Arsenal’s best British XI including Ian Wright, Aaron Ramsey and Paul Davis but NO current stars – The Sun
TO consider my all-time Arsenal XI is a difficult task, no question.
But to be asked to first produce a British XI makes that feat a little easier.
In my 45 years of watching Arsenal live, I have been privileged to watch some of the finest exponents of the game I love.
And now I am going to select my best-ever, British-only Arsenal XI – including only players I have personally watched live.
Firstly, what formation to choose? It has to be a 4-4-2 or variant of it because until recent times that was the go-to formation for most top sides.
It was also the set-up used by the Gunners in arguably their most successful era.
So here we go with an Arsenal XI of my time as a match-going fan, featuring only players from the home nations…
GOALKEEPER – David Seaman
IN goal, I would opt for Seaman – a fabulous, dominant keeper, who replaced another title-winning shot-stopper in John Lukic.
I grew up watching Pat Jennings who was simply majestic, but he loses out ultimately because Big Pat will always be Tottenham first.
I also think you have to select players who were playing their best football while at Arsenal…
RIGHT-BACK – Lee Dixon
ON that note, while I do believe Viv Anderson, at his peak, was a better right back, my No2 shirt goes to Dixon.
Dicko was the ultimate professional and warrior spanning three decades – only three players have played more times for our great club.
CENTRE-BACKS – Tony Adams & Sol Campbell
THE central defence is straight forward, but only because I did not see Frank McLintock in the red and white.
The captain and first name on the team sheet can only be Tony Adams.
Simply a giant of the modern game, captaining Arsenal to league titles across three separate decades, what Adams did can never be replicated.
Alongside Big Tony, it would be Sol Campbell, edging out Steve Bould and Martin Keown.
I only wish Adams and Campbell had longer than one season together.
LEFT-BACK – Ashley Cole
AT left-back, it is an extremely difficult decision
Kenny Sansom, an England great, and Nigel Winterburn, a multi-trophy winning member of the infamous Graham back four were both in the running.
But I simply believe that despite the way he left the club, Ashley Cole is the best left-back I have seen.
RIGHT-MID – David Rocastle
IT has to be "Rocky" – Arsenal’s Brazil-like talent, as David Dein, described him.
One of a fabulous crop of homegrown talents, brought through by Don Howe and who blossomed under Graham, he helped end an eight-year trophy drought in 1987.
I sometimes think younger Arsenal fans think we look back so fondly on Rocky because we tragically lost him at such a young age, but they are wrong.
Having such charismatic flair is rare but to have a player combine those sublime skills and with work rate and tenacity, is rarer still.
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