Ian Holloway: Perfect XI

Crystal Palace manager Ian Holloway picks his Perfect XI back in February 2009.

Nigel Martyn

He just walked on to our training ground at Bristol Rovers one day and said “I’m a goalie” – I’ll never forget it. We had some decent strikers at the time but we could hardly score past the fella. For the level of coaching he’d had, he was a natural – a born goalkeeper – and a smashing guy.

David Bardsley

A modern-day full-back who was perhaps 10 years ahead of his time – what would he be worth today? A Rolls Royce who could move, pick a pass, hit a cross or shoot with venom.

Clive Wilson

A former Manchester City midfielder who Gerry Francis turned into a left-back. He never thought he was a left-back – he almost played there out of spite – but I was relieved when Gerry played him there because it meant there was less competition for my place in the QPR side! Fantastic going forward and a really good defender.

Danny Shittu

He came into the game late and could have been God knows what. What an athlete – he just needs to believe in himself and trust his judgement. I like nice people in my team as well as nasty people and Danny’s a wonderful fella.

Darren Peacock

Had one leg that was shorter than the other after an injury as a kid. A Bristol lad like me, he made the most improvement over a short period of time I’ve ever seen and ended up at Newcastle as a result. Honest as the day is long.

Trevor Sinclair

A positive, strong winger who was always a threat. Loved running with the ball, could jink both ways and put in a good cross or shot. Sincs also got his fair share of goals – including that memorable overhead kick in the FA Cup against Barnsley – and always worked really hard too. Got his rewards when he played at the 2002 World Cup.

Ray Wilkins

Super Ray – what a gentleman. Gave me a load of suits when I joined QPR to smarten me up – he didn’t want them anymore but they looked the nuts on me! Fantastic awareness and though he was in the twilight of his career, he hardly ever wasted a pass. Sitting in front of the defence, he’d keep the ball ticking along all day long.

Martin Rowlands

The most professional and dedicated player I’ve ever seen – he plays entirely for the team. Maybe lacks a yard of pace but has amazing quality – I’d have him in my team any day of the week.

Andy Sinton

A right-footer on the left side – he had a wonderful, innovative way of playing and there was no better crosser of the ball than Andy who, of course, went on to play for England many times. Most of our goals came from assists by him – a hell of a player.

Les Ferdinand

What a monster of an athlete – he had an unbelievable leap and two fantastic feet – the total centre-forward. Les was also one of the nicest blokes you could ever meet and it was just good to see him get on with his career after he left QPR. Some of the things he did after he left us were just phenomenal – he could beat half a team by himself, then smack it in the top corner. He deserves his nickname, ‘Sir Les’, given to him by the Hoops fans.

Kevin Gallen

Intelligent with a great football brain, Kev’s retention of a football was different class – he could lead a line on his own or be the perfect strike partner, as he proved with Les. Either way, I’d have to have him in my starting line-up. A� terrific pro who was a pleasure to play alongside and manage.

Sylvain Ebanks-Blake

A kid who is going to get better and better – a natural goalscorer and a good kid, too. When I took him to Plymouth from Man United a few years ago, you could tell he was going to be a Premier League player. I expect to see him there next season.

Peter Halmosi
Another player I had at Plymouth. A joy to watch and a terrific pro who could come on if things weren’t going to plan. Could do a job either at left-back or on the left side of midfield.

Marc Bircham
For his fashion sense alone – a poor man’s Robbie Savage! A Canadian international who has never stepped foot in Canada in his life. Never beaten.

Lee Cook
If he had Ryan Giggs’s pace, he’d probably be the best player on the planet. Incredible manipulation of a football, a great crosser and a fantastic kid.

Barry Hayles
I’d have to have Haylsey involved somewhere – a player I’ve signed more than any other because he always does a good job for me.

From the February 2009 issue of FourFourTwo. Ian Holloway was promoting Ollie: The Autobiography of Ian Holloway.

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