Which Reds from different eras would have been great together?

Monday 13 June 2022 13:32

When interviewed recently on Gary Neville's YouTube show The Overlap, David Beckham said he would love to have played with Bobby Charlton. Which got us thinking.

United have had so many magical players, from legendary Ballon d'Or winners to cult heroes. And many of them were lucky to be part of the same teams, whether that's Best, Law and Charlton in the 1960s, or Cantona, Giggs and Keane in the 1990s.
But which icons from different eras would you have most liked to have seen take to the pitch together?
For Becks it was Sir Bobby, but the possibilities are endless. Imagine Paul Scholes teeing up chances for Denis Law? Or Duncan Edwards patrolling the midfield area with Roy Keane?
We asked four of our media team, all of whom are long-time Reds, to pick their dream duos. Read on to find out what juicy combinations they came up with, and then vote in our poll to tell us your favourite idea...
All The Goals: David Beckham Video

All The Goals: David Beckham

All The Goals | Birthday-boy Becks scored 85 goals during his legendary United career: you can watch them all here...

Adam Marshall, Contributing Editor: Cristiano Ronaldo effectively replaced David Beckham at United but, if you considered the current version of the Portugal phenomenon, then he would be salivating at the prospect of getting on the end of Becks’s crosses and set-pieces. I was once at a dinner with Alan Shearer when he spoke candidly about how much he loved playing with Beckham for England and how any centre-forward would thrive on the service the midfielder offered.
With Ronaldo, for me, the best header of a ball in the game, I shudder to think of how many more goals he would add to his ever-growing tally if David was finding him with pinpoint accuracy. Ronny’s movement would also bring out the best in somebody whose vision was exemplary.
The only problem might be who would take possession of the no.7 shirt and stand over any free-kicks in a shooting position!
Mark Froggatt, Senior Content Manager: When this question was put to me, I spent ages thinking about the endless combinations from United’s unrivalled history and so many came to mind in every position: what about Jaap Stam and Rio Ferdinand at centre-back, Nobby Stiles and Paul Scholes in midfield, or Sir Bobby Charlton and Cristiano Ronaldo up top? 
All of those would be incredible to see, but for some reason I was drawn to George Best and the notion of him in the modern era, on a perfect pitch, alongside one of our modern greats. But who should that be? 
I figured the wiry Belfast Boy would need somebody who is tactically flexible, with a comparable talent, relentless work ethic and the desire to protect him from tough-tackling defenders whose only hope of stopping him is to foul. When you think about it, there is only one man for that job: the young, angry and perfectly untamed version of Wayne Rooney. Seriously, what I would give to watch those two playing on a Saturday afternoon at Old Trafford...
All The Goals: Wayne Rooney Video

All The Goals: Wayne Rooney

All The Goals | Wayne Rooney scored 253 times for United, more than any other player in our history...

Sam Carney, Deputy App Editor: There’s something about seeing international team-mates do their thing at club level. The great Arsenal side under Arsene Wenger at the beginning of this century, for example, was built around a French contingent and United have also often boasted squads with several players from the same nation.

It’s a shame, then, that we never got to see Ruud van Nistelrooy and Robin van Persie – two of the best Dutch forwards of their respective generations and two of the finest strikers the Premier League has ever seen – on the same Reds team sheet. They did play together on 16 occasions for the Oranje, losing only once, but six years separated the pair’s Old Trafford spells, meaning the vision of Ruud leading the line, with Robin dropping deeper and linking the play, will sadly always be a hypothetical, but nevertheless mouthwatering, prospect.
Which of our different-era duos would you like to have seen play together?poll

Which of our different-era duos would you like to have seen play together?

Joe Ganley, Senior Staff Writer: People often acclaim Robbo as United's greatest-ever midfielder. To be honest, I was too young to see him during his imperial years, so I won't geg in on that particular debate. But I always think it's a little poignant that Robson was coming to the end of his playing career when United really started to motor under Alex Ferguson.

Yes, he played with Cantona, Giggs and Keane during his final few United years and picked up two league title medals, but Captain Marvel was no longer the heartbeat of the team by that point. However, just imagine him at the centre of the 2007-09 team, for example, alongside Paul Scholes in midfield, supporting Rooney and Ronaldo in attack. Robbo's pure aggression, tireless energy and unlimited skill would have made him the perfect complement to Scholes's artistry and subtle creativity.

It's not like Scholesy lacked for quality midfield partners – he had Keane and Carrick, to name but two – but could prime Robbo's tornado-like all-round game have elevated that great team to an even higher standard? It's fun to dream...