Aaron Cresswell Overlooked for Country, Due to His Club?

By Callum Brown  

How long can England ignore Aaron Cresswell because of the kit he wears?

Aaron Cresswell has been one of West Hams most consistent players, in one of their best ever seasons; definitely their best since the days of Mcavennie, Devonshire and Bonds at least. Ironically two of those players were also overlooked for England, whilst widely regarded as top quality players, in the prime of their careers.

Roy Hodgson has capped more débutantes for his country, than any other England manager in the past. Yet Cresswell cannot get a look in, even though he has been, arguably, the best performing English Left Back throughout the last two seasons in the Premier League. Perhaps even more importantly than his form, is that he has been a virtual ever-present for his club, chalking up a lot more game time than other candidates.

Players who perform week-in, week-out, are not getting selected, yet those who are used as squad rotation at the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United are being handed international starts on a regular basis. This appears to be on the merits of the club they represent, rather than what they put in on the pitch.

Cresswell is not an 'academy graduate' who was scouted for a top club and had to time to ply his trade in friendlies and reserve team matches, he had to graft and scrap his way through the lower leagues starting with Tranmere Rovers, before his subsequent moves to Ipswich Town and West Ham United - he knows how to work hard in order to garner success.

All Six Nations, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa

With Ashley Cole gone and Leighton Baines not getting any younger, Luke Shaw yet to recover from that horrific leg break - why is Aaron Cresswell still being overlooked? He has all the credentials required;

  • He is young enough to be blooded for the future, but old enough to have valuable experience.

  • He plays for a team competing with the big boys and looking to qualify for European football, for the second season in a row.

  • He has proven he is a hard-working professional who does not shirk responsibilities, or fail to track back when an attack breaks down.

  • He has shown his flair going forward with a number of wonderful strikes this season (Aston Villa and Leicester both spring to mind).

Does he need to move to a club lower down the table than West Ham? Such as Chelsea, Liverpool, Everton or Southampton, in order to break into the England squad?

Liverpool are reported to be interested in the young left back, so would he need to move to back to his home city, and play at Anfield; warming the bench for a side he has beaten three times this season, in order to play for his country?

That seems somewhat unreasonable to me!

My biggest concern is that players will move to clubs and rot on benches in an effort to represent their countries, thus leaving us with an international team full of people who do not regularly complete 90 minutes of competitive football. Surely that will have a detrimental effort on the sides results?

Aristotle said that; "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.". This seems to apply on a domestic level, you need look no further than Claudio 'the Tinkerman' Ranieri and his band of 'journeymen' on the verge of Premier League Glory (and not by chance, deservedly so, in every way, shape and form), whilst Chelsea and their £400 million squad languish in middle table obscurity.

Internationally, the same should surely apply? Football does not stop being a TEAM game, because it is played under a different banner. The principles are the same, and we, as a nation, seem set on picking the best individuals, or the most expensive signings, rather than the players who function better in practicality, ultimately; football, is played on grass, not paper.

Perhaps I am just being negative, but I am searching for the reason that we have had so many 'world class' players over the years, and still failed to achieve anything - since that famous night at Wembley half a century ago.

Perhaps we are playing the wrong players, perhaps we are playing the right ones, and they are simply not good enough.

I am a firm believer in playing the players that are right for the team, people who will work hard for one another, and those full of passion and the desire to succeed - everything I have seen of Aaron Cresswell shows me he has those attributes, in abundance, and the talent to go with it.

Put him in the squad, pick him for a friendly, take him alongside another left back to the Euros, take a gamble, but do it soon - before another Englishmen ends up on a; "Best players not to be capped for England" list.

Manchester United's Greatest Premier League Team

By Jane C Brooke  

With Manchester United on course for their lowest Premier League finish in the first season since Alex Ferguson's retirement Janes Jerseys takes a look back at what we consider to be Manchester United's greatest team since the formation of the Premier League.

Peter Schmeichel (1991-1999)

Peter Schmeichel is arguably Manchester United's greatest EVER goalkeeper and one of the best goalkeepers the world has ever seen.

Schmeichel joined from the club from Bronby for the bargain price of £505,000 in the summer of 1991 and made his Manchester United debut in a 2-0 victory over Notts County.

Schmeichel helped the club win their first league title for 26 years in the inaugural season of the Premier League keeping an impressive 22 clean sheets.

Schmeichel went on to five Premier League titles, three FA Cups and one League Cup.

He also famously captained the team to the Champions League trophy in his final appearance for the club.
During his eight years with Manchester United Schmeichel made 392 appearances keeping an incredible 178 clean sheets and famously scoring one goal against Rotor Volgograd.

He became the first goalkeeper to keep 100 clean sheets in the Premier League when he kept a clean sheet against Crystal Palace on.

Schmeichel won the UEFA goalkeeper of the year in 1992, 1993, 1997 and 1998.

Best Price fitness equipment from sweatband.com

Gary Neville (1992-2011)

Gary Neville was a graduate on the famous "Class of 92" which included Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, David Beckham, Nicky Butt and Gary's brother Phil.

Having captained the youth team to FA Youth Cup glory in the 1991-92 season Neville made his senior debut against Torpedo Moscow in the UEFA Cup in September 1992.

With Paul Parker out injured Gary Neville became the teams first choice right back, a position he retained until his retirement in 2011.

After Roy Keane's departure in November 2005 Neville was appointed as club captain.

Neville went on to make 602 appearances for the club scoring 7 goals, winning 8 Premier League titles, 3 FA Cups, 2 League Cups and 2 European Champions League trophies.

Denis Irwin (1990-2002)

Denis Irwin was one of the most reliable and consistent performers of his generation although often underrated.

Irwin joined the side from Oldham in the summer of 1990 in a £625,000 move from Oldham Athletic, making his debut against Coventry City on the 25th August 1990.

In his first season with the club Irwin helped the club to win the European Cup Winners Cup, defeating Barcelona in the final.

Irwin was an ever present as Manchester United lifted their first league title for 26 years and was he also featured in every game in the double winning season of 1993-94.

During his time with the club Irwin won seven Premier League titles, three FA Cups, one League Cup, one European Champions League and one European Cup Winners Cup.

Denis Irwin made 529 appearances and scored 33 goals for Manchester United before joining Wolverhampton Wanderers at the end of the 2001-02 season.

Jaap Stam (1998-2001)

Jaap Stam only lasted with the side just over three seasons but proved to hugely popular with the Manchester United faithful.

Stam joined the club from Dutch side PSV for a then world record fee for a defender of £10.6m and made his debut in a 3-0 defeat against Arsenal in the Charity Shield.

In his first season with the club Stam helped Manchester United to the famous treble of the Premier League, FA Cup and European Champions League.

During his time with the club Manchester United became the first team to win three consecutive seasons.
Stam made 127 appearances for Manchester United scoring one goal against Leicester in a 6-2 victory.
Stam was voted UEFA Club Best Defender of the Year in 1998-99 and 1999-00.

Rio Ferdinand (2002-present)

Rio Ferdinand is one of the best football playing centre halves of a generation and arguably England's most accomplished defender since the legendary Bobby Moore.

Ferdinand joined the club for a British record transfer fee of £30m and he is still the most expensive English footballer in history and the most expensive defender in world football.

Rio made his debut for the team on the 27th August 2002 in a Champions League qualifying game against Zalaagerszeg which Manchester United won 5-0.

Ferdinand helped Manchester United to win the Premier League in his first season at the club playing in 28 league games.

Ferdinand famously missed a drugs test in September 2003 which led to him receiving an eight month ban.
Ferdinand has made nearly 450 appearances for Manchester United scoring 8 goals and winning six Premier League titles, two League Cups and one Champions League trophy.

Rio captained Manchester United in the memorable penalty shoot-out victory in the Champions League final against Chelsea.

Ferdinand featured in the FIFA World XI for the 2007-08 season.

Ryan Giggs (1990-present)

Ryan Giggs is the eldest member of the "Class of 92" and the only one to still be playing at the grand old age of 40.

Giggs made his debut for the club on the 2nd March 1991 in a 2-0 defeat and scored his first goal for the club in a 1-0 victory over Manchester City.

Giggs is the only player to have appeared in every Premier League season since it was founded in 1992.
Up until the 2013-14 season he had also scored in every campaign.

Giggs is the most decorated player in the history of English football with an incredible 13 Premier League titles, 4 FA Cup Winners medals, 3 League Cup winners medals and 2 Champions League winners medals.

Giggs has made over 950 appearances for the club, a record for a Manchester United player, scoring 168 goals.

During a truly illustrious career Giggs has set numerous records including most Premier League appearances, most Champions League appearances, most goals by a British player in the Champions League and the oldest scorer in the Champions League.

Cristiano Ronaldo (2003-2009)

Cristiano Ronaldo was often referred to a as a show pony in his early years with his countless step-overs looking great but not being particularly productive.

During his time with the club, under the guidance of Ferguson, Ronaldo channelled his undoubted ability to become one of the best players in the world.

Ronaldo joined the team from Sporting Lisbon for £12.2m having impressed Alex Ferguson whilst playing in a friendly against Manchester United.

Ronaldo made his debut as a substitute on the 16/08/03 in a 4-0 victory over Bolton and scored his first goal in a 3-0 victory over Portsmouth.

In his first season Ronaldo helped Manchester United to win the FA Cup scoring the first goal in a 3-0 victory over Millwall.

Ronaldo made 292 appearances for Manchester United scoring an impressive 118 including 42 goals in 49 appearances as he helped Manchester United win the Premier League and Champions League, winning a host of personal awards in the process including UEFA Club Footballer of the Year.

Ronaldo won three Premier League titles, one FA Cup, two League Cups and one Champions League trophy with Manchester United before leaving to join Real Madrid for a world record transfer fee of £80m.

Roy Keane (1993-2005)

Roy Keane was a dominating, tough-tackling, highly competitive central midfielder that epitomised the spirit of Manchester United under the management of Alex Ferguson.

Keane joined the club in the summer of 1993 signing from Nottingham Forest for £3.75m and making his debut against Aston Villa on the 23rd August in a 2-1 victory Aston Villa.

During his first season with the club Keane helped the team win the Premier League and FA Cup to claim a famous double.

Keane was handed the Manchester United captaincy following the shock retirement of Eric Cantona at the beginning of the 1997-98 season, a position he kept until leaving in 2005.

Keane made 480 appearances during his 12 years at the club scoring 51 goals and winning seven Premier League titles, four FA Cups and one Champions League trophy.

Keane left the club on the 15th December 2005 to sign for boyhood club Celtic.

Paul Scholes (1993-2011 & 2012-2013)

Paul Scholes is the last member of the "Class of 92" to feature in our greatest Manchester United Premier League team.

Scholes was arguably the greatest attacking midfielder of his generation, although he was occasionally let down by his ability to mistime a tackle which saw him collect over 120 yellow cards and 10 red cards and famously miss the 1999 Champions League final through suspension.

Scholes made his debut for the club on the 21st September 1994 scoring both goals in a 2-1 league cup victory over Port Vale.

During his first season as a first team player Scholes helped the side finish 2nd in the Premier League and reach the FA Cup final where they lost to Everton 1-0.

Scholes famously retired from professional football at the end of the 2010-11 season before Ferguson talked him into returning in January 2012.

During his two spells with Manchester United Scholes made 718 appearances and scored 155 goals winning eleven Premier League titles, three FA Cups, two League Cups and two Champions League trophies.

Eric Cantona (1992-1997)

Eric Cantona was nicknamed "King Eric" by Manchester United fans, regarded by many as Manchester United's greatest ever player and his name still reverberates around Old Trafford today.

Cantona signed for the club in a £1.2m switch from rivals Leeds United on the 27th November 1992 making his debut as a substitute against Manchester City on the 6th December 1992.

In his first season Cantona helped the team to their first league title in 26 years as they won the Premier League finishing 10 points clear of Manchester United.

In January 1995 Cantona attracted headlines for the wrong reasons as he launched a Kung -Fu style kick at a Crystal Palace fan on his way back to the tunnel after he had been sent off. The incident saw Cantona banned from football for eight months and many argue cost Manchester United the league title.

Following Steve Bruce's departure Cantona was handed the captains armband at the start of the 1996-97 campaign in which Manchester United won their fourth title in five years.

At the end of the 1996-97 season Cantona surprisingly announced he was retiring from professional football at the age of 30.

During his time at Manchester United Cantona made 185 appearances scoring 82 goals and winning four Premier League titles and two FA Cups.

Ruud van Nistelrooy (2001-2006)

The last position in the team is filled by Ruud van Nistelrooy who is arguably the most clinical finisher to play for the side in the Premier League.

Van Nistelrooy signed for the club in the summer of 2001 joining from PSV Eindhoven for a fee of £19m and made his debut in a 2-1 Charity Shield defeat against Liverpool.

In his first season with the club Van Nistelrooy scored 23 goals in the league (including scoring in 8 consecutuive mataches to set a record which he subsequently broke) and 36 goals in all competitions.

During his five years with the club Van Nistelrooy scored 150 goals in 219 appearances and won one Premier League title, one FA Cup and one League Cup.

With rumours of a rift with Ferguson Van Nistelrooy left the club in the July 2006 to sign for Real Madrid for a fee of £11m.

Subs bench

- Edwin van der Sar 
- Nemanja Vidic 
- Ronny Johnson 
- David Beckham 
- Lee Sharpe 
- Wayne Rooney 
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (the ultimate super sub!!)

Well that's our take on Manchester United's greatest Premier League team feel free to let us know if you disagree!