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Premier League "Team of the Noughties"

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Phil McNulty | 12:46 UK time, Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Ever had a hospital pass? The one with the red cross marked on it that you know is going to end with a large amount of personal grief - if you are very lucky?

This is mine. Namely the request to name the Premier League team of "The Noughties". The job that will please no-one and will have plenty of you waving your fist in fury at the laptop.

So apologies in advance. My only excuse for leaving out your own personal favourite or club legend is that I can only pick 11 players and there could have been so many more - and this might be the best substitutes' bench in history.

Tin hat at the ready. And try not to be too hard on me. Remember - I could only pick 11.

GOALKEEPER: Shay Given (Newcastle United, Manchester City and the Republic of Ireland) Given was a model of consistency for Newcastle United and has continued this at Eastlands.

He remains as good as ever for club and country, at 33. There has been plenty of debate about signings made by Mark Hughes, but no-one questions Given. Well worth his place in this team, just edging out Brad Friedel and Petr Cech.

RIGHT-BACK: Gary Neville (Manchester United and England) A taste not acquired by many outside Old Trafford, an outspoken champion of Manchester United and a player who has flourished at the highest level for well over a decade. At his peak peerless defensively, and while not a scorer of goals has created his share. Formed one half of a devastating right-flank partnership with David Beckham at Old Trafford.

LEFT-BACK: Ashley Cole (Arsenal, Chelsea and England) Part of Arsenal's "Invincibles" in 2004 and will travel to the World Cup with England as one of Fabio Capello's true world-class stars. Went through a period of public unpopularity after leaving Arsenal, but has been back to his best this season. His performance against Cristiano Ronaldo in the Euro 2004 quarter-final against Portugal at the Stadium of Light remains one of the finest individual defensive displays I have ever witnessed in the flesh.

CENTRE-BACK: John Terry (Chelsea and England) Terry stood alongside Jose Mourinho as one of the shining symbols of Chelsea's resurgence under the "Special One." Brave, maybe sometimes too brave for his own good, ready to risk injury in both penalty areas and the embodiment of what you want a defender to be, with his "over my dead body" approach to conceding goals. Not quite the force of old these days, but still formidable and worthy of a place in this team.

CENTRE-BACK: Rio Ferdinand (West Ham United, Leeds United, Manchester United and England) Thought long and hard about this one for some strange reason, with the Liverpool pair of Jamie Carragher and Sami Hyypia figuring prominently. The Finn might just get the award for the most under-rated defender of "The Noughties".

Ferdinand gets it, though, for his class, elegance and defensive ability that has contributed so much to Manchester United successes. But it's a close run thing with Carragher and I would see no problem exchanging the two - a cop out, I know.

RIGHT MIDFIELD: Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United and Portugal) Right midfield is such a low-grade description of one of the greatest players to grace the Premier League. United's most devastating weapon in recent seasons and sorely missed after his move to Real Madrid. Few players are irreplaceable, but he is one. No contest for this position.

CENTRAL MIDFIELD: Steven Gerrard (Liverpool and England) Getting interesting now. Gerrard is my choice despite vicious competition for these positions, just getting the nod ahead of Chelsea's Frank Lampard and Manchester United's Paul Scholes.

So easy to make a case for those two, but in recent seasons Gerrard has been magnificent, occasionally carrying Liverpool on his own. Virtually won an FA Cup Final and the Champions League on his own. Dynamic and a leader - so he gets the vote.

CENTRAL MIDFIELD: Patrick Vieira (Arsenal and France) Gone for a partnership in a traditional 4-4-2 formation, and Vieira and Gerrard would not be too shabby. In at the start of the Arsene Wenger revolution and the significance of his contribution can be outlined by the fact they have never quite been the same since his departure. Ruthless midfield enforcer and consummate creator. Last kick for the club earned them their last trophy, the 2005 FA Cup against Manchester United.

LEFT MIDFIELD: Ryan Giggs (Manchester United and Wales) Deservedly crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year for 2009. Could not be left out with 11 Premier League titles to his name.

Still producing outstanding performances at the age of 36, a model professional since making his debut in March 1991 and regarded as a "god" in the Manchester United dressing-room, according to Sir Alex Ferguson.

STRIKER: Alan Shearer (Newcastle and England) Tough competition here, but if you want goals, leadership, bravery and someone to follow into football's trenches, Tyneside legend Shearer is your man.

Even before this decade he won the Premier League with Blackburn Rovers, and while not under-estimating the all-round team ethic of Kenny Dalglish's side, there would have been no title without Shearer. Shearer scored 260 goals in 441 games in the Premier League - this statistic alone ends any argument about his inclusion.

STRIKER: Thierry Henry (Arsenal and France) Henry's reputation was blemished by his recent handball for France that sent his country to the World Cup in South Africa at the Republic of Ireland's expense, but no-one can question his Premier League pedigree.

A wonderfully stylish player, he scored 226 goals in 364 games for Arsenal before leaving for Barcelona in 2007- and finally picked up the Champions League medal that eluded him with the Gunners when Barcelona beat Manchester United in the 2009 final.

So with particular apologies to Dennis Bergkamp, Frank Lampard and Paul Scholes (and maybe even the likes of Wayne Rooney and Didier Drogba and many others) this is my Premier League team of "The Noughties"

I shall now retreat to my bunker and leave you to pick your own....not easy is it?

You can follow me throughout this season at and join me at Facebook (requires registration)


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  • Comment number 1.

    Would have to disagree with Shearer - all time best in the Premiership yes, but not best in the noughties. After all, he was at his peak around Euro 96. I'd choose Drogba instead.

    And I would never pick "Red Nev" in a best of list, especially seeing as though he seems to have been injured for most of the noughties! Not entirely sure who else to pick though...

  • Comment number 2.

    The following is taken from the BBC website today :

    "Going into their final game of 2009, against Wigan, United lie five points behind leaders Chelsea, just one point worse off than they were at the same time last year, and having scored more goals

    And their goal-scoring record - 40 in 19 Premier League games - is particularly eye-catching bearing in mind the loss of Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid in the summer.

    "People looked at us losing Ronaldo and saw that as being crucial," said Ferguson.

    "They felt we wouldn't be nearly as good without him. Cristiano was an unbelievable player. But we have adjusted to it. There is only one point difference."

    Now I find it infuriating that you have once again written "United's most devastating weapon in recent seasons and sorely missed after his move to Real Madrid" . Clearly it is not at all the case unless you call 1 point sorely missed. I call it a point worth 80 million. A very expensive one for Madrid.

    As to your team, you are right it's an impossible task. I can't for the life of me agree with your central defence I would have had one of Vidic or Stam in there, and Given United and Chelsea have been the champions for the most part, it's fairly safe to pick your team from them. I would have either Van Nistelroy, Torres, or and Drogba as Striker above any you have mentioned,

    Shearers most profligate time was before this decade I would argue. I am afraid I would also give a shout to Chelseas Essien and Roy Keane, you dont' have to like him to know he was brilliant.

    Sorry not to hide my Irish and Man utd bias but Dennis Irwin surely gets a shout a LB.... but right back.......Not Gary.

    Looking forward to less infuriating stuff in 2010 and a little more opinion based on facts rather than just an idea that got into your head.

    I don't mean any disrespect by that at all. But just look at the feed back you get.

  • Comment number 3.

    oh and surely some of the invincibles should be in there defence ways?

  • Comment number 4.

    great article, but shearer was def best striker of 90's not the noughties, what about Ruud Van Nistelrooy?? Other than that i think u have the team spot on, with regard to Scholesy and Keano, there best years were the 90's as well, so you probably have it spot on.

  • Comment number 5.

    Not much to argue with there at all, glad to see Given in goal and nice to see a 'best of' team with some balance in midfield. Only issue is Shearer, may be bias involved but I would say that van Nistelrooy would be more worthy from the noughties.

    Could argue for ever over whether it should be Gerrard or Lampard but hopefully we can avoid that.

  • Comment number 6.

    Pretty good team selection there Phil. Although surely Ruud Van Nistelrooy is worthy of at least a mention?

    Who do you think would be captain of a side like that? Terry and Gerrard are both "Captain Fantastic" at their respective clubs and Vieira was certainly the driving force behind Arsenal in his day. Then there's always Neville. When he's not injured that is...

  • Comment number 7.

    I'd pretty much agree with most of that list, with the exception of Shearer. He definitely had his better years in the 90s, and tailed off before we'd even got to 2004. There's an argument for the inclusion of Rooney, but I don't think he's done enough just yet to justify a place in the best 11. Actually, thinking about it, there's not really been any consistently top-notch strikers through the whole decade, so Ruud Van Nistelrooy could have a case for inclusion as well...

  • Comment number 8.

    I would have had Carragher instead of Rio and would have put Lampard in ahead of Viera. Would have tried to find a place for Rooney somewhere but apart from that the rest is spot on. Nice to see plenty of United/ex players!

  • Comment number 9.

    I can't speak for Phil but I took his 'sorely missed' comment to mean the Premier League as a whole, rather than specifically Manchester United. However even if he meant the team it's a fair comment given how influential a player he is. Reading the comments back, Phil certainly didn't suggest that United were struggling without him.

    Fine team, but I would echo the comments surrounding the inclusion of Shearer. He was a greater player in the 90s without a doubt. I'd pick Michael Owen and even Kevin Davies above Shearer in the 00s team.

  • Comment number 10.


    Not a bad team - however, I wouldnt have gone for Gary Neville or Alan Shearer. For me Drogba would get the nod over Shearer and at right back, Glenn Johnson. Agree hasnt achieved as much but has so much more ability. Just a personal choice mind.

    Interesting comment you make about Terry 'not quite the force of old' Is this what you believe? If so quite a controversial comment given hes captain of both Chelsea and England and arguably the first name on both team sheets....

  • Comment number 11.

    Such a difficult task as the Noughties was essentially 2 different eras, 2000-2004 and 2005-2009. Ryan Giggs has probably been the only one who has been on top of his game throughout the two 'eras', so he's worthy of a spot. Could essentially pick 2 teams, with Keane, Shearer, Hyypia and the like in the early years, and Ronaldo, Drogba, Essien and the sorts in the later years. Tough one to call.

  • Comment number 12.

    Surely Shearer was way past his best in the 'Noughties'. Agree with nearly all* the rest but that is a serious error on the part of the chief football writer.

    * Given is an excellent keeper but premiership keeper of the decade is a bit much, would have him 3rd or 4th behind Friedel, Cech and possibly Van der Sar

  • Comment number 13.

    Collie - whats your problem?! Its only a team and is Phils opinion! Tp those who do not think Ronaldo is a good player, how much more does he has to show?! I doubt we'll see many people scoring 42 goals in a season and winning the best player in the world award coming from Man Utd. If he stays fit and determined, he could become the best player the world has ever seen. Thats a FACT

  • Comment number 14.

    This is a truly impossible task. Trying to mix those players who were consistently brilliant throughout the decade (Giggs, Neville) with those who were 2/3 season wonders in the decade (Ronaldo, Torres. Think you have done a good job.
    So many people could have buckled and put Cech in goal, but a superb shout with Given, has been the best keeper every season of the decade, so under-rated. Friedel or Jaaskelinen (can never spell it) could have been equally deserving. Unsure about Gary Neville, I keep thinking of him being injured for most the decade, but as said above, who else is there?!
    Think there may have been some Englishmen bias in this with the Terry/Ferdinand combination. Jaap Stam was a good shout above and would have had him over Ferdinand. As for midfield, Ronaldo was a must, Giggs was always going to get in, Gerrard is irreplacable and Vieira made Arsenal, so no arguments there. Shame though as the likes of Ljungberg, Pires, Lampard, Scholes, Keane miss out.
    Upfront, have to follow the general bewilderment at the inclusion of Shearer. Top striker yes, but he was split over last 90's and very early 90's, kind of tailed off by the mid 00's and retirement. Torres could have been included but hasnt been around long enough. Therefore for consistency and the amount he would bring to the team, have to go for Bergkamp. He gave such a different dimension, especially alongside the formidable Henry and would be perfect.

  • Comment number 15.

    Collie21 Wrote

    Sorry not to hide my Irish and Man utd bias but Dennis Irwin surely gets a shout a LB.... but right back.......Not Gary.

    Dennis Irwin's last game for United was in 2002, hardly think he qualifies for team of this decade do you?!

  • Comment number 16.

    Collie21, for one who goes on about facts, surely a player (Dennis Irwin) who only played a season and a half in this decade can't be included. I'm no Gary fan, but he was England's first choice and first choice for the most succesfull club team in for most of this decade.

  • Comment number 17.

    Yeah Shearer has to go in... he averaged 15 league goals a season over seven seasons since 1999-2000 despite playing for a mediocre newcastle team and having more than one fairly lengthy injury layoff.

    Only Thierry Henry is comparable in terms of goals scored over the same period, and Shearer didn't have the luxury of the likes of Vieira, Pires, Bergkamp and Fabregas to play alongside

  • Comment number 18.

    Phil - a pretty good effort i would say. Whilst i might personally have some different players in there, i dont think anyone can argue too much with your selections. I think one of the problems is that a lot of players have been great at the first half of the decade and then left or retired (Roy Keane, Vieira, Shearer, G Neville - injured mostly since then it seems) or been great in the second half of the decade (Drogba, Vidic, Essien, Rooney to some extent, even Alonso and Torres). It is therefore hard to compare some of the players, as they never played against each other at their peaks.

    But as said before, a good effort. Does lead me to wonder though, was something similar done for the nineties? And i wonder how the comparison would fare between a team of the last two decades? I would suggest it would certainly contain Schmeichel, Adams, Roy Keane, Giggs, Bergkamp and Shearer. Not sure on the others though.

  • Comment number 19.

    Gerrard ahead of Scholes? Don't make me laugh!! Gerrard can only dream of achieving the things Scholes does as routine

  • Comment number 20.

    " Sorry not to hide my Irish and Man utd bias but Dennis Irwin surely gets a shout a LB.... but right back.......Not Gary."

    irwin played in less than 50 games in the 2000's, so not much of a shout tbh

  • Comment number 21.

    Gerrard over Lampard is an embarrassing choice. While Gerrard might have played quite well in two finals, Lampard also won an FA Cup (against Everton), and he was also the best player in two league title winning sides. While Chelsea vs Everton might not have been as exciting as Liverpool vs West Ham, Lampard still played very well in it and scored a wonderful goal. Plus, record midfield goalscorer and had the record for consecutive out-field appearances. Yet still beaten by a less successful, more inconsistent player.

  • Comment number 22.

    To be fair there isn't much you could argue with in this team selection, I mean i would personally put forward a case for Claude Makelele in a formation that contained 3 in midfield but, not in a 4-4-2. But as Phil said in the blog, everyone has favourites and as long as there are no ridiculous selections (for example i read a blog on here not long ago in which Ricardo Carvalho was put in the best European team of the decade) then you cant really argue because we all know that stuff like this is matter of opinion.
    My team would be...
    Neville Carragher Terry Cole
    Gerrard Scholes
    Ronaldo Giggs

  • Comment number 23.

    I'd have Keane over Vieira any day. And Shearer was pretty much past his lethal best in 'the noughties' (should have put Drogba in instead).

  • Comment number 24.

    Great team but i would have put le-tiss in there some of the things he did werwe outstanding and he did them very regulary... would have been nice to have seen you bench and manager of the noughties.

    Good piece thought

  • Comment number 25.

    How you can put ferdinand in ahead of Sol Campbell is beyond me just because he plays for united and cost 30m i presume.

    And how can you not even give a mention to Bobby Pires

  • Comment number 26.

    it all depends on what the philosophy is behind this team: do you want the team formed by the best players that played in the premier league at a certain point during this decade, or do you want the team formed by the players with the biggest impact on the premier league during this decade...

    that being said i would surely include van nistelrooy , have to agree with some comments that shearer's impact in this decade was rather limited to my feelings...

    but great team phil

  • Comment number 27.

    Oh and collie21, it's a team of the noughties, not 'the best players from the last three season's + a few from 90s'

    (ps. Ashley Cole played for the 'invincible' arsenal team)

  • Comment number 28.

    I can't believe Van Nistelrooy hasn't even been mentioned? He played 2 less games in the premier league than Drogba and scored 26 more league goals. No apologies to Drogba necessary!

    The rest of the team is pretty accurate though to be fair.

  • Comment number 29.

    2000-2004 team would probably be:

    Neville Desailly Stam Irwin
    Beckham Keane Vieira Giggs
    Shearer van Nistelrooy

    Michael Owen and Paul Scholes deserve a shout too.

    2005-2009 team:

    Carragher (obviously not a natural right back) Terry Ferdinand Cole
    Ronaldo Essien Gerrard Giggs
    Drogba Henry

    Honorable shouts to Fabregas and Torres

  • Comment number 30.

    I think this is a very good attempt at what everybody can see is a very subjective team.
    Collie 21 to claim dennis irwin should be in the team of the boughties takes irish and man utd bias to another level. Irwin played for Man Utd until 2002 then Wolves to 2004. Cole has been playing at the highest level since 2000 when he returned from his loan spell at Crystal Palace and established himself in the Arsenal team. I dont like him but for a team of the noughties he has to be left back.
    Neville at right back seems to me to be the only really contentious decision but I cant think of another right back who has reached his level for any length of time.

    Phil has covered himself well by naming the players that would have great shouts to get in the team, such as Bergkamp and Keane but we cant argue with his opinion. Very good team Phil.

  • Comment number 31.

    Good selection, Phil. Very tricky to pick an XI for a decade.

    The only possible changes for me would be van Nistelrooy or Rooney in for Shearer, and possibly including Sol Campbell.

  • Comment number 32.

    Collie 21 , You have a go at Phil about lack of fact based opinion yet you think denis irwin a player who left Man utd in 01-02 season should be in the team of the decade...unless you believe his couple of seasons at wolves deserves him a place!.

    Patrick Viera was amazing but for me Roy Keane along with steven Gerrard would be an amazing unstoppable pairing.

  • Comment number 33.

    As much as it surprises me, I would have to agree with you Phil. Can't really knock any of your choices. I might swap Terry or Ferdinand for Sol Campbell, who was brilliant from 2000 - 2006 but that's about it.

    Shocked and amazed you didn't shoehorn Owen in there though. Have the PR team stopped paying you! ;-)

  • Comment number 34.

    giggs, shearer and neville out, giggs shearer had their best form in the 90's, neville is a plank (united fan speaking here) giggs to replaced by beckham, far more influential during his period with united, shearer out, ruud van in for obvious reasons, no idea who to replace neville, maybe stick carragher in at right back? lucas neill... any ideas?

  • Comment number 35.

    maybe even chuck in lampard and stick gerrard at right back, anything but neville...

  • Comment number 36.

    I'd say the majority of your team picks itself and although I wouldn't necessarily 'disagree' with any of your choices these are the XI that I would favour...

    GK - Cech. in Chelsea's title winning years some of his performances were as good as I have ever seen, eclipsing Buffon, Khan, Goram and even Schmeichel.

    RB - G Neville. through default more than anything else. A great defender in his day but his form hasn't been the same since his best pal Beckham moved to Real.

    LB - A Cole. Was magnificant for Arsenal in the Invincibles team and produced one of the all-time great defensive performances when pitted directly against Ronaldo at the Euros in 2004.

    CB - Terry. One of the first picks. Strong, imposing, intimidating, fearless, courageous and absolutely mental (a trait you need in at least one of your centre halves). He will captain the side.

    CB - Carvalho. Ferdinand is a tempting choice, but far too error prone in his first few seasons at Man Utd (one such error culminating in a lengthy ban!!!) Carvalho and Terry have been a very solid partnership for many years, in an age when players (esp foreigners) don't usually hang about for too long at the one club.

    RM - Ronaldo. The best player to ever grace the Premiership.

    LM - Pires. Astonishing flair and technique. Also had a tremendous goalscoring record. Could produce something out of nothing. A genuine game winner. Seems harsh to leave out Giggs, but Bobby just pips him.

    CM - Vieira. Lungs like a horse and could run all day. He would do the diddy work while Gerrard would be up making late runs into the box and ripping a few nets to shreds. His commitment to Arsenal was unrivalled and I still believe he would have stayed at the Gooners if he had his way. Perhaps he was too strong a personality for Wenger as he began shaping a new team post-Invincibles.

    CM - Gerrard. What a player. This guy is Roy of the Rovers stuff. Last minute whizz-bombs. Flying tackles on a spongy Upton Park surface on a freezing Tuesday in February. He loved it. And continues to love it. Had Alonso been retained by Liverpool in the summer Gerrard would still be the best midfielder in the world.

    CF - Wayne Rooney. Would mug his granny for 3 points. SAF has tempered the wayward agression in his head and chanelled it into his feet. Capable of both the sublime and the ridiculous and his will-to-win and selflessness is unrivalled. A magnificent forward player who is perhaps approaching his peak. South Africa is all set.

    CF - Thierry Henry. Shades it ahead of Drogba. Henry's pace was almost farcical. His cheek and inventiveness hadn't been seen in the Premiership until he started nutmegging for fun anybody who challenged him to a flat race. A hat-trick against Roma away in the CL and an absolute belter at Ewood Park when he cut in from wide remain my fondest memories.

    Any thoughts people???

  • Comment number 37.

    How comes only henry and ronaldo are the only not british players to make team of the decade, a typical home bias view!!
    Peter schmeichel is easily teh greatets keeper to grace the premier league from 91-99 he easily had the best reign too. How about STAAM at the back, Zola, fabregas or cantona surely must be in there, and gary neville at right back?, do me a favour.

  • Comment number 38.

    An impossible task it is and everyone is going to have a pop at your ideas. Here is my two cents.
    Viera was a great midfield player but finished with the Premiership in 2005. Likewise, Shearer retired in 2006 and you're missing a few years here too. (Sorry Corrie 21 but Dennis Irwin left Man U in 2002 and only came back for one season with Wolves. He was a great right back though and I would have him over Gary Neville anyway!)
    Given is a great keeper but Edwin Van Der Sar is as good.
    Instead of Viera, Frank Lampard should go in the squad. Not looking for the best fit (i.e. the England problem of Gerrard and Lampard) but the best players and he has made this position his own for West Ham and for Chelsea.
    Ronaldo is a 50:50. As Corrie21 rightly says, Man U have not missed him much because they have adapted and are using Rooney in his best role. As much as I hate to say it, Beckham provided as much to the right of midfield but not as many goals (because he was a provider to others).
    For strikers, it was a very good decade: Bergkamp, Drogba, Rooney all have as good a shout as Shearer. No argument with Henry though - played better in the Premiership than he does for France!
    Anyway, there are never any right answers to this one so everyone can have a pop at me too.

  • Comment number 39.

    SHEARER??? That's having a laugh, big horse face should be in here!!

    TERRY??? An even bigger laugh, most over-rated english defender of all time!!!


  • Comment number 40.

    Good article.

    I'd agree with probably putting Van Nistelrooy ahead of Shearer based on noughties performances. Other than that I totally agree with this. Neville hasn't had much impact during the noughties but there really isn't a stand-out candidate at right-back, the only player to hold down a right-back berth when not injured.

    I can complain about collie21 however, coming out with this:
    'Looking forward to less infuriating stuff in 2010 and a little more opinion based on facts rather than just an idea that got into your head.'

    This is after suggesting that Denis Irwin, a player who peaked in 1995, could be mentioned in place of ashley cole! You couldn't make it up! And suggesting Stam was worthy of a mention? Since he joined Lazio in 2001 this is truly remarkable. Vidic might be worthy of a mention but any unbiased observer could see why Carragher might edge it. He was a vital part of Liverpool's Champions' League winning campaign, despite being in a much less competitive team than the 2008 United. Vidic on his day is excellent but sometimes he underperforms.

    It's hard to understand how someone can be so unbelievably blinkered.

  • Comment number 41.

    I think Shearer is a great shout over Drogba and co in this team as his record in the noughties is 113 goals for a struggling newcastle, drogba has also scored 113 coincidently in the noughties for a trophy winning chelsea. of course shearer was the best striker in the 90s but that doesnt mean he wasnt one of the two best strikers this decade too surely. i really do agree with the team that phil has chosen apart from perhaps lampard coming in for either gerrard or viera

  • Comment number 42.

    9. At 3:19pm on 30 Dec 2009, BBoy wrote:

    Fair comment mate I might have read it wrong, just used to Phil repeating the fact that United Miss Ronaldo this season.

    Just want to point out the amount of English players in most peoples first 11. How about an English 11, a Home nations 11 a european continent 11 and an everywhere else 11? Could make for an interesting competition on paper?

  • Comment number 43.

    Collie #2

    I knew it wouldn't take long for someone to talk absolute rubbish but getting in at post number 2 is good going! Denis Irwin played a bit part in 2 seasons for Manyoo and 2 seasons for Wolves this decade, 1 of which was in Div 1, so he get's in the team does he? Do me a favour!!
    You are also throwing names about like Torres who have only played for 2 seasons, they really can't be considered for a team of the decade.

    I wrote down a team before looking at Phil's and only had 2 different names. Campbell instead of Terry (50/50 call in my opinion) and Van Nistelrooij in for Shearer (Shearer was obviously world class but Ruud easily out did him this decade)
    This will be a fun read at work tomorrow. I predict about 400 comments to read, most of which will be very funny!

  • Comment number 44.

    Agree pretty much with you on all positions there, however, how you don't mention Pires is beyond me, one of the best players to ever grace Arsenal FC and the Premiership...

    And I think Drogba would just pip Shearer to the other Striker position.

  • Comment number 45.

    Well done Nulters. Dont retreat anywhere. Something like this is like politics. 'You cant keep all of the people happy, all of the time' someone once said. Of course there is great debate over your picks but that is the very essence of football. I would like to see someone other than Shearer, maybe go for Van Der Sar, he was great at Fulham remember, and would go for Lampard over Gerrard but that is a completely new debate which polarises everyone.

    Collie21 calm down pal. After your cut and paste job from earlier and your demand for opinion based on facts im amazed you have suggested Denis Irwin for left back. How about this for fact. He left Man Utd at end of 2001/2002 season and signed for Wolves who were in the division below. This is meant to be a Premier League team of the decade. So is 18 months in a decade enough to qualify for this team? Not a Chance. And unfortunately fact dictates that G Neville is the choice at right back. He has played 235 league games this decade alone. No one else in that position comes close in terms of apperances or more importantly consistency & trophies.

  • Comment number 46.

    What is with the love-in for Shay Given? There's no doubt that he's a top top keeper, but one can't help but feel he's included here on the back of the praise he's received largely this season at Man City.
    I would rate Brad Friedel as a better shout for 'keeper of the Noughties.

  • Comment number 47.

    I agree with a number of comments that Shearer's best days were in the 90s. Van Nistelrooy, Rooney, Drogba and Torres are all ahead of Shearer for me.

    I'd love to see someone else instead of Gary Neville but i can't think of anyone! He may have ridiculous facial hair and a big mouth but i'm afraid i can't think of a more consistent performer at right back over the decade.

    Gerrard over Lampard is the right decision for me - both top players though.

    Viera or Keane? I can't call that one - heads or tails?

  • Comment number 48.

    How about flops of the decade

    Bogarde Per Kroldrup Titus Bramble
    Reyes Veron El Hadji Diouf Bruno Cheyrou
    Robinho Forlan Rebrov

    Shevchenko has to get a mention

  • Comment number 49.

    Good work Phil, and I definitely agree it's not an easy job and you will be better off with your tin hat on.

    It's already been mentioned but Ruud van Nistelrooy deserves some sort of acknowledgement. And although you mentioned Bergkamp, I would've actually had him in my 11.

    I agree with most of your choices but I will join you in the trenches with my tin hat by sharing my choice of 11 best Premier League players of the noughties:

    GK - Shay Given

    RB - Bacary Sagna
    LB - Ashley Cole
    CB - Jaap Stam
    CB - John Terry

    RM - Cristiano Ronaldo
    LM - Ryan Giggs
    CM - Roy Keane
    CM - Frank Lampard

    ST - Dennis Bergkamp
    ST - Thierry Henry

  • Comment number 50.

    29: Ohdran, are you a man utd fan? eight of the players in your team are man utd!

  • Comment number 51.

    Wow Phil cool fan club, :-) Take it easy guys. I comment regularly on Phils blogs. If I am over the top Mr McNulty I apologise un reservedly.
    As for Irwins Inclusion, I don't see it any more outlandish than leaving out Van Nistelroy, or including Shearer, or Le Tiss has some have suggested and as most of you point out, it's opinion we all have one and we all have the right to disagree.

    I don't see many arguments about Phils selection which is not even what Phil himself expected, am I debating with a bunch of yes men? So okay Mr.Irwin would he at least get the bench of anyone? How can you disqualify a player on the number of games he played ? 50 is nearly 2 seasons

  • Comment number 52.

    Posh fan in Peace.. but :

    Stevie G ??? I dont quite get the argument for his inclusion in Premier League "Team of the Noughties" by saying "won an FA Cup Final and the Champions League on his own" , they are not the Premier league !!!!! He is a player who can raise his game on the big occasion but goes missing often on the smaller ones.....

    Lampards contribution have won Chelsea the Premier League whereas Gerrards have not.

    Who is the better player is a different argument , but for me, Lampard has had a much more improtant impact on the Premier League.

    Rest of The team -

    Keepers - fair enough
    Defence - Good points
    Giggs, Shearer , Viera - not as prominent in the Noughties as many others.....lots of more suitable people mentioned by others.

    Good blog though Philip.....

  • Comment number 53.

    I've only seen one mention of Fabregas - wouldn't quite make my team but definitely worthy of consideration.

  • Comment number 54.

    I would also choose Van Nistelrooy over Shearer. He was unbelievable when he was at his peak.
    And collie21, far from being critical of your point, everyone can express their opinion, but I think you meant 'prolific' rather than 'profligate'. Shearer was far from 'wasteful' during the Nineties.

  • Comment number 55.

    one complaint - scholes simply has to be in there. arguably the best player the premier league has ever seen and to leave him out is a mistake. sorry but he has to oust out gerrard, even if the liverpool man has proved himself in the last couple of years, this is a decade of football and on balance scholes has proved himself to be the far superior.

  • Comment number 56.

    It's about opinions Phil, and a formidable team you've selected.
    Shearer ? Drogba for me.Ferdinand, 88 minutes of concentration, then disaster.Carragher 90 minutes of reliability.A. Cole, D irwin a toss up for left back.Irwin, a proven goalscorer at full back.Hard choice.
    I am by no means a Mange U fan, but G. Neville is / was the epitomy of how a full back should play.Good defender,played it simple.Intelligent

  • Comment number 57.


  • Comment number 58.


    I hate to point this out but most of the players you put forward (Zola, Cantona etc.) were in the 90s.

    But still that shouldn't stop you from having a go at the author of this article because clearly you believe his opinion isn't worth as much as your's.

    And by the way, we're heading into the year 2010 in a few days so do try and catch up on all the stuff you've missed over the last decade when you were in solitary confinement under your rock.

  • Comment number 59.

    Phil your main problem with this team is you've picked some players who didn't even play the whole decade. As a Utd fan even I would hesitate in naming Neville purely because he's not played regularly for the last 2 seasons. You have also picked some people based on 1 or 2 good seasons, yet ignored others who've done the same. You haven't even lain down you critea and how you picked. Are you picking based on the players peak? Or on their average across the decade?
    For example at his peak I would contend that Scholes was far superior to Lampard and Gerrard, a fact attested too by every England manager since his retirement calling him and asking for him to come back. Henry once said he was the England player most feared abroad. At his peak. However also no one can doubt that because of age both Gerrard and Lampard probably average better than him.
    The criteria are just as important, are you picking players who've played just one season, or do you have a minimum amount of seasons? Stam was immense for the few seasons he was here, but a badly timed book ended that, does that mean he's not as good as Rio? I'd pick Stam in a heardbeat if only 1 season is required.

    Perhaps if you lay down your criteria and how you picked you'd get a lot less flack. As it is your list appears totally arbitary and random.

  • Comment number 60.

    collie 21. for a person who claims to have looked at the facts it seems you really haven't looked at them at all. You outrageously seem to suggest claim that united are the same team without ronaldo as they are with him because they only have one point less without him than last season. What you seem to fail to note was that Ronaldo was injured for the most of the first half of last season after the euros. I don't think anyone would argue that if united had a fit and healthy ronaldo for the start of this season, they would be running away with the title by now. I'm not even going to respond to the irwin comment.

  • Comment number 61.

    Why dont you just put the entire Invincibles team - That was the team of the decade...probably the best team of all time

  • Comment number 62.

    i'm a newcastle fan and this is my team of the noughties:

    GK: Given
    RB: Carragher (even though he's a centre back)
    LB: Evra
    CB: Terry
    CB: Ferdinand
    DM: Essien
    RM: Ronaldo
    LM: Pires
    CM: Viera
    CM: Gerrard
    ST: Henry

    Bench: Friedel, Vidic, A. Cole, Lampard, Giggs, V. Nistelrooy.

  • Comment number 63.

    my team would be Shay Given in goal. Roberto Carlos, Lucio, Terry and Gary Neville in defence. Midfield would have to be Scholes, Christiano Ronaldo, Lampard and Robben. Upfront i would have Alan Shearer and Thierry Henry Shearers ability to win headers an thierrys finishing scary

  • Comment number 64.

    Hmmm nice to see you can make up the rules as you go along. How many seasons did Ronaldo have at United when he was imperious? 2 maybe. but that gets him in! If you lot bothered reading the comments you would see I have been pulled up on Dennis Irwin about 10 - 15 times at this point.
    So how many times do you have to play to be in the team of the decade please?
    This is fun!

  • Comment number 65.


    No members of my team of the decade are 3 season wonders like Ronaldo or on/off performers like Gerrard. The only prejudice is not picking Cole A.

    And the 11 it should have been..

    Keane (Robbie)

  • Comment number 66.

    Hate these as they denegrate the team nature of the game.

    Also, this team put together would be dreadful. Henry and Shearer would come to blows, and Viera would never be able to cover for Giggs, Gerrard and Ronaldo all disappearing upfield.

    Perhaps another team list might be in order. Unsung heroes; Those players that stayed and put in a good honest shift while the supestars got all the glory! Players like Nicky Butt, Danny Murphy, Phil Neville, William Gallas (who has done more for longer than Rio IMO), Robbie Keane, Ricardo Carvalho (far better than Terry), Ray Parlour, and the list goes on...

  • Comment number 67.

    Neville and Shearer should be in a team of the decade, but that should be for the previous decade not the present one!

    Your team is perfect except for two things

    1. I would have Carragher in as right back in place of Neville. He is a natural centre back but as a right back there is still no one better than him and this is coming from a Manchester United fan.

    2. Didier Drogba should definitely take the place of Shearer because Shearer's finest performances were last decade. He's only had two? Max 3 years of playing well this decade

    Please let me know your thoughts

  • Comment number 68.

    63. spareware

    dont make me laugh, roberto carlos and lucio never played in the premier league

    i agree with your team phil, except for gary neville, how can you include a player in a team of the decade that spends most of his time in the treatment room. unless youve seen him play better football in a hospital, its a bad decision.

  • Comment number 69.

    Not a bad team.


    Not Shay Given in goal. He has been part of too many shambolic defenses to be the best keeper, I think he looks great because he is always busy, like Foster when he was out on loan. Not sure who I would have, probably Cech...

    As plenty have said, not Shearer, would go with Van Nistlerooy and Drogba, easy picks really. No way Torres gets near the team, he hast played enough seasons.

    Other choices ok, can always argue for Keane over Viera, and Scholes should be in there somehow...

    Need a 352 formation I think...

  • Comment number 70.

    I'd pretty much agree with all that except Shearer. His best days were the 90's and there is no wa he should be in ahead of van Nistelrooy. Ruud struck 150 goals in 220 appearances from 2001-6 including 44 in one season, can't argue with that.

  • Comment number 71.

    This is my team:


    carragher ferdinand campbell a-hole sorry, a cole

    vieira gerrard

    ronaldo giggs henry

    Van nistelrooy

    bench: freidel gallas(rb) lampard beckham carvalho owen keane

    i have gerrard deeper because his tackling is as good as his attacking so he would be box-to-box with vieira sitting who i know is a good offensive player too. Id' have henry just off rvn because he's more than just goals, and giggs can get all the passes through to the other attacking players.

    top that :)

  • Comment number 72.

    Interesting list, but I'd never have gone for Ronaldo on the wing. As brilliant as he is, he's not a team player and I would have picked David Beckham instead. His work rate was (and is) phenomenal, he tracks back as well as forward, he can distribute and cross the ball better than anyone and he gets his share of goals too.

  • Comment number 73.

    as had been repeatedly mentioned, Shearer is a 90's boy. it's got to be Drogba. He's carried Chelsea's goal tally the better part of the noughties.
    Ashley Cole seemed like a hands down hit, is Evra not a considerable threat, especially in terms of being a respectable, all round sportsman on and off the field with Ashley's antics during his move to Chelsea as well as (and i know this is the main reason people don't like him) what he did to Cheryl Cole.
    lastly, and most difficult to decide on, Gary Neville. He can't be surely. I mean, i'm a united supporter and i almost think it's rude to put him on this list. i think he peaked in the late 90's. Lauren for Arsenal - part of the invincibles, won 2 league titles and 3 FA cups. and was fit for all of them, unlike gaz, who's main effort for winning most of the trophies was lifting it.

  • Comment number 74.




    Van Nistelrooy

  • Comment number 75.

    Pretty good 11, but its extremely hard to pick, i would love to see them play together in a charity match! But for me, Bergkamp, Owen and Van Nistelrooy would come before Shearer. And someone mentioned Glenn Johnson, dont make me laugh. He has done nothing, won nothing, sorry 1 F.A Cup. He is a player with a bright future an is unquestinably talented but to be mentioned in the team of the decade is a complete joke.

  • Comment number 76.

    I find it hard to believe that Ronaldo is in there. Are you saying what he did in 2 seasons, because he only had 2 good seasons, is worth more than the likes of Robert Pires who was one of the best premiership players for at least 5 of those years???? Its ludicrous. If you are picking the best 11 players to have played in the last 10 years then perhaps but you are picking the team of the decade so i would imagine that consistent performance would be a factor. Not to mention that a certain winger is essentially to blame for the dramatic rise in diving!

    Neville, a ludicrous decision. Do you watch football?

    Dennis Bergkamp is easily the greatest footballer to have played in the premiership. Better than Cantona and did things with more grace and style and was never in the press for any of the wrong reasons and never complained about money.

    Zola missing over Shearer???? Phil do you watch football or just read post match reports??? Shearer is a legend but not in this decade. Didnt he retire 5/6 years ago??

    Giggs yes, who can argue consistently awesome. Ferdinand not so much, i think Sol Campbell might have had a shout until his recent antics. John Terry without a doubt. Someone mentioned Drogba and Carvalho, are you having a laugh! 2 of the biggest cheaters in the game.

    In general this is poor poor stuff! Maybe you should have given this more than 10 mins thought!

  • Comment number 77.

    36. At 3:38pm on 30 Dec 2009, PrincePaolo wrote:


    I think you just about got it right.... although i still cannot accept Gerrard (see me point 52) .

    What about a places for a non 'big' four' players ?

    My Picks for non 'big 4' players

    GK - Given
    LB -
    RB -
    CB - Melberg (ahead of the injury prone Laursen)
    CB -
    CM - Cahill (Timothy) , worked his way up , old school , a bit dirty and a big handful
    CM - Jimmy Bullard
    RW -
    LW - Ashley Young - 2007-2009 has been quality
    S - Heskey (banged em in and did a good job wherever he is except liverpool, i know i cheated a bit)
    S - Alan Shearer *(i had Keane but i cannot break the rules twice)

    P.s. i am ready to be laughed out of (the internet) town , as my memory for these things is diabolical.

    I gave up this is hard !!!!! can someone else fill in the gaps ?

  • Comment number 78.


    Ronaldo made approx 200 premier league appearences during this decade - for the past 2-3 seasons he'd cemented his place as one of the top 2-3 players in the world.

    Denis Irwin played just 33 league games of Man U during this decade as he was coming toward the end of his career. I don't remember each and everyone one of those 33 games but i'm not sure he did enough in them to earn a place in the team of the decade!

  • Comment number 79.

    I'd switch to 3-4-3 to accomodate the players, Gary Nev should not be in the same breath as these players at the expense of iconic players.

    GK: Cech
    CB: Ferdinand
    CB: Campbell (Invincibles)
    LWB: Cole
    DMF: Viera
    CMF: Gerrard
    LMF: Giggs
    RMF: Beckham
    STR: Henry
    STR: Van Nistelrooy
    RWF: Ronaldo

  • Comment number 80.

    Number 37 modestneil, you write:

    "How comes only henry and ronaldo are the only not british players to make team of the decade, a typical home bias view!!
    Peter schmeichel is easily teh greatets keeper to grace the premier league from 91-99 he easily had the best reign too. How about STAAM at the back, Zola, fabregas or cantona surely must be in there, and gary neville at right back?, do me a favour."

    How is it that things like this get past the moderaters? Embarrassing isn't even close to describing this comment.

    1. Zola's best years were 1996 (when he joined Chelsea) to 2000 ish. After that he was often behind Hasselbaink and Gudjohnsen in the pecking order

    2. Cantona retired from football in 1997

    3. Stam was excellent but only played the first two seasons of this decade in the Prem

    4. Regardless of whether or not you agree with Neville's inclusion, could you please name someone more worthy?

    For what it's worth I don't often agree with Phil's shouts, but I don't think he's far off here. However, Giggs and Shearer are typical media-darlings who don't deserve inclusion. van Nistelrooy at United was virtually unstoppable from 2001 to 2006 and HAS to be included. And to say that Giggs has been better this decade than Robert Pires is insulting - Giggs has had a very, very good decade, but Pires was a deserving (as opposed to sentimental) player of the year and was an absolute linchpin for Arsenal between 2000 and 2006 when he scored and made goals for fun. At times over the past 5 years Giggs hasn't even been a regular starter for United (classic examples - 2005 FA Cup final vs Arsenal he was left on the bench. 2008 Champions League final he was left on the bench) and as most United fans will probably tell you his best years were pre-2000 anyway.

    There are always going to be arguments for and against any inclusion on a list like this: Ferdinand and Terry vs Campbell and do you split them? With great difficulty. But to include Shearer and Giggs ahead of van Nistelrooy and Pires is nothing short of a joke.

  • Comment number 81.

    Shearer's a difficult choice. Granted he was at his best in the 1990s, but you could argue that even his noughties was at least as good as a Ruud Van Nistlerooy.

    Alan Shearer scored 110 league goals in the noughties. Yes 110!

    Henry only scored 157 league goals in that decade, at his peak, and played 2 more seasons.

    Van Nistlerooy scored 90 league goals. Playing 2 seasons less than Shearer, granted, but we are just talking about what they did in the decade.

    Bearing in mind Henry is a given. I'd say the only other challenger to Shearer as a striker is RVN. And that's pretty close.

    I can't seriously accept Rooney by the way. I get he's popular with the United fans, and media, but I'm one of those who really doesn't get the claims.

    You know, I'm watching United vs. Liverpools, United vs. Chelseas, Champions league finals, and seeing him look like a pub player.

    Shearer scored something like 8 times against United, in 12 years. Most of them playing for a none title challenger. Henry scored even more against United. RVN always did it in the big games.

    You know, I rate Rooney as a good premier league player. But that's where it ends

  • Comment number 82.

    It would be interesting to know if Phil stands by his XI or whether our comments and arguments persuaded him into any changes?

  • Comment number 83.

    No Roy Keane?

  • Comment number 84.

    The only player to score more goals than Shearer in the noughties was Henry I think. And it wasn't that many more.

    Certainly not Ronaldo or Rooney. Who have played about the same amount of seasons in the decade as Shearer did.

    Certainly not Van Nistlerooy either.

    Agreed, Wor Alan was a 90s man, but he was pretty decent in the noughties as well

  • Comment number 85.

    Phil, didn't you just recently say that Riena was the best goalkeeper in the Premier League? How come Given is now a better one?

    I think if a player playing on Jan 1 2000 to Dec 31 2009 can be included. So on that basis if the Roy Keane of Jan 1 2000 was available. I would have him in the team. I would also have Torres of Dec 31 2009 instead of Shearer.

  • Comment number 86.

    How a player can be in the team of the noughties after being banned for missing a drugs test, routinely going to sleep and showing no heart when playing for his country as well as hitting the tabloids for having a party with the 400 girls that can be rounded up from manchester I will never know. What happened to footballers being role models?

    I would have the Hyppia and Carragher combination in the team instead of Rio Ferdinand and John Terry. (Terry would be on the bench).

    I also think that I would have Zola alongside Shearer up front as think this would be a better combination and primarily because of what Henry did in that game against Ireland a couple of weeks ago.

    As to whether Shearer was already past his best in the 00's I probably would agree with this one but it is marginal when choosing between what he achieved at the beginning of the decade, what Torres is achieving at the end of the decade and what Andy Cole was doing for Man Utd. (I believe he was even faster to get to 50 goals than Torres has done for us).

    On the bench I would have Asprilla, one of the best left-sided midfielders I have ever seen in the EPL. Without his crosses and play Shearer wouldn't have been able to score quite a few of those goals at NUFC.

  • Comment number 87.

    67. At 4:15pm on 30 Dec 2009, Dapsy wrote:
    Neville and Shearer should be in a team of the decade, but that should be for the previous decade not the present one!

    Your team is perfect except for two things

    1. I would have Carragher in as right back in place of Neville. He is a natural centre back but as a right back there is still no one better than him and this is coming from a Manchester United fan.


    Hilarious, Carragher is a better right back than Neville, erm....ok is that why Carragher was selected ahead of neville for england, P.Neville is a better right back than carragher!

    You may as well say that Rohnny Johnsen and David May would be centre back choices ahead of Carragher with your logic!

    And phil considering your chief sports writer to select shearer ahead of RVN for the team of the noughties is quite frankly disgusting..

  • Comment number 88.

    Phil... I am getting it harder and harder to believe that what you are writing is free of bias.

  • Comment number 89.

    The number of people taking a dig at Gary Neville is amazing considering the majority can't even name a replacement. He has been one of the most consistant right backs in the world for something like fifteen years at both club and international level. When Ashley Cole closed down Ronaldo, he changed sides and had a go at Gary; same result; no joy for Ronnie.

    Neville is one of the most under-rated right backs of all time while possibly being England's best ever; even including Ramsey.

  • Comment number 90.

    I think the majority of this team is correct. Given has performed consistently well for 10 years and deserves his place over Cech and Van der Sar who have world class defences in front of them. Friedel and Jussi deserve a mention though.

    Neville is the only real candidate for right back. Terry and Ferdinand have been outstanding for the majority of the decade. Campbell and Carragher weren't chosen ahead of them for England, so why here? Ashley Cole is a definite.

    Ronaldo is simply the greatest player ever to grace the premiership, and anyone who suggests Beckham over him needs their head checking, especially seeing as Beckham moved to Spain in 2003. Gerrard has carried his football club for several years and deserves to be in there ahead of the master of deflections Frank Lampard. Vieira captained the Invincibles and was imperious for 5 years. Keane and Scholes had their heyday in the 90's, whilst Makelele wasn't in the premier league long enough to be put into this team. Pires simply does not get close to Giggs in terms of achievement and the sheer length of time he's spent at the top of the game.

    Henry is a must. Shearer, Torres and Drogba are all fantastic goalscorers but none compare to Ruud van Nistelrooy who played in the premiership for 5 years and averaged 19 league goals. However one season was injury plagued where he scored 6, so if you ignore that season, he scored 22 goals a season for 4 seasons.

    I think Phil has done very well here and deserves some credit. All those who say he has a bias towards Liverpool and United, watch your tongues. Because only one Liverpool player was put in here. And considering that only 3 different teams won the Premiership in the noughties (Arsenal, Chelsea, Man Utd), I think the balance is right.

  • Comment number 91.

    Its always very tough to name a team of a decade especially when its from a league like the English Premier League but have to say Phil yours is rather good. Mine shall be biased slightly towards Liverpool but anyways heres mine! :)


    GK: Shay Given - For me he was the only choice. Has been the best keeper in Premier League history in my opinion! Rarely ever seen him play a bad game even when he was on the end of a hammering for Newcastle! Pity he was never Liverpool keeper lol

    CB: Jamie Carragher - Absolute legend. Has come to real prominence as one of the best in the league in the last decade and for me up there as one of the best centre backs in premier league history.

    CB: Sami Hyypia - A perfect explanation of calmness personified. A man who never panicked as a defender, almost unbeatable in the air, one of the best readers of the game and also very dangerous in the oppositions box. Great partnerships with both Stephane Henchoz and Carra. Legend.

    CB: John Terry - Mr. Chelsea himself. Still solid as a rock, great tackler and great in the air. A great centre back just a pity hes a Chelsea player lol.

    DM: Patrick Vieira - Such a great player. Pity his career has faded away slightly since he left for Italy but still was one of the best of the last decade not just in the Premier League but the world for sure.

    DM: Didi Hamann - Yes a strange one in many peoples opinions im sure but a player who i always very highly rated since the beginning of his Liverpool career. A great calming effect in midfield and a player who could control opposition players impacts on games and control the game himself as well as having a stinging right foot strike!

    RW: Cristiano Ronaldo - No matter how much i dislike the lad i just could not possibly leave him out lol

    LW: Ryan Giggs - One of the greats. Nuff said.

    AM: Steven Gerrard - Captain Fantastic. Absolute legend and one of the greatest Premier League players of all time!

    FW: Thierry Henry - Yes my opinion of him has gone very down after his antics against my own Ireland but the man was still a true great and some of the goals he scored were truely spectacular.

    FW: Ruud Van Nistlerooy - One of the best finishers to ever grace the Premier League. His goal scoring record just speaks for itself. Just pips ahead my beloved Fenando Torres lol.

    Very contentious im sure but is only my opinion lol

  • Comment number 92.

    Totaly agree with the inclusion of Shearer, his best years may have been in the 90's but he was still imense in the 00's. And remember Newcastle finished 5th, 4th and 3rd during this period under Sir Bobby. Drogba is a class player but i know who I'd rather have leading the line anyday.

  • Comment number 93.

    Red Nev has played over 200 games in the 00s (and that's just in the league), thats not bad going its only the past two seasons that he's been injured.

  • Comment number 94.

    I had one look at the title of your article and made my own list and surprisingly (or not so), 8 of the players in your list would figure in mine too...I'd take Lampard over Gerrard any day and though I'm an Arsenal fan, I'd gone for Makelele over Viera...Shearer is the only joke in this list and I'd take Drogba instead of him....Reading some of the earlier comments, I must confess that RB is the real weak link and had to pick Gary Neville for lack of any other really quality players... Good list Phil !!

  • Comment number 95.

    Good team Phil. I know you get a lot of stick on here but I do appreciate your work so keep it up in 2010.

    However, seeing that there must be some space for Roy Keane, I would have a 3 man central midfield of Keane tackling, Viera - the only player until Essien last season I have seen dominate Gerrard in a match - distributing, then Gerrard roving, with Ronaldo on the right and Giggs on the left. Rooney rather than Shearer up front with Henry. Defensively, I would have 3 centre backs, as I cannot put either Neville or Cole in a team of the decade. These would be Terry, Ferdinand and Carragher, with Given in goal.


  • Comment number 96.

    How can Frank Lampard, a player who has been named 'Player of the Decade' not be in the team of the decade? Since Vieira has left, the Premier League has come on leaps and bounds, not that Vieira shouldn't be there but Lampard deserves to be there ahead of both him and Gerrard.

  • Comment number 97.

    I will use a 4-3-3 formation. The team I've picked is domninantly from 2005-2009. I justify this by saying that the standard of football in the premier league is much higher in the second part of the decade than the first (as evidenced by English teams dominance in the CL during this period)

    GK: Reina
    I have to admit that over the last two seasons he has been the most consistent goalkeeper in the premiership. For this reason I choose him ahead of Cech/Given

    LB: Ashley Cole
    For his performances for both Arsenal and Chelsea. A standout choice

    RB: Neville
    Probably the weakest player in the selection but for the most part of the decade cannot fault his consistency. The only other contender I would use is Gallas when he was playing RB for Chelsea

    CB: Terry (c)
    One of the main reasons for the successes Chelsea enjoyed under Mourinho. Probably not as good as a defender as Ferdinand/Vidic/Carvalho but for his all round play and leadership qualities he has to be in the team.

    CB Ferdinand
    At his peak with full fitness, probably the best CB in the world. He has everything you would want in a defender and has improved on his concentration.

    DM: Makelele
    When he left Real Madrid, they stopped winning league titles. When he left Chelsea, they stopped winning league titles. Enough said.

    CM: Gerrard
    The amount of times he has rescued Liverpool is nothing short of incredible.

    CM: Lampard
    No other central midfielder in any of the big three leagues in Europe has managed over 20 goals for 5 consecutive years. Even when he doesn't score he is often one of the better players on the pitch.

    LW: Henry
    In my opinion the best player the Premier League has ever seen.

    RW: C.Ronaldo
    Left foot, right foot. Fantastic. 4 yards out or 40 yards out. Clinical. Free kicks, headers. Fantastic. Goals, goals, goals. Assists, assists, assists. The first name on the team sheet.

    ST: Drogba
    When his head is right, he is unplayable. Never goes missing in the big games, and has made world class defenders look ordinary. His all round contribution is first class, and without doubt the best in the world at playing the lone striker role

  • Comment number 98.

    Clarkeonenil, how can you pick a Leeds team of the decade and not include Mark Viduka (Top scorer in all 4 seasons he played, and on his day completely unplayable),

    Oli Dacourt (The driving force in the team that got us to the CL semi)

    or Dom Matteo (Simply a legend, his goal in the San Siro and tears at the Reebok will never be forgotten, he was the only player in our premiership relegation year that could hold his head up.)

  • Comment number 99.

    You ppl are so silly. Remember it's team of the decade. I disagree with Phil's selection of Shearer. Wud have put in Van Nistlerooy instead and i also have a problem with Neville but who else to put there? Certainly not Johnson. He isnt even that good to me and asnt been playing long enough. And ronaldo wudnt have been in my side either. He only started to play good during the 06-07 season. And essien hasnt been the leauge long enough to be there either. but otherwise i think it is spot on!

  • Comment number 100.

    Can not argue with Given in goal. I also don't think you can argue with Gary Neville. Can anybody else tell of a right back who has been as successful as him - the two others I have read are Sagna and Jonson - do me a favour!!!

    Left back has to be cole - as much as I hate him! Irwin is the worst shout i've heard all day!

    Centre backs are a tough one. I agree with the comment about Terry being the most overated centre back in the world! but then he is captain of club and country! Hypia was class as well as campbell at the beginning of the noughties. but this is a decade thing so I suppose you cant argue too much!

    The midfield is near enough there, but I think Roy keane out classed viera whenever they met! He was not as talented with the ball but he was just as dominant in the tackle and he won nearly every one of there pesonal battles. Gerrard is better than lampard any day of the week! (its just a shame he is playing around players like lucas and ngog instead of ballack ,cole, deco, essien) im sure if you were to swap the two then you would see the true colours.

    Cant argue with Giggs - argubly the best ever prem player.

    Ronaldo is world class and I think the prem miss him more than man u do. As much as people depise him any true football fan loved watching him play!

    My strikers would have been henry and rudd - but they havn't been around for a while but neither have drogba or torres! all are proven and could easily warrant a place.

    good article and I think you did a pretty good job. i'm sure if collie21 had picked his team then we would have seen the likes of forlan and sheva in the team... CLUELESS


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