The term “World Class” gets thrown around a lot by Premiership supporters, in fact we’re pretty sure someone mentioned the term and “James Beattie” in the same sentence. The definition and criteria for the tag changes from person to person, which makes it interesting to debate.
In the new, ridiculously priced Manchester United bible-thing, Opus, Sir Alex Ferguson goes ahead and names the five players he’s worked with that he considers to have been “World Class”. They are Peter Schmeichel, Ryan Giggs, Eric Cantona, Roy Keane and Wayne Rooney. He also says that Paul Scholes might fall into that category, and Cristiano Ronaldo has the potential to.
Hard to argue with the players he picked, but it’s those he decided not to that amkes things a little more interesting. Known as a man of many grudges, Ferguson didn’t mention David Beckham, Jaap Stam or Ruud Van Nistlerooy – three players who he had a falling out with and who, during their prime, most football fans would have categorised as among the world’s best.
Looking a little further into the past, Bryan Robson, Steve Bruce and Gary Pallister are notable exceptions.