Despite the plethora of talent that Manchester United have had in the Premier League era, there have been a few weaker players – and that’s being kind – that have managed to slide their way into the first team.
For every Ryan Giggs there’s been a Dong Fangzhuo, for every Paul Scholes a Kieran Richardson – even the great Sir Alex Ferguson made the odd mistake or two with a player.
We’ve picked the worst Man Utd XI in the Premier League era.
Goalkeeper and Defenders
Massimo Taibi (GK): Roy Carroll must be breathing a sigh of relief, but few can complain with the inclusion of Taibi. As one of the many players on the United conveyor belt of rubbish goalkeepers post-Peter Schmeichel, the ‘Blind Venetian’ became a laughing stock at Old Trafford. Taibi – and his poppadom hands – returned to Italy after just one season.
Matteo Darmian (RB): Another import from Serie A, another flop. Despite showing signs of promise early on, the current Parma right-back became a grim sight on the United team sheet. The defender seemingly lost all ability to defend, while possessing the attacking intent of a snail. He certainly outstayed his welcome at the club.
William Prunier (CB): While Phil Jones can count himself lucky, the former trialist was a shoo-in for this XI. After signing for the club originally as a back up option, the Frenchman was thrust into the limelight perhaps too soon, and wilted in a heavy defeat to Tottenham, with Spurs bagging four. Ferguson did offer extend his stay, but Prunier decided to move on. Perhaps for the best.
Tyler Blackett (CB): Oh yeah, him! Playing the lanky defender so often was one of many of Louis van Gaal’s questionable decisions while at the helm. His red card against Leicester in the 5-3 defeat outlined his shortcomings, and was one of many errors in his 12 Premier League appearances – 12 too many.
Alexander Buttner (LB): Perhaps never truly given time to settle due to Patrice Evra’s presence, but nonetheless, the spiky-haired Dutchman failed to make the grade at United, and is surely one of the world players to have secured a Premier League medal.
Gabriel Obertan (RM): One of the worst players in this worst XI, the Frenchman didn’t exactly set the world alight at Old Trafford. It’s also sickening to think that Obertan was signed as a replacement for the likes of Carlos Tevez and Cristiano Ronaldo, who left in the same transfer window.
Kleberson (CM): No worst XI would be complete without Kleberson. After impressive performances as part of the 2002 World Cup winning Brazil side, there was much clamour over the young midfielder, yet it was United who won his signature. Yay…
Eric Djemba-Djemba (CM): If only he played as good as his name sounded. The Cameroonian midfielder perhaps epitomises that 2003 to 2006 period when the club somewhat lost their way. He’s still currently playing at the age of 38 for Swiss fifth division club FC Vallorbe-Ballaigues. Giants.
Darron Gibson (CM): The former Republic of Ireland midfielder has become more famous for his off-field exploits than for his footballing career. Despite not featuring heavily at the club, it is still any wonder why Ferguson put such faith in him. Not one of the Scotsman’s best decisions.
Bebe (LM): The Portuguese may have only played a handful of games, but the sheer nature of his flop means he must be in this side. His spell at United was brief and littered with loan spells, as it became clear he would not emerge as the next Ronaldo, despite Carlos Quieroz insisting Ferguson should sign him. Remarkably, he’s still only 29 and plays for second division Spanish side Rayo Vallecano.
Alexis Sanchez (ST): While he still has time to rectify it (maybe), Sanchez has been a disaster for United. His five goals for the club in all competitions represents a sad return for the former Arsenal superstar.