing Keane to dominate the middle and Scholes to bomb forward, i have chosen Michael Essien. Defensively he is unparalleled. Just look at the job he does on Steven Gerrard every time Chelsea play Liverpool. He also has a great shot on him, but doesnt score that often enough to rival Scholes. His energy, stamina and awareness mean this team would never be vulnerable.

Right Wing/Forward: Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo - 196 apps, 84 goals for Man Utd from 03/04 to 08/09

Not much explanation needed here. Six years in the Premiership. 84 goals, including a 31 goal season, the first since Shearer in the 90’s. Numerous assists. 2 Consecutive PFA and FWA Player of the year awards and a PFA young player of the year award. Ballon d’Or 2008, Fifa World Player of the Year 2008 (only Prem player to win it). Enough said?

Left Wing/Forward: Thierry Henry

Thierry Henry - 254 apps, 174 goals for Arsenal from 99/00 to 06/07

Again, Henry picks himself really. Picked on the left because he loved to drift over their so much, he scored a ridiculous amount of goals (174 in the league alone), won numerous personal accolades as well as 2 league titles, 3 FA cups and 4 golden boots. A Highbury legend. He even successfully made the transition into the sport of Handball.

Centre Forward: Ruud Van Nistelrooy

Ruud Van Nistelrooy - 150 apps, 95 goals from 01/02 to 05/06

The toughest selection for the attacking players. Owen was brilliant at the start of the decade but faded fast after 2004. Shearer is a similar story, and his glory days were the 90’s. Drogba has had 2 really good seasons but was a bit anonymous at the beginning of his Chelsea career. So who else but the ludicrously good at scoring Ruud van Nistelrooy. 150 goals in 200 starts, (94 of those in the League). Van Nistelrooy only won 1 Premier League title, 1 FA Cup, 1 PFA Player of the year award and 1 Golden Boot. But he broke the record for top foreign goalscorer in their debut season with 23. In his five seasons in the Prem he scored 20+ goals in four of them and was injured for the large part of the other. All this after recovering from a career threatening knee injury in 2000. The Premiership has simply seen no better finisher than Van Nistelrooy. It remains to be seen if it ever will.

The Bench: Brad Friedel, John Terry, Nemanja Vidic, Steven Gerrard, Robert Pires, Robbie Keane, Wayne Rooney,

So there you have it: The team of the decade


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2 Responses to “Team of the Decade”

  1. Curto Says:

    Matey, are you having a laugh? 6 Man United players in the first 11?! No Gerrard or Lampard? John Terry? Dennis Bergkamp? Patrick Viera? And you gave an honourable mention to Clichy ahead of Wayne Bridge?! Madness.

  2. Team of the decade « Victory Speech Says:

    […] get involved in the debate. Ciaran Jones and Joe Curtis have already done so – let me know why my team is better than […]

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