FourFourTwo's water-carrying XI: 11 quietly-brilliant stars who never really got the credit they deserved

Guti, Real Madrid

It's the flamboyant stars who hog the headlines, but as Eric Cantona pointed out with reference to Didier Deschamps, every side needs its share of dependable professionals

Colin Boulton (GK)

The Cheltenham-born custodian, who was only 5ft 11in, kept 23 clean sheets in the Rams' first success

Boulton was the only man to play in all of Derby's league matches during their two title-winning campaigns in 1971/72 and 1974/75 – but you never hear his name mentioned. Bruce Rioch, Colin Todd, Kevin Hector and Alan Hinton took most of the plaudits on the pitch, while managers Brian Clough and Dave Mackay received plenty of praise off it.

Without Boulton, though, neither triumph would have been possible: the Cheltenham-born custodian, who was only 5ft 11in, kept 23 clean sheets in the Rams' first success.

Colin Boulton

Boulton punches a cross clear in Derby's clash with QPR in 1976

Kevin Grosskreutz (RB)

The utility man almost always put in a sterling, if unspectacular, shift as a full-back or wide midfielder

Before he was involved in a fight outside a bar and sacked by Stuttgart, Grosskreutz was Jurgen Klopp’s go-to man in a crisis at Borussia Dortmund. Whenever the likes of Marco Reus, Mario Gotze or Jakob Blasczykowski were injured, the current Liverpool boss would turn to the utility man, who almost always put in a sterling – if unspectacular – shift as a full-back or wide midfielder.

When Klopp had a fully-fit squad of players to choose from, Grosskreutz was regularly deployed as a second-half substitute to help shut games down.

Kevin Grosskreutz

Klopp was a big fan of Grosskreutz during his time in charge of Dortmund

Javier Mascherano (CB)

He's not always first choice at Barca these days, but he's never been anything less than solid and reliable throughout his career

Without Javier Mascherano in their side, Barcelona lost 4-0 to PSG last month. The Argentine was back in the fold for the return leg, though, and provided his team with the defensive security that allowed them to make history with a 6-1 triumph.

Lionel Messi may have won the Golden Boot at the 2014 World Cup, but there were plenty of folk arguing that he wasn't even Argentina's best player in Brazil. Mascherano was superb in helping the Albiceleste to the final, putting out fires right across the pitch in almost every game his side contested.

He's not always first choice at Barça these days, but he's never been anything less than solid and reliable throughout his career – whether that's at centre-back, full-back or in the engine room.

Miodrag Belodedici (CB)

Romania beat Colombia and Argentina on the way to the quarter-finals of the 1994 World Cup, with the libero an integral part of their success

When a team has one superstar and wants to compete with the best, the 10 other players usually end up having to work their socks off. That was the case with Romania in the 1990s; after all, no one was ever going to convince Gheorghe Hagi to work back or defend from the front.

Romania's gameplan revolved around sitting deep and absorbing pressure, before giving the ball to Hagi as soon as possession changed hands. In a sense, everyone in this Romanian team carried Hagi's water for him: speedy widemen Dan Petrescu and Daniel Munteanu shuttled up and down the flanks, Ilie Dumitrescu sprung many of their counter-attacks, and hard-running striker Florin Raducioiu worked tirelessly up top.

It all started at the back with Belodedici, though, the intelligent and classy sweeper holding everything together. Romania beat Colombia and Argentina on the way to the quarter-finals of the 1994 World Cup, with the libero an integral part of their success.