Jaap Stam’s top team-mates XI
Despite only being at Old Trafford between 1998 and 2001, Jaap Stam has gone down in club lore as one of our finest defenders.
The Dutchman lifted the league title in each of his three completed seasons at United, and was arguably the world’s greatest centre-back when we clinched an unprecedented Treble in 1999.
Jaap won 67 caps for the Netherlands, helping them to reach the semi-final stage at three international tournaments, and also starred for some of Europe’s biggest clubs, including AC Milan, Ajax, PSV Eindhoven and Lazio. That means he played alongside some of football's biggest names in his distinguished career, and we've researched his 11 most common team-mates, fitting them into a coherent side based on position and formation...
Ronald Waterreus (96 games with Stam)
The goalkeeper in our XI is perhaps something of a surprise. Jaap’s time at Old Trafford coincided with an upheaval between the sticks, with Peter Schmeichel, Mark Bosnich and Fabien Barthez all claiming the first-choice berth during his three-year spell. That means Ronald Waterreus, who played with Stam at PSV and, briefly, for the Netherlands, takes his place in our line-up.
Gary Neville (99), Stan Valckx (74), Alessandro Nesta (63), Arthur Numan (114)
There are two further Holland and PSV team-mates in Jaap’s defence, with sweeper Stan Valckx slotting into the centre and Arthur Numan, who also had a spell at Rangers in the early 2000s, overcoming stiff competition from United’s Denis Irwin and Phil Neville to claim the left-back slot.
The other members of our backline are bona fide legends of the game. Gary Neville was just one short of a century of appearances playing alongside Jaap, while rock-solid Italian centre-back Alessandro Nesta gets in on the back of partnering Stam at Lazio and then, in surely one of the best defences of all-time, at Milan.
David Beckham (109), Roy Keane (106), Phillip Cocu (157), Boudewijn Zenden (121)
Our big centre-back made a total of 127 appearances for United during his three-year spell at Old Trafford, and David Beckham was in the same side on 109 occasions. That means he just pips Roy Keane (106) to the title of Jaap’s most common Red team-mate! Don’t worry, though, Keano – you still make it into our side!
Stam’s most common team-mate is current Derby County manager Phillip Cocu. Jaap might have gone up against Cocu for United against Barcelona during the Treble-winning season, but the pair were more familiar sharing a dressing room. They helped PSV Eindhoven to a Dutch title in 1997, and also played together at four international tournaments with the Netherlands.
Another compatriot of Jaap’s, Boudewijn Zenden, rounds out our midfield. ‘Bolo’ was named 1997 Dutch Talent of the Year after a sparkling season with PSV. The winger later played in England for Chelsea and Liverpool, among others, and won 54 caps for the Netherlands – most of them alongside Stam.
Andy Cole (102), Dwight Yorke (99)
One of our best-ever strike partnerships, Coley and Yorkie were our first-choice forwards during each of Jaap’s first two seasons at Old Trafford, scoring a combined 99 goals as we claimed the Treble in 1999 and the Premier League the following year. Teddy Sheringham’s Indian summer of 2000/01 reduced the game time of both players in Stam’s final full season, but they’re still his most common team-mates when it comes to attackers.
JAAP’S FULL XI:
Waterreus; Neville, Valckx, Nesta, Numan; Beckham, Cocu, Keane, Zenden; Cole, Yorke.
ON THE BENCH
As mentioned earlier, these aren’t necessarily the 11 players Stam shared a pitch with most often during his career – we’ve made some allowances to engineer a coherent side that could feasibly take to the pitch together. So, it’s bad luck to central midfielders and Jaap’s international team-mates Clarence Seedorf (105) and Wim Jonk (104), who narrowly miss out on selection.
Ryan Giggs (94) and Nicky Butt (92) both join the aforementioned Irwin as substitutes, while the next-highest goalkeeper and forward are Angelo Peruzzi (74) and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (84) respectively.