Dream United Team: World Cup v Euro winners


Here’s why Joe went for the team he did:

“None of the 10 United players to win a World Cup were thoroughbred strikers, so picking a quality six-a-side team is an intriguing challenge.

“But while there’s plenty that differentiates the small-sided format from its older brother, the 11-a-side, there’s much, much more that unites them. So there’s no need to hastily pack this sextet with a cast of dribbling wizards. We need organisation, graft and multi-dimensional talent – and this team has it in abundance.

“Fabien Barthez starts us off in goal, which means we can play right out from the back. And if anyone gets injured, the fleet-footed Frenchman is sure to fancy a freewheeling spell up front if we’re searching for a late winner.

“In defence, Nobby Stiles brings some much-needed Mancunian grit to proceedings. And with refereeing infamously laissez-faire in six-a-side, the opposition definitely won’t be taking the mick with this Collyhurst lad doling out justice where necessary. Stiles would have to employ his moulds or firm-ground studs here, so he’d have to get creative – but joking aside, Nobby was an underrated player and far better with the ball than he’s often given credit for. He also boasts a United goal ratio that bears comparison with someone like Michael Carrick, but his job here is to organise and stifle the opposition’s main threats.

“Alongside Nobby is Gerard Pique. Notionally a defender, he’s as comfortable on the ball as most midfielders, and handy around the opposition area too (as Real Madrid fans will tell you). With Stiles his reliable partner-in-crime, Gerard is free to create and wander, joining the attack whenever possible. In six-a-side, using an extra player to create an unexpected overload up top can be a vital weapon, so Gerard could be our surprise package.

“In midfield, we’ve got the Deutscher Fussballmeister, Bastian Schweinsteiger. With the captain of Die Mannschaft’s 2014 success at the heart of things, this team is unlikely to ever lose the ball. His strength and positional nous mean he can drop back to fill in for Pique if needed, and his inch-perfect passing makes life easy for everyone else. Bastian can slow the game down or speed it up at will – a deadly asset in sixes.

“Further forward, we’ve a duo that can do immense damage. No goal-hanging here; this pair can do the lot. Paul Pogba’s long legs can eat up ground and retrieve the ball with ease, while his famously creative imagination and dextrous feet can create chances and goals from the most impossible of angles. He’ll also drag multiple opponents towards him because he’s so hard to push off the ball – and that opens up important space elsewhere on the small pitch.

“Leading the line is the mighty Bobby Charlton. We might not have an out-and-out striker, but with a man who was United and England’s record goalscorer for over 40 years, I think we’ll muddle through. Charlton can beat a man on either side with that famous drop of the shoulder, find his team-mates from anywhere, and score with either foot – from any distance. He delivered thunderbolts from miles out in the 50s and 60s, when balls were like anvils, so a tiddly 4G pitch isn’t going to be a problem. He’d be able to find the top corner from the adjacent Portakabins, never mind the edge of our ‘D’.

“Organised and strong, with playmakers and creativity everywhere – plus the shooting ability of Charlton, Pogba and Schweinsteiger – this is a side that will be hard to beat, and even harder to stop from finding the net.”



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