Friday 24 November 2017

John Aldridge picks FIVE Irishmen in his Dream Team XI

John Aldridge has picked his the best XI he has played with
John Aldridge has picked his the best XI he has played with
Independent Newsdesk

Independent Newsdesk

Being part of a brilliant Liverpool team in the late 80s means that John Aldridge has rubbed shoulders with some quality players in his day.

The legendary Ireland striker had some tough decisions to make when he named the best XI he has played with on Sky Sports' Fantasy Football show last night.

Steve McMahon and Jan Molby are two notable names who did not make the cut but there was room for no fewer than five Irishmen.

Here is Aldo's Dream Team:

Goalkeeper: Bruce Grobbelaar

'Bruce was a great goalkeeper. He was very eccentric in the sort of things he did, but shot-stopping, use of his box, his kicking... he had everything. He was different class'.

Right-back: Steve Nicol

'What a player. He was a greyhound, he could run all day. He's a right-back who could score goals for fun. He would give you ten goals a year without penalties. And he was great in the dressing room'.

Glory days: Paul McGrath lining out for Ireland

Centre-half: Paul McGrath

'He is the hardest defender I have ever played against. A true gentleman. When we beat Italy 1-0 in the giant stadium in the 1994 World Cup, if any young lad is aspiring to be a centre-half, get the DVD of that game and watch Paul McGrath. It was the best performance I have ever seen, he had (Roberto) Baggio in his pocket for 90 minutes. He was absolutely awesome'.

Centre-half: Alan Hansen (captain)

'The amount of silverware he won as a captain and a player speaks for himself. He had the proper football brain, read the game unbelievably. He didn't like been roughed up but he read the game impeccably. Good in the air, fantastic on the ground but what he was magnificent at was coming into the midfield areas and even further up the park and scoring goals'.

Left-back: Mark Lawrenson

'He was brilliant. One of the best tacklers and the best reader of a game I've ever seen. He had long legs but if you needed someone to get a little toe on the end of the ball to get it away, Lawro's your man. He was a fabulous player, very elegant'.

Ray Houghton leaves Gordon Strachan on the deck during the European Championships qualifier in Hampden Park, Glasgow in 1987

Right-wing: Ray Houghton

'Ray was a very intelligent footballer, he really was. He was just so brainy. Jack (Charlton) didn't know his dad came from Donegal. When Jack picked me, I told him about Ray Houghton and he said 'bring him along, he can have a game as well'.

Centre-midfield: Liam Brady

'He was fabulous. One of the best left foots you are likely to ever see in world football'.

6 September 1995; Republic of Ireland's Roy Keane in action during the match. Austria v Republic of Ireland, European Championship Qualifier, Ernst Happel Stadium, Vienna, Austria. Soccer. Picture credit; David Maher / SPORTSFILE

Central-midfield: Roy Keane

'He is a man mountain. People questioned his temperament but you are talking about a winner and a born leader. It's in his blood. Very passionate about the game'.

Left-wing: John Barnes

'He's the best player I have ever played alongside. Give the ball to Barnsey, get in the box, go far stick and it's going to come in. At that time, he was one of the best players in the world for me'.

Striker: Peter Beardsley

'Genius. (He would) score 15 goals a season, create 10 goals a season. Peter was tremendous. He linked up great with Gary Lineker at England. He had a great combination with Barnsey at Liverpool as well. Great tricks as well'.

Striker: Ian Rush

'I have got to put Rushy up there. We had a good partnership and whenever we played together, either he scored or I scored in all except maybe one or two games. He was a phenomenal player'.

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