Paul Merson names ex-Manchester United men in Aston Villa dream team

Trinity Road Stand - Aston Villa

Paul Merson has overlooked himself in his Aston Villa dream team, but has selected former Manchester United men Mark Bosnich and Dwight Yorke.

Paul Merson spent four productive years at Aston Villa between 1998 and 2002, helping them to the last FA Cup final played at the old Wembley.

He is therefore well placed to offer an opinion when it comes to the finest players to have ever pulled on the famous claret and blue jersey.

A man who also represented Arsenal, Middlesbrough, Portsmouth and Walsall during his playing days, and earned 21 caps for England, is modest enough to have overlooked himself when it comes to a greatest XI.

He has, however, selected seven players from the modern era, with one of those still plying his trade at a Premier League level.

Gareth Barry has gone on to enjoy considerable success as a holding midfielder at Manchester City and Everton, while also donning the Three Lions on 53 occasions, but he started out as a left-back at Villa and gets the nod from Merson ahead of Steve Staunton.

While Barry left the Midlands for the blue half of Manchester when seeking a new challenge, the likes of Mark Bosnich and Dwight Yorke thought red was more their colour.

The pair enjoyed/endured contrasting fortunes at Manchester United, with Bosnich lasting just two years while Yorke enjoyed a goal-laden four-year spell which included Treble-winning heroics in 1999. Merson said of the latter: “He was a brilliant finisher - and had three or four exceptional seasons before moving to Manchester United”.

Paul McGrath is another of those included in Merson’s team to have represented both Villa and United, with the legendary centre-half thriving in an era where he was able to nurse his battle-weary knees from game to game without the need for intense training sessions.

David Platt actually started his career at Old Trafford, as part of the academy system, but it was at Villa Park that he really rose to prominence and a man who went on to represent Juventus and Arsenal before enjoying coaching success with the England U21 side and Manchester City was a quality performer in his heyday.

As was Ian Taylor, who gets the nod from Merson as a man who spent close to 10 years with Villa and one who ‘would bleed claret and blue. His drive and determination were second to none’.

The current boss of England’s Young Lions is also included, with Gareth Southgate’s abilities as a ball-playing defender – albeit one not too smart from the penalty spot - rightly noted.

Kenny Swain, Gordon Cowans, Tony Morley and Gary Shaw complete a line-up that would have been a match for any opponent on their day, with European Cup winners from the glory days of the early 1980s added to the cream of the crop from the 90s and early 21st Century.

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