In the latest of Last Word on Football’s new series, we look at the players and manager who have made it into the Manchester United Team of the Decade.
The decade as a whole was tough for the Red Devils, with Sir Alex Ferguson retiring in 2013 and multiple rebuilding phases under different managers. However, they still won a healthy amount of silverware from 2010 to 2019 including the Premier League, FA Cup and the Europa League.
Manchester United Team of the Decade
Manager – Sir Alex Ferguson
One of the easiest decisions in the side is the manager. Although José Mourinho had success in the three years he was at United by winning the Europa League and the EFL Cup in the same season, and Louis van Gaal won United their first FA Cup since 2004, neither matched the two Premier Leagues and one EFL Cup that Sir Alex Ferguson won in his last seasons, as well as reaching the Champions League final in 2011 to lose out to possibly the best side we’ve seen in Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona.
Formation – 4-3-3
Manchester United have used this formation throughout the decade, notably used in the 2016/17 season with the Europa League victory.
Goalkeeper – David de Gea
In the net, it is the easiest decision. David de Gea had a rough start with the Red Devils when he joined in 2011 but from 2014 onwards, the Spaniard had been one of the best goalkeepers in the world.
Having his best season in 2017/18, and arguably had the best season a goalkeeper has had, he received the Premier League Golden Glove and dragged United to second place in the league.
Right Back – Antonio Valencia
After Gary Neville retired in 2011, United have gone through multiple right-backs. Aaron Wan-Bissaka is currently making a great impression in his first season at the club. However, Antonio Valencia was a great servant for United. He had been a solid right midfielder earlier in the decade and showed his versatility by transitioning to right-back after Sir Alex Ferguson retired, and doing a consistent job in the position for some years.
Centre Back – Rio Ferdinand
Although he was in his twilight years, Rio Ferdinand was still a quality defender at the beginning of the decade and helped United to two league titles and an EFL Cup, despite having his injury troubles.
Centre Back – Nemanja Vidic
Nemanja Vidic was a great defender in his last years at United, although he had injury problems like Ferdinand. The Serbian also won two Premier League titles and an EFL Cup and had a pivotal role in the Premier League win in 2010/11. The inclusion of both Ferdinand and Vidic highlights the troubles United have had at centre-back since they left.
Left Back – Patrice Evra
Patrice Evra was a consistent performer for United in the first half of the decade, taking on the captaincy from Vidic in the 2011/12 season after his long-term injury, where he led United to their 20th title. The Frenchman had little competition for the position though.
Centre Midfield – Michael Carrick
Michael Carrick was important in United’s title-winning season in 2012/13, and the Englishman gave consistent performances until his retirement in 2018. An unsung hero for the Red Devils.
Centre Midfield – Ander Herrera
Ander Herrera was a fan favourite during his time at Old Trafford, with fans loving the passion he gave to the team. The Spaniard was the engine in the United midfield for a few years and contributed going forward as well. Solid player.
Attacking Midfield – Juan Mata
He might not have been the same player he was for Chelsea in 2011/12 especially, but Juan Mata was still a great signing for United and has given solid performances throughout the years. His performance against Liverpool at Anfield in 2014/15 is his main highlight.
Right Forward: Robin van Persie
The Dutchman could make the Manchester United Team of the Decade for his 2012/13 performance alone, almost single-handedly winning the league for the Red Devils. He also gave two more respectable seasons for United before leaving in 2015.
Left Forward – Marcus Rashford
After bursting onto the scene in 2016, Marcus Rashford has improved and is now one of the most dangerous forward players in the Premier League. The youngster is only 22-years-old but has made a big impact while he has played this last decade.
Striker – Wayne Rooney
The all-time club-record goalscorer had to make it into the side. Wayne Rooney had different roles throughout the decade. He moved into midfield in the latter stages of his United career and developing into a top captain. The beginning of the decade was where we saw the best of Rooney. He scored 34 times in 2009/10 as well as in 2011/12, winning the PFA Player of the Year in 2010. The United legend won two Premier League titles, two League Cups, an FA Cup and a Europa League throughout the decade.
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