06/11/2011 09:00,
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Sir Alex: Team builder

The Treble winners
The new clutch of youngsters were good enough, so they were old enough, and they were eased into a winning line-up over a transitional (but still successful) period in which seven of the above-mentioned 1994 XI departed. Key signings were added in the shape of Jaap Stam at centre-back and a rotating firing squad of Dwight Yorke, Andy Cole, Teddy Sheringham and Ole Solskjaer. United had more strength in depth than ever, and long-awaited European glory was the reward.

The 2008 vintage
From the arrival of key men like Rio Ferdinand in 2002 through to Edwin van der Sar, Patrice Evra and Nemanja Vidic in 2005/06, a winning line-up came together, helped in no small part by the ripening of two truly world-class performers in the shape of Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo. Added to the winning mentality buried in the DNA of homegrown veterans like Paul Scholes, Giggs, Gary Neville and Wes Brown, it was a formidable blend of youth and experience, raw talent and solid reliability. Moscow was surely their finest hour.

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The current crop

2011 and beyond
The da Silva brothers. Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Jonny Evans. Ashley Young, Nani, Tom Cleverley, Antonio Valencia, Anderson. Danny Welbeck, Javier Hernandez, Rooney. And Dimitar Berbatov. All have emerged since 2008. Can Sir Alex’s fourth generation be the best yet? Here’s hoping…