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24th Apr 2017

No place for Roy Keane in Peter Schmeichel’s ultimate five-a-side team

Amazing side

Darragh Murphy

Peter Schmeichel was spoiled for choice.

Having acted as the last line of defence in arguably the greatest Manchester United team of all time, the legendary goalkeeper would have had to think long and hard about the cream of the crop, which is precisely what was required of him when he named his ultimate Premier League five-a-side team.

Players who can feel hard done by in being left out of the side would be the likes of Roy Keane, Gary Neville, David Beckham, Denis Irwin, Steve Bruce and Bryan Robson.

But, rather than focus on the omissions, we should just marvel at the quality on show as Schmeichel named four of the best outfielders ever to grace the Premier League after selecting himself between the sticks.

“The best defender I’ve ever come across in my life is Jaap Stam,” Schmeichel told

“You’re thinking ‘This guy can head the ball and he probably can put a tackle in but he’s got to be slow because he’s so big.’

“He was lightning quick! Very skilful and very technical and he was a clever defender. He was a one-man army. He was very vocal and directing everyone. I think most people who support Manchester United would say Jaap Stam is in the top three defenders who ever played for the club.

“My next player changed the fortune of Manchester United. It is, of course, the king Eric Cantona.

“Most people remember all the great goals that Eric scored, the Sunderland goal where he chips the goalkeeper and actually sticks it right in the top corner and he puts the collar up and very arrogantly looks around, basically asking everyone at the stadium ‘What did you expect?’

“I remember Eric for other things. In times of trouble, when it was really hard going, I remember Eric for always coming up with the goods.

“We were trailing Newcastle by 12 points in this spell and I think nine or ten times, Cantona scored the one goal that gave us the three points and eventually we went on to win the championship.

“My next player developed into possibly the best English midfielder ever.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s five-a-side or eleven-a-side or just head tennis, Paul Scholes is someone you want in your team. You don’t want to play against him.

“Most people will remember his 40, 50, 60 yards passing across the pitch and the goals he scored. I remember, more than anything, his binding the team together.

“So we go to a Welshman – Ryan Giggs.

“How you can play for 22 seasons at that level, scoring in every single one of them, winning that number of trophies, is beyond me.

“Every defender in the world was scared of Ryan. Ryan’s got to be the best Premier League player ever!”