Former Manchester United star Paul Parker has played with some of the greatest footballers of all time.
The full-back, who also turned out for Fulham and QPR, was at Old Trafford in the 1990s when the glory days began under Sir Alex Ferguson. With 19 appearances for England, too, it's fair to say Parker had a solid career alongside a cast of legends.
FourFourTwo sat down with him to ask what a team of his best ever team-mates would look like.
Paul Parker's Perfect IX: Parker picks his best teammates from Manchester United, England and beyond…
GK: Peter Schmeichel
“Obviously I’ve got the big ugly Dane in goal. Peter was always such a huge presence, and vocal. He wanted everything to be perfect in front of him, and didn’t enjoy having to come and catch crosses or save shots. He wanted his afternoon to be as easy as possible, and would shout at you about everything. There’s nothing wrong with that: look at all the saves he made when he was needed.”
RB: Denis Irwin
“There might be an argument about this one, as I’m moving Denis from left to right-back, where I’d usually be. I think he’d go down as one of the greatest all-round full-backs in the Premier League – up until now, maybe.”
CB: Steve Bruce
“He was a leader without even trying. Steve didn’t need an armband – it’s just the way he was. Did I know he’d be a decent manager? He always had that about him, always sitting in the coaches’ room after training. I’d love to see him fighting for titles and winning them.”
CB: Des Walker
“People usually remember Des’ pace, but he was a very good footballer: strong in the air, quick, able to sense danger and deal with it calmly. He was still playing until a few years ago, with the same passion.”
LB: Stuart Pearce
“Before each game, he’d go into this intense zone. You didn’t need to ask if he was all right: he was preparing. What a character. As a person and as a player, you knew what you were getting out of Pearcey.”
RM: Chris Waddle
“I don’t think Chris and John Barnes got enough credit. It was a strange era – they’d try to beat players and everyone would moan at them. Today, players do that and you say, ‘Unlucky’. Chris played in front of me at Italia 90 and was brilliant: that technique, change of pace, and the way he worked with you. He was a great communicator, too.”
CM: Roy Keane
“I could put Roy anywhere in this team and he’d still be the best player. He’s in for sheer energy, his quality with and without the ball, his heading, volleying – everything. And Roy put me in his best team recently, so can you imagine if I left him out?”
CM: Bryan Robson
“He’d be my holding midfielder, even though he’d run past everyone to try to score. Bryan could run the full length of the pitch and back again. He was strong, comfortable with a ball at his feet, and could improvise and create.”
CM: Paul Gascoigne
“Gazza got into the England team just before me, and we formed a good bond on the pitch. Off it, no one wanted to be stuck with him for too long! You had to let him burn that energy, or he’d be bugging people in their face. Chris Waddle was always running away from him.”
LM: Ryan Giggs
“Expectations were sky-high around Giggsy. There were a lot of great footballers around when he came through, but he was immense and would be worth bundles today. He was predominantly one-footed, but that one foot was better than both of mine.”
CF: Mark Hughes
“Off the pitch he was fairly quiet and shy – Mark [left] was always about finishing training, then going back to spend time with his family. Sparky’s such a lovely man. People might say, ‘Hey, what about Eric Cantona?’, but with Giggs, Gazza and Waddle in the side, I want a forward who can work the line and also bring other team-mates into the game with his back to goal. The best at that was Hughes.”
Manager: Sir Alex Ferguson
“It may seem an obvious one, but I’m actually stuck between two bosses for my greatest ever. I’ll go for my club manager, though, in Sir Alex. He just edges Sir Bobby Robson with England.”
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