How Many World Class Players Do City Have?
Wswilly3 sent us the following.
I was thinking the other day how wonderful it is now to have the luxury of being able to watch genuine world class players from both City and the opposition.
If you had said to me when I was standing on the terraces on December 19th 1998 at Bootham Crescent, York that the future for Manchester City was that we would become the richest club in the world, have a great new stadium and a team full of Internationals I would have thought you were mad. Yet this is where we are now and although we haven't yet won a trophy or exactly set the footballing world alight, we have undoubtedly progressed a million miles from those dark days of playing Wycombe, Lincoln and York as equals and losing to them all.
So, getting back to the world class players - it is a thoughtful exercise to consider who we individually believe might warrant that accolade amongst the current Manchester City first team. So what definition and qualities might relate to being classified as a genuine world class player?
I suppose for starters one would have to be a proven International player and also be of the standard to get into the majority of other Premiership teams as a first choice member. You would have to be consistent and a genuine match winner, from whatever position you played and it would be a positive indication if previous groups of supporters held you in high esteem as a 'cult' figure. So how many City players meet that kind of definition? Well all a matter of opinion but here goes with my views.
I would make a case for 'certainties' and one maybe. The following in my opinion would be:
1) Shay Given - a seasoned International player over many years with Eire and a 'cult' figure at his former club Newcastle. Literally from the first minute of his career with City he has been on top form and clearly showed himself to be a cut above Joe Hart, who himself has the potential to be a future 'great'. Also a great influence in the dressing room by all accounts and a real 'pro'. Would I prefer any other Premiership goalkeeper? The nearest is probably Reina at Liverpool but on balance Shay would be my choice and I think he would get between the sticks at the majority of premiership clubs.
2) Gareth Barry - now a seasoned International with England and virtually an automatic pick of Capello for a midfield berth, even ahead of very illustrious names. He can play in a number of positions, which sometimes has been a detriment to him at City but seems most comfortable with a 'box to box' midfield role. Was a 'cult' figure at Villa and I believe will inevitably have a key role for England at the World Cup and would walk into most Premiership teams. I see him as a mainstay for City for several years and a key player who has developed into World Class player in a quiet but definite manner.
3) Carlos Tevez - a long standing International with Argentina and a major influence and a 'cult' figure wherever he has played such as with West Ham and at United. Hard working and skilled with the ability to lead the line or play of a main striker. A proven goal scorer and a great asset for any team and would be snapped up by most Premiership teams if they had the opportunity. He has the world at his feet and the ability to become a true City legend.
4) Nigel de Jong - an experienced International with Holland and a key player for Hamburg before joining City. Given that a team play a system requiring an out and out holding midfield player, he has to be one of the world's best in this role along with Masherano at Liverpool and would be seen as a 'catch' by most Premiership teams.
5) Craig Bellamy - a legend with Wales and a wealth of experience with a variety of Premiership teams, where he has always made an impact. Has to be handled properly to get the best out of him but inevitably a fan's favourite wherever he has played and would get into most Premiership teams. A proven goal scorer with a high work rate who can perform at the highest level even with lesser able players around him.
The 'maybes' in my opinion would be:
1) Vincent Kompany - an experienced International with Belgium who can play as either a holding midfielder or as a central defender, where he is currently excelling. Given an extended run in this role he could well prove himself to be one of the best central defenders in the Premiership but not there yet.
As I said before it is all a matter of good natured opinion and that is what is so wonderful about football. I would appreciate hearing the views of fellow fans and in particular:
Do you agree with the above choices or do you think such as Wayne Bridge, Joleyn Lescott and Shaun Wright Phillips, all England Internationals should have been included?
Am I right not to have considered Micah Richards, Pablo Zabaleta, Robinho, Adebayor, Santa Cruz, Petrov Toure and Stevie Ireland?
Is having five players of true International class a real spring board for a title push next year given that Mancini can add to his team during the close season?