With the 'Class of 92' documentary set for release, which of the six Manchester United stars was the better player?
The Class of 92 documentary shows how David Beckham, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs, the Neville brothers and Paul Scholes rose to prominence with Manchester United, and whilst all six enjoyed fruitful careers at the pinnacle of football, which one was the better player?
The most familiar face in world football, Beckham's career has been incredible, playing in some of the biggest cities in the world. After leaving Manchester United, Beckham went on to play for Real Madrid, LA Galaxy, AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain. The 38 year old retired in May, but retired with a staggering haul of six Premier League titles, two FA Cups, and Champions League winners medal with United, as well as La Liga and Ligue 1 title wins. United legend George Best summed Beckham up well though, saying "He cannot kick with his left foot, he cannot head a ball, he cannot tackle and he doesn't score many goals. Apart from that he's all right." Beckham wasn't a fantastic footballer, but his image will mask his deficiencies on the field.
Butt wasn't the most technically gifted of the group, but he was a reliable stand-in when needed for Sir Alex Ferguson. With Roy Keane fairly regularly suspended, Butt played a key role in filling in and breaking up play. Butt was always an underrated member of Ferguson's squad, and his title haul is almost as impressive as Beckham's. Whilst he may not have been given the same praise, Butt regularly proved his worth until his move to Newcastle United in 2004.
Giggs, now 39, is the only one of the six to still be classed as player for United. Now in his 24th season as a Red Devil, Giggs has been an incredible servant at Old Trafford, and is even a player-coach under new manager David Moyes. Giggs was once a flying winger – as those who saw his goal against Arsenal in the 1999 FA Cup semi-final can testify – but with his loss of speed, Giggs has reinvented himself as a central midfielder. During his time at United, Giggs has won an outrageous 35 trophies, including 13 Premier League titles, and even in his diminished role this season, he will be looking for number 14.
Neville made over 600 appearances for United after making his debut in in the 1992-93 season, and became an ever-present under Ferguson. Neville was never a goalscoring full back, but he was positionally sound in defence, and when Roy Keane left the club in 2005, Neville assumed duties as captain – totally deserved for his committed displays over the years. After 85 caps for England, Neville has now gone on to secure a coaching role in Roy Hodgson's setup, having drawn plaudits for his work on Sky Sports.
Phil, the younger of the two Neville's, is another of this bunch who has gone into coaching, with the 36 year old joining Moyes' staff at Old Trafford as the first team coach. Neville, like Butt, was a solid contributor when first team players went down injured, and his ability to play full back or in midfield was incredibly valuable to Sir Alex Ferguson. Neville went on to feature heavily for Everton after his move in 2005, and continued to be a dependable player in a number of positions.
Last but by no means least is Paul Scholes, one of the finest midfielders the Premier League has ever seen. Scholes scored over 150 goals from midfield for Manchester United, and former England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson believed the fiery midfielder was England's best footballer, only to be held back by his asthma. Scholes retired in 2011, but made a sensational return in January 2012, and stayed until the summer just gone, helping United wrestle the title back from the clutches of their 'noisy neighbours'.
Who do you think was the real star of the Class of 92? Comment below with who you think the best player from the group was...
image: © Magnus D