LEFT-BACK: DENIS IRWIN (WORLD CUP 1994)
Jack Charlton’s Republic of Ireland side were one of the surprise packages at World Cup 1994, with a young Denis Irwin contributing to one of his nation’s all-time great footballing moments. Famously beating Italy 1-0 thanks to Ray Houghton’s looping effort, the Irish exited at the Round of 16 but could hold their heads high after their success against one of Italy’s best ever footballing sides. As for Irwin, his side’s resolute defending in the famous win will live long in the memory, in what was only Ireland’s second appearance at a World Cup.
MIDFIELD: NOBBY STILES (WORLD CUP 1966)
A midfield maestro and World Cup winner in his own right, no best tournament XI could not include Collyhurst-born Nobby Stiles. Playing every minute in England’s 1966 World Cup triumph, Stiles was a superb defensive midfielder often praised for his imperious man-marking and tough-tackling nature. Later awarded an MBE in 2000 after sections of the media raised the fact that five of the famous ’66 squad had not been decorated for their successes, Stiles is one of only two Englishmen to win both a European Cup and the World Cup.
MIDFIELD: BOBBY CHARLTON (WORLD CUP 1996)
A World Cup and a Ballon d’Or in both the same year? Not bad for a United youth product. Charlton is an easy addition to his XI due to his heroics in 1966. Netting twice in the semi-final against Portugal and scoring England’s first goal of the tournament against Mexico, Charlton’s name will forever be earmarked as one of England’s greatest footballing talents. A survivor of the tragic Munich Air Disaster at the age of just 20, his recovery from such an ordeal to reach the very top of the game is a testament to the man.