Top 5 underrated Manchester United players in Premier League era
When people talk about Manchester United players they often mention the legendary Class Of 92' or the immortal "Busby Babes" but there are a set of players who have been overlooked by the fans in spite of giving everything for United. Here is a list of 5 unsung heroes who have contributed their fair share to the club.
#5 Gary Neville
It can be safely said that Gary Neville was the Ringo Starr(The least talented member of the Beatles) of Manchester United during his nine year spell with the club. The defender was often berated by critics who didn’t consider him Manchester United material but Neville kept his head on his shoulders and was an integral part of the team up to his retirement. Neville was never the best right-back in the world – hell he wasn’t even the best right-back in Manchester but was always consistent which is why he survived at the highest level for so long.
The Bury-born lad gave everything he had for his team and always managed to regularly get a 6.5 match rating. Neville even joked that he’ll probably have 6.5 etched on his tombstone when he dies. The 39-year-old will always be remembered by United fans for his hate of Scousers, which he displayed at Old Trafford when he celebrated Rio Ferdinand’s goal against Liverpool in front of the visiting fans. Neville will go down as one of the most faithful and respected players to ever put on the famous red shirt – critics be damned!
#4 Michael Carrick
The Englishman has been criticized for his inability to find the back of the net often but many people often over look Carrick’s massive contribution to the team. The 32-year-old has the ability to control game and is a skilful passer of the ball with a 88.2 pass percentage in the Premier League and and 89.9 pass percentage in the Champions League this season. Perhaps he’s unfortunate to be a defensive midfielder as that position is not the fanciest in football.
Carrick put in countless excellent performances last season, which won him the PFA Player of the Year, and succeeded in winning the hearts of the supporters, some of the even chanting “It’s Hard To Believe He’s Not Paul Scholes” during games. Manchester United have actually struggled during Carrick’s absence which highlights his importance in the team. David Moyes will have a tough time replacing Carrick when he decides to hang up his boots.
#3 Park Ji-Sung
The former Korean International is best known for his brilliant performance in the 2002 World which includes his unforgettable header against Portugal which eliminated them from the tournament and helped South Korea advance into the knockout stages of the Cup for the first time. Park was praised for his work ethic, and tireless running down the flanks for United which earned him the name “Three Lungs”. The midfielder carved a niche for himself among the Old Trafford faithful who were bowled over by his consistent performances.
The 33-year-old coped very well in big games and found the back of the net against Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham during his spell at with the Red Devils. In spite of his brilliance Park never got as much media attention as some of his teammates did and was sold to Queens Park Rangers in 2012 after 8 selfless years at Manchester United where he won 4 Premier Leagues, 3 League Cups, 1 Champions League and 1 Club World Cup cementing his status as the most decorated footballer in Asian history.
#2 Darren Fletcher
The Scotland international used to be the butt of many jokes from supporters and had to undergo some harsh criticism from former team-mate Roy Keane but Fletch has gone on to silence his critics and carve a niche for himself in the team. The 30-year-old offers plenty of protection to the back four and can play in a number of positions including centre back, central midfielder and defensive midfielder.
Fletcher, who was shown a red card against Arsenal in the 2009 Champions League semi-final, was sorely missed during the Champions League final loss against Barcelona, with then Inter Milan manager Jose Mourinho stating "Fletcher is more important than people think. His work in midfield, especially in the midfield 'wars', in crucial matches is very important. Man United will miss his pace and aggression in defensive actions: he 'eats' opponents in defensive transition. I believe Xavi and Andres Iniesta are happy Fletch is not playing." All of us hope to see more of this hard-working midfielder in the coming months.
#1 John O
The Irishman has the ability to play in a number of positions including goalkeeper, centre back, full back, defensive midfielder and even an emergency striker which was perhaps his curse as he never really had a position he could call his own at Manchester United.
In spite of his inability to settle on a position O’Shea was a faithful servant to the club and left the fans with many memories including a memorable goal against Liverpool and the goal against Arsenal in the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2009 which sent United to the finals of the competition. The 32-year-old, who was with United for 13 years, will always be known as the “Jack Of All Trades.” Let’s hope the same thing doesn’t happen to Phil Jones.