Chivers & Wilson: Perfect XI

Bob Wilson and Martin Chivers choose a joint Arsenal and Spurs Perfect XI. No easy job – as shown by some tactical fence-sitting...

Goalkeeper(s)
David Seaman (Arsenal) & Pat Jennings (Spurs/Arsenal)
Bob Wilson: It's impossible to separate the two. I coached Pat from the age of 33 to 40 and he was unique. He was the first keeper to make saves with his feet and he could catch the ball one-handed – though he only did that if he'd got his technique slightly wrong.
Some say I'm biased towards David but he won nine major honours and at the age of 40, he made one of the greatest saves ever seen, against Sheffield United in the FA Cup. And his temperament was flawless: if someone had a pop, he'd laugh.

Right-back
Steve Perryman (Spurs)
Martin Chivers: Steve was Bill Nicholson's blue-eyed boy and although I didn't see it when he was a kid, Bill was proved right again. Some 600 league games later, he was still playing for the club, had lifted cups as captain and never let Spurs down, be it in midfield or at full-back. I'm surprised he didn't play more for England but he was maybe on the small side.

Centre-back
Tony Adams (Arsenal)
BW: A born leader. He learnt from his problems and has been an amazing role model since. You could argue that he's the greatest Arsenal player of all time because of his leadership qualities and he could play more than people give him credit for – especially after Arsene arrived and he started to play the ball out.

Centre-back
Dave Mackay (Spurs)
MC: No Spurs player has had more influence on his team-mates than Dave Mackay: Bill built the team around him. Very physical, but surprisingly skilful. If you tried to knock the ball past him, either the ball was stopped, or you were.

Left-back
Ashley Cole (Arsenal)
BW: Kenny Sansom, Nigel Winterburn and dear Cyril Knowles were in the frame but Cole pipped them because since Euro 2004 he has emerged as the best left-back in the world. He sees things so quickly, he knows how to play his opponent, has a fantastic engine and links up well. I dearly hope he stays.

Right midfield
Martin Peters (Spurs)
MC: He was on a hiding to nothing when he arrived from West Ham as part of the swap deal that involved Jimmy Greaves, but he won the fans over. I soon realised why Geoff Hurst scored so many goals at West Ham – along with Alan Gilzean, Martin created so many of mine.

Central midfield
Glenn Hoddle
(Spurs)
MC: Our time at Tottenham overlapped but I wish I'd played more with him because he was one of the finest midfielders England has ever seen. He was like an artist: he could paint pictures when he got onto the pitch and should have played more for England.

Left midfield
Liam Brady (Arsenal)
BW: Arsenal's most naturally gifted player until Bergkamp, and years ahead of his time – that goal he bent in with the outside of his foot against Spurs was well before these light balls that can be manipulated. Arsenal were heartbroken when he left for Juventus and deep down, I think Chippy was as well.

In the hole
Dennis Bergkamp
(Arsenal)
BW: Killed the 'boring, boring Arsenal' tag. If Bergkamp had played in the Cruyff team of 1974, Holland would have won the World Cup. The complete player: wonderful vision, can use either foot, so skilful and can score goals. He's coming to the end now: watch him while you can.

Centre-forward
Jimmy Greaves (Spurs)
MC: The best goalscorer Spurs have ever had – he'd still be a phenomenal talent if he played today. If a keeper felt he had his angles covered, Jim would still find a corner. He was so calm. The only pressure he ever had was if Ron Harris or Norman Hunter was following him...

Centre-forward
Thierry Henry
(Arsenal)
BW: He is a mesomorph: the perfect physical specimen. With that pace, he could have been a top-class sprinter but when he runs, he's doing it with a ball. You wonder how on earth he controls it, particularly with two players trying to mark him, but that's what makes him a world-class striker. His eye for goal is getting greater and greater, he can improvise with his wonderful skills and his record [for Arsenal goals] will stand for a long time.

Substitutes
Ian Wright (Arsenal), Patrick Vieira (Arsenal), Ossie Ardiles (Spurs), Paul Gascoigne (Spurs)

Joint managers
Bill Nicholson (Spurs) & Arsene Wenger (Arsenal)
MC: Bill was a perfectionist. If I'd scored two by half-time, he'd rollock me for one I missed. When we beat Wolves to win the UEFA Cup, he went to their dressing room to tell them the best team had lost.
BW: Arsene not only revolutionised the club but also the game. Every club now has medical, dietary and fitness coaches.

Interview: Luke Nicoli. From the July 2004 issue of FourFourTwo. 


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