From Given to Cole - The best XI that Steven Reid played alongside during playing career
Published 19/05/2015 | 15:26
The 34-year-old rubbed shoulders with some top players during his career and was desperately unlucky that injury struck him down during his stint at Blackburn just when he looked set to move on to bigger and better things.
That prevented the popular Londoner from having the chance to compete for Premier League titles - Manchester United were eyeing up a move - but he managed to fight back and ensure that he spent the rest of his playing days at the highest level.
Reid, who started off at Millwall, played in a World Cup with Ireland in 2002 and gave good service to Blackburn and West Brom before finishing up with a season at Burnley.
Here’s the independent.ie verdict on the best XI that Reid shared a dressing room with along the way.
Reid played in front of some decent keepers in his time, including Brad Friedel who has also announced that he is quitting at the end of this season. But Given, his international colleague, was one of the leading goalkeepers in the world in his prime and had a huge role in Ireland’s qualification for the 2002 World Cup.
The right back used the 2002 tournament to really announce his arrival and his burgeoning profile earned him a move to Liverpool and a part in their Champions League success. Finnan kept a low profile but he was a top class performer.
Reid soldiered alongside a collection of solid Premier League defenders, if not any superstars. Nelsen was an under-rated player whose arrival at Blackburn instigated a real improvement in their rearguard and a top six finish when Mark Hughes was in charge.
The Dubliner is now in the veteran stage and has tried his best to fight the inevitable at QPR this season. However, he will be remembered as one of the greatest defenders to pull on the green jersey, with Reid’s bad luck preventing them from winning more caps alongside each other.
In Japan and Korea, Reid, as the newest member of the squad, was called upon to make a presentation to Staunton on the occasion of his 100th cap. At that stage, ‘Stan’ was using his experience to survive as a makeshift central defender but at his best he was an excellent full back - which shouldn’t be forgotten because of his managerial woes.
Steven Gerrard’s emotional goodbye has prompted a debate about the recent era of great Premier League midfielders with Vieira, Lampard and Scholes all part of the discussion. Keane should be at the top of the pile for the manner in which he lifted his club and country to key victories
He was 31 when he landed in England after Graeme Souness brought him south from Rangers yet he was still able to make a big impact. Indeed, it’s striking how many Blackburn players of that era wax lyrical about an extremely talented, chain smoking Turk who was perfectly suited to his role as playmaker.
The Aussie is the only player from Reid’s youth days at Millwall that is still going in the game and is now earning big bucks in China. Cahill was a late developer who really came to prominence in the Lions’ run to the FA Cup final after Reid had left the club. He went from there to Everton to become one of the most effective attacking midfielders in the Premier League
They narrowly missed out being team-mates at club level as Reid was signed by Blackburn in the weeks after Duff left for Chelsea. Despite that, they managed to share some special memories in an Irish shirt; the Ballyboden lad was a leading light in that unique Asian World Cup experience.
Keane’s extraordinary record for Ireland will ensure his legacy and he should still add to his tally of 65 international goals with a place in the global top 10 list in his sights.
The Tallaght man also struck 126 times in the Premier League, yet it’s his national service that really made his name, particularly his 2002 equaliser against Germany that Reid rates as a career highlight.
Reid provided support for a range of excellent strikers at Blackburn, with Dwight Yorke, Craig Bellamy and the unlucky Matt Jansen three names that spring to mind. West Brom loanee Romelu Lukaku has a great chance of going all the way. Cole was a really consistent performer, though, notching 187 Premier League strikes - second in the all-time list behind Alan Shearer