Leeds United were once one of Europe’s giants capable of a long-run in the Champions League. Since then, one of England’s most historical clubs has fallen as low as England’s third tier before their recent rejuvenation under Gary Monk. As winners of the first division as well as England’s other major trophies, Elland Road has been home to some of the games best players.
Whilst the Peacocks have plenty of great players in their history, which players during the 12 years in the Premier League era would make their best ever XI?
RB) Lucas Radebe
The complete defender. versatile. South Africa's best ever defender. Image Source: The42
RW) Robbie Fowler
One of the Premier League's best ever strikers. Image Source: Coral
CM) Gary Speed
The Welsh legend. Part of Leeds United's first division winning side before the dawn of the Premier League. Image Source: Deeside
GK) Nigel Martyn
Champions League semi-finalist with multiple outstanding performances. Image Source: Goal
LW) Harry Kewell
The Australian Champions League winner. Image Source: Joe.ie
CM) Alan Smith
Over 150 appearances for the Peacocks. The former Premier League winner is yet to retire and currently playing for Notts County. Image Source: Knownpeople.net
CDM) David Batty
Part of both Leeds and Blackburn's league winning sides. Image Source: Squawka
CB) Rio Ferdinand
One of England's best ever defenders. The most expensive defender of the Leeds and Manchester United man's era. Image Source: Goal
LB) Ian Harte
Free-kicks are decided. The Irish full-back was always capable of a goal in a match. Image Source: Turnstyle
ST) Eric Cantona
Part of the Leeds squad in the inaugural Premier League season before being swooped up by Manchester United. Image Source: sbat
Bench) Paul Robinson
Somehow still playing in the Premier League?! What. A. Legend. Image Source: Twitter
Bench) Mark Viduka
We couldn't ignore the big Australian. Image Source: Twitter
Bench) Danny Mills
Another one of those decent former players who somehow makes it into punditry. Image Source: Twitter
Bench) James Milner
Milner could find himself on the bench/in the XI at four out of five of his former clubs. Captain Reliable. Image Source: Twitter
Bench) Robert Molenaar
The bruising centre-back who was nicknamed the Terminator. Image Source: Twitter
Bench) Olivier Dacourt
What a CV the Frenchman has. One of Leeds finest midfielders. Image Source: Twitter
Bench) Robbie Keane
A journeyman, but virtually a demigod at every club he visits. Image Source: Twitter
SEE ALSO: Olivier Dacourt had it all to succeed rather than becoming a footnote
There are of course some honourable mentions to the likes of Billy Bremner and others from the great Leeds teams before the Premier League era.
It’s easy to see why Leeds have three league title’s to their name. The side always had plenty of talent before their relegation in 2004, it’s surprising how a team who were so good were able to fall so hard.
Former Swansea man Gary Monk currently has guided Leeds to 4th in the Championship, with the play-offs likely – we could see them back in the Premier League soon. Similar to the return of Middlesbrough, it will be good to see Leeds back in England’s top flight – their history is up there with England’s best and it’s a fixture which supporters of the top teams can look forward to.
The best part of this XI is that we would finally be able to see a partnership between Rio Ferdinand and Roque Junior. Something we should have seen, but for Manchester United who were always keen to cherry pick from other English clubs. The trio of Rio Ferdinand, Eric Cantona and Alan Smith were all signed by Sir Alex Ferguson – it’s not hard to see why either.