5 greatest Manchester United midfielders in the Premier League Era
Undoubtedly in the last quarter of a century, Manchester United have been one of the most successful teams in the world, even officially becoming the best team in the world in 1999 and 2008. In Sir Alex Ferguson's illustrious period at the club, they won 13 Premier League titles in 20 seasons.
Even though Fergie left the club in 2013, they are still easily the most successful team in the Premier League era, even though they've not won it for nearly 5 years. Of course, there's been little chance of them winning it this season, as they will probably come a distant second to Pep Guardiola's steamrollering Manchester City.
Of course, the main reason United have been so successful in the Premier League is because of Sir Alex and his legendary man-management. Ferguson was always good at building teams to go on a title charge, particularly in midfield where in his early years he opted for a mixture of flair in Ryan Giggs and grit in players such as Paul Ince.
As his time developed at United, Ferguson sought a more refined blend in the centre of the park, necessitated by the reds becoming prominent in Europe again. Sir Alex recognised he would need more cultured players in his midfield to dictate games.
The midfield was complemented by flying wingers (particularly in the Premier League) as Ferguson espoused that attack was always the best form of defence.
United have had a glut of great midfielders to play for them in the Premier League and this article describes the 5 best ever midfielders to play for the club in the PL era.
#5 David Beckham (1992-2003)
Even though Beckham left the club under a cloud in 2003 for Real Madrid after falling out with Sir Alex, there's no doubt that he was an unbelievably talented player with a natural talent for set pieces who during his peak was a pleasure to watch.
Arguably the best years of his football career came at United before he got his head turned by fame and fortune and the limelight away from the pitch. In his early years at United, Beckham was a revelation in replacing the departed Andrei Kanchelskis and helping United to 3 titles in his first 4 seasons at the club including being a key part of the treble-winning side in 1998/99.
Rather like the next incumbent of the number 7 shirt at United (a certain Cristiano Ronaldo) Beckham's dedication to football was impressive and his hard work is what drove him to the top. At United, he developed a reputation for a particular technique in striking the ball from free-kicks, corners and crosses.
Incredibly, he scored 30 direct free kicks for Manchester United and 65 in his whole career. In addition to this, he was also effective as a box-box midfielder, with a decent scoring record (85 goals in 394 appearances) though perhaps Beckham's most famous goal was the one he scored from the halfway line against Wimbledon in 1996.
In fact the first of United's 'golden periods' (they often would become between 2006-2013, mainly thanks to the emergence of Rooney and Ronaldo) was when Beckham was at the club- after Beckham broke into the first team in 1995/96 until his departure, United won 6 titles in 8 seasons. That's no coincidence.