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Saturday 24 February 2018

'He’d lead my team and inspire them' - Eric Cantona selects Roy Keane in his all-time XI

Roy Keane and George Best were included in Eric Cantona's all-time dream XI
Roy Keane and George Best were included in Eric Cantona's all-time dream XI

Manchester United legend Eric Cantona has selected his all-time XI and two Irishmen make the list.

In the feature with Four Four Two, the former French international was glowing in his praise of former team mate Keane, who anchors the midfield alongside Colombian legend Carlos Valderamma.

On Keane's selection, Cantona said: "Do I need to say why? He was the best in midfield; he could play everywhere. He could play the holding role and be defensive, but then he could suddenly burst forward and score goals.

"He was so intelligent in how he played the game and let me tell you: it felt good to have him behind me for four seasons. He’d win the ball and then give it to me. And what a character! He’d lead my team and inspire them."

In three-pronged attack, Cantona put United great George Best alongside Argentinean goal machine Mario Kempes and Dutch superstar Johan Cruyff.

On the selection of Best, he added: ""He was a free spirit and had such charisma. With George and the rest of these players, I am sure we would have a lot of fun on the team bus!

"He loved life, but when it came to the game he was always focused. He gave everything he had to win. Yes, he left Old Trafford early, but he started at a young age and left so many great memories."

Here's Cantona XI:

Goalkeeper: Rene Higuita (Columbia)

Right-back: Junior (Brazil)

Central-defence: Franz Beckenbauer (Germany)

Left-back: Giacinto Facchetti (Italy)

Central-midfield: Roy Keane (Republic of Ireland)

Right-midfield: Carlos Valderrama (Colombia)

Left-midfield: Diego Maradona (Argentina)

Right-wing: Garrincha (Brazil)

Left-wing: Johan Cruyff (The Netherlands)

Striker: Mario Kempes (Argentina)

Striker: George Best (Northern Ireland)


Manager: Eric Cantona (France)

On picking himself as manager: "I was going to choose Cruyff as a player-manager because I loved his tactical brain. He was always thinking, he always wanted to improve his players. I know what his teams can do as I watched from the stands as his Barcelona side beat United 4-0 in 1994. But then I thought, 'I picked the team, so I should manage them'. I would love to take charge of this team. I know we would have some good times."

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