Michael Owen's Perfect XI: Which former Arsenal man would he have "paid to watch"?
Goalkeeper: Peter Schmeichel
Of all the keepers I have played against, Peter was easily the best - an all-round great. You can’t be a great by just being a good shot-stopper, you have to have it all – and he did.
I played against Brazil a couple of times and he and Roberto Carlos were just awesome. They changed the way full-backs played. People thought a full-back should just defend, but in today’s game it’s important for full-backs to be good on the ball as well, and Cafu led the way in this respect.
Centre-back: Marcel Desailly
People question whether he just played well in the big games, but I tried kicking him once and hurt my foot
When he came to Chelsea, he was a ‘proper’ player. With some defenders you think “he’s not strong”, “he’s not so quick” or whatever and try to play against that weakness. But Desailly was virtually impossible to play against. He was strong, quick, and good on the ball. People question whether he just played well in the big games, but I tried kicking him once and hurt my foot – which shows what sort of game I had against him!
Centre-back: Paolo Maldini
Just look at his trophy cabinet! To play for a team like that for as long as he did at the highest level says it all. A great left foot, and while he maybe lost a yard as time went on, defenders like that never get done for pace because they’re so intelligent. People tell me Bobby Moore was like that, John Terry is like that – and so was Sami Hyypia at Liverpool. Maldini knows his body and is very clever.
Left-back: Roberto Carlos
Like Cafu, he made people re-think the role of a full-back in a team. Great on the ball, made good runs – but also great dead-ball delivery. Fantastic.