Matt Le Tissier: Perfect XI

Matt Le Tissier gives FourFourTwo readers his Perfect XI back in October 2009. Six are from one club, and it ain't Southampton...

Goalkeeper
Neville Southall

I played against Everton quite a few times and never scored against them until 2001. On one occasion at The Dell, I had a great chance. I was clean through and as Neville came out I thought I'd just chip it over him – easy. Being the very clever goalkeeper he was, he read what I was going to do, stood there and made me look like a complete twat.

Right-back
Lee Dixon

It would be wrong not to have one of that famous Arsenal back four. I know Lee got a bit of stick throughout his career but I thought over the years he was pretty consistent. He was always very solid and wasn't shy of an aggressive tackle, but he could play.

Centre-back
Steve Bruce

He was superb. I came up against an outstanding centre-back in Villa's Paul McGrath a few times, but he wasn't as 'nasty' as Bruce. I'm sure we had some words in our time and he put his head through the back of mine on a couple of occasions.

Centre-back
Gary Pallister

It's tough because Adams with Keown or Bould were also very reliable; however, I'd go for a partnership with Pallister alongside Bruce. We beat United in their infamous grey kit 3-1 and 6-3 the following year. Scoring in both games at The Dell, especially against such a formidable defender, were great moments for me.

Left-back
Stuart Pearce

My second ever game for Saints was against Forest and he scared the shit out of me. He was hard but fair. However, I got to know Stu when I was in the England squad and from that moment I got on quite well with him and I don't think we've seen another left-back like him since he retired. In his pomp he was a sight to behold.

Right-midfield
David Beckham

I was in the England squad when he made his debut against Moldova in 1996 and while his work-rate is phenomenal, I can safely say he's the best at set-pieces that I've seen by a mile. In that 6-3 game, he scored a superb free-kick bent into the top corner even though we had a man on the post. I just thought, "Oh my God."

Centre-midfield
Paul Gascoigne

If you've got that much natural ability, it doesn't really matter how much the game moves on – he still would have been outstanding today. Gazza was one of the best dribblers and it was very difficult to get the ball off him. Phenomenal.

Centre-midfield
Bryan Robson

An easy choice as captain – he was an inspirational leader. I was playing up at Old Trafford one year and he ran the show in that number seven shirt, steamrolling our midfield into submission. He was certainly the engine behind that United team.

Left-midfield
Ryan Giggs

I think he's an absolute credit to himself and Manchester United. He had a lot of problems with his hamstrings down the years, but he's kept himself in superb shape, looking as fit as ever.

Striker
Alan Shearer

He was incredible and with 261, he is so many goals ahead of everyone else in Premier League history it's ridiculous. He went from strength to strength after leaving Southampton, you've only got to look at the stats – breaking Jackie Milburn's 200-goal Newcastle record in double-quick time. It will be nice to tell the kids, "You know what, I played with him and when I did, I scored twice as many as he did."

Striker
Eric Cantona

Cantona had such a massive impact on United as a football club. I always remember an impudent chip against us at The Dell in front of the Milton Road end, before he stood there as if to say, "I am the king." I loved his arrogance and if you're that good, I think you can be arrogant and get away wit�h it.

Manager
Sir Alex Ferguson

Alan Ball was my best manager at Southampton and I loved him to bits, but Sir Alex's record is phenomenal, building several top teams. I'm still waiting for him to buy me a drink because it was my two goals against United that got Ron Atkinson the sack, which then got Alex the job in '86.

Substitutes

Glenn Hoddle
Growing up, I would try and model my game on his. I also loved Chrissy Waddle. I was a big Tottenham fan.

Dennis Bergkamp
He struggled a bit at the start of his Arsenal career, going eight games without a goal, before lo and behold, Southampton go to Highbury and he scores two absolute world-beaters. From then on he never looked back.

Roberto Baggio
I played against him in a pre-season friendly against Juventus in the early '90s. It would have been great had he played in the Premier League. I thought he was a superb footballer.

Interview: Nick Dines. From the October 2009 issue of FourFourTwo. Subscribe!


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