Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Wales Greatest All-Time 23 member team

Wales at Euro 2016
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

Ireland/Northern Ireland combined team,
IrelandNorthern Ireland,
United Kingdom.

Wales has one of the oldest Football Associations in the world.  However, Wales never figured much in international football.  In 1958, they qualified for the World Cup Finals in Sweden after a playoff game against Israel.  Cliff Jones, Alf Sherwood, Jack Kelsey, Ronnie Burgess and John Charles were some the greatest ever players from Wales. They drew Hungary, the host Sweden and Mexico, and advanced to next round before Brazil sent them home with goal by a 17 year old Pele.  In the 1980's, Wales again had a Golden Generation.  However, while Neville Southall, Ian Rush and Mark Hughes starred in the English league, Wales failed to achieve much as a national team. In 2016, Wakes made a strong run at Euro 2016, reaching the semi-final.

If there were an All-Time World Cup, this would be 23 players I would bring to the tournament.
Wales 1958

GK: Neville Southall 
He was FWA Football of the Year in 1985 and one of the few keepers to win the award.  He was regarded as one of the best British keeper of his generation in a generation filled with great keepers.  He played most of his career with Everton.
Neville Southall

GK:  Jack Kelsey
Kelsey had 42 caps for Wales.  He was Wales' keeper at the WC Finals in 1958.  He spent his entire career with Arsenal.  He played over 300 games for Arsenal from 1949 to 1963.  He became their starter in the 1953-1954 season.

GK:  Dai Davies
Davis made 52 appearances for the Wales national football team between 1975 and 1982. ,For club football, he played for Everton, Wrexham, Tranmere Rovers and three spells at Swansea City. 

RB: Peter Rodrigues
Best remembered as the captain of Southampton's 1976 FA Cup winning team.  He also played for Cardiff City, Leicester City and Sheffield Wednesday before joining Southampton.  He was capped 40 times.

RB/LB:  Stuart Williams
He was a member of the 1958 World Cup team that left a big impression on Pele.  He aso played as a striker in the beginning of his career.  He played his club football for Wrexham, West Bromwich Albion and Southampton.

CB/ST: John Charles
He was the greatest Welsh player.  He was equally adept at centre-forward or centre-back.  He was all-time great with Leeds United, but this best part of career was with Juventus. He was Serie A's top scorer with 28 goals, and was voted player of the season as Juventus won the Scudetto. He played in Turin for five years, scoring 93 goals in 155 matches, winning the scudetto (Italian league championship) three times, and the Italian Cup twice. He was 3rd in the Ballon d'Or (Golden Ball) in 1959. He was never booked in his entire career.
John Charles
CB/ST/RB: Mel Charles
He was John Charles' brother.  Liked his brother, he could play at both centre-back and centre-forward.  He was never booked in his career.  He went to play in the 1958 WC Finals.  He started with Leeds United, but made a name with Swansea.  He later had an successful career with Arsenal and Cardiff City.

CB Mike England
He helped Tottenham Hotspurs to win the UEFA Cup in 1972 and reached the Final again two years later.  He also played for Blackburn Rovers and Cardiff.  He was capped 44 times and was also the youngest Welsh captain at one point.

CB Kevin Ratcliffte
He was the captain of Everton during its golden era in the 1980's.  He won two English League titles, one FA Cup and another Cup Winners' Cup. Ratcliffe was capped 59 times by Wales, often as captain. Wales never qualified for a major tournament while he was active.

LB: Joey Jones
He was a part of the Liverpool dynasty in the late 1970's.  He became the first Welshman to receive a European Cup winner medal in 1977.   He played for Wrexham and Chelsea.  He was capped 72 times.

CM: Aaron Ramsey
He made his senior debut for Wales at the age of 17.  He was made captain at the age of 20, the youngest ever. He was a part of Wales' team that made to the semifinal of Euro 2016.  He was a great playmaker.  Ramsey started his career with Cardiff, but made his name with Arsenal.

Aaron Ramsey
 CM: Terry Yorath
He was a member of Don Revie's Leeds United.  He became the first Welsh player to play in an European Cup Final when Leeds Utd reached the Final in 1975.  He also represented Coventry City, Tottenham Hotspur, Bradford City and Swansea City.  he earned 59 caps, often as captain.

CM/RB: Ron Burgess
He spent majority of his career with Tottenham Hotspurs.  He was the captain of Tottenham Hotspurs' League champion team in 1951. Burgess joined Swansea Town in 1954 as a player and played until 1956, taking over as manager of Swansea Town from 1955 to 1958. 

AM/LW: Gary Speed
Speed played professionally for Leeds United, Everton, Newcastle United, Bolton Wanderers and Sheffield United.  He held the record for the most appearances in the Premier League at 535, until it was surpassed by David James.  He was best remembered for winning the English league title in 1992 with Leeds United..  He made the PFA Team of the year in 1993. He was capped 85 times for Wales and served as the captain.

Jones was the best left winger in the world during the eraly 1960's.  he won the Double with Tottenham in 1961-1962.  He also played for Swansea and Fulham.  He played 59 times in all for Wales, scoring 16 goals. He went to play at the 1958 WC Finals in Sweden.

Sir Alex's longest serving player at Manchester United. 
He also holds the club record for competitive appearances. During his time at United, he won 13 Premier League winner's medals, four FA Cup winner's medals, three League Cup winner's medals and two Champions League winner's medals. He is widely considered one of the greatest British wingers in modern history.

Ryan Giggs

RW:  Billy Meredith
He was a legendary player for both Manchester City and Manchester United. He was probably the greatest right winger in Manchester United's history.  He gained 48 caps for Wales, for whom he scored 11 goals and won two British Home Championship titles. 

RW/LW:  Gareth Bale
Bale began his professional career at Southampton. Bale moved to Tottenham Hotspur in 2007. In 2011 and 2013, he was named PFA Players' Player of the Year.  His transfer to Real Madrid in 2013 was believed to be the most expensive in history.  He won three Champions League title with Real Madrid.  He scored the winning goal in the 2014 version. In 2016, he led Wales to reach the semifinal of Euro 2016.

Gareth Bale
FW: Ivor Allchurch
Known as 'The Golden Boy' of Welsh football, Allchurch played for Swansea Town, Newcastle United and Cardiff City, where he played 691 games and scored 249 goals. He was a star for Wales at the 1958 World Cup Finals.  He was at one point of the cap record holder and all-time leading scorer for Wales. His record of 68 caps for Wales stood until 1986. 
Ivor Allchurch

ST: Mark Hughes 
Best remembered for his spells with Manchester United. He won two Premier League title medals, four FA Cups, three League Cups and two European Cup Winners' Cups. He was the first player to win the PFA Players' Player of the Year award twice, in 1989 and 1991.  He also played for Barcelona and Bayern Munich, as well as the English clubs Chelsea, Southampton, Everton and finally Blackburn Rovers.

ST: Ian Rush
He was voted as the third greatest Liverpool player by fans in 2013. He was Liverpool's all-time leading scorer. He won both the PFA Player of the year and FWA Player of the Year in 1984.  he was European Golden Boot winner in the same year.  He also had short spells with Chester City, Juventus, Leeds United, Newcastle United, Sheffield United, Wrexham and Sydney Olympic.

Ian Rush

ST:  John Toshack
At Liverpool, he formed a great partner with Kevin Keegan. He won the First Division in 1973, 1976 and 1977, the FA Cup in 1974, and the UEFA Cup in 1973 and 1976. He earned 40 caps with Wales.

ST: Trevor Ford
Ford became the most expensive British player in 1950 when he moved from Aston Villa to Sunderland.  He was capped 38 times for Wales, becoming their all-time joint aggregate goal scorer with 23 goals.

Honorable Mention
Dean Saunders, Rod Thomas, Craig Bellamy, Trevor Ford.

Squad Explanation 
-- It was between Dean Saunders, Craig Bellamy and Trevor Ford for the last attacker on the team. Saunders is famous among the younger fans, but Ford is the all-time leading scorer for Wales.  
-- I also dropped Roy Paul for Mel Charles.
-- I only brought one leftback. I have Bale and Williams who could also play there.  Rod Thomas would have been my backup left back.
-- I selected Ramsey because the team lacks a playmaker. Besides, he deserved a spot for his contribution at Euro 2016 
-- Gareth Bale led Wales to the semifinal of Euro 2016. It was Wales' best finishes in a major tournament.

Starting lineup
Formation: 4-4-2
  • I used a classic British 4-4-2 formation.  Bale could become the greatest, but Meredith is just too good to be unseated at this point.
  • I nearly put John Charles on the defense and started Allchurch upfront.


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