The Debate: Who is United's coolest player?

Tuesday 14 June 2022 07:00

One of the subjects of this week's episode of The Debate was which Manchester United player was the coolest.

There are surely many candidates for this particular accolade and we will be canvassing opinion from fans on social media today.

David May had no hesitation in nominating his former team-mate Eric Cantona and, although Ben Thornley found it impossible to disagree, he did suggest his pal David Beckham is another strong option.

Journalists Charlotte Duncker and Neil Custis plumped for Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Scholes respectively.

Cantona or Beckham: who was coolest? Video

Cantona or Beckham: who was coolest?

May and Thornley discuss their former colleagues Cantona and Beckham's personalities...

"I think it’s got to be Eric, hasn’t it?" declared May. "Not only what he brought to the team and to the club but just his way. He was just so cool. You know, not many people can do what he did, not just on the pitch but off it as well.

"There was always this aura around him, he’d say here I am when he walked into a room. Even now, wherever you are, people stand back and stare and say ‘wow’. One thing about Eric was he was one of the lads as well but he left United in 1996/97 and yet United fans still sing songs about him.

"That’s how loved he was as a character and, in and around the club, he was absolutely brilliant. Different class."

"I agree," commented former Class of '92 member Thornley. "Every time he went out, the collars were up and the chest was puffed out. It’s what he did on the field as well, it takes a special footballer to make people see what time he’s got. [Zinedine] Zidane and Scholesy were other ones. The game looked effortless to him and he always had this sort of forcefield around him so people couldn’t get close.

"Apart from Eric, I grew up with Becks as well and obviously his emergence after that goal he scored against Wimbledon in 1996, I think. You can probably say the way he conducted himself on the field and the way he looked, the things that he did, I think he’s got to be up there as well. He has that presence now, when he walks into a room, similar to Sir Alex and Eric Cantona. All eyes become transfixed on him for one reason or another so he’s definitely up there as one of the coolest.

"If you go further afield, I think [Gianluigi] Buffon and [Fabio] Cannavaro, the Italian players, quite a lot in recent history had this exuberance about them."

Were this homegrown pair among United's coolest players?

As for the journalists invited to this week's Debate, Duncker of The Times said: "I’d put Zlatan Ibrahimovic in that class. He’s a character as much as everything. If he walked into a room or on the pitch, something is going to happen. He’s a big personality and a big name."

The Sun's Custis added: "Paul Scholes. I just think his effortlessness, and Ben touched on it there. The way he played football, the genius of the man. He can’t explain himself probably how he did it, it was all so natural. Look back on YouTube, Scholes would be the finest player in the Premier League today if he was at his peak and the greatest player in Europe today, at his peak.

"He didn’t look for the limelight, there was just something so cool about this little ginger-haired lad from Oldham who came and weaved his magic on the pitch, went home and then to the local pub for a pie and a pint. That was him."