Nations League managers XI: Ryan Giggs in but not Gareth Southgate
By Adam Bate
Last Updated: 04/09/18 11:41am
There are some iconic players now coaching European countries but find out who makes our best XI. There's no place for Gareth Southgate...
There are not too many high-class goalkeepers to choose from for this role but Russia boss Stanislav Cherchesov earns his spot. The former Spartak Moscow keeper won 49 caps in total, competing for both the Soviet Union and Russia, most notably playing in the 1994 World Cup match in which Oleg Salenko scored five times in a 6-1 win over Cameroon.
There is no denying the pedigree of Christian Panucci, slick player with even slicker hair. Now working as the head coach of Albania, he is more famous for being a Champions League winner with both AC Milan and Real Madrid. There was also a brief spell for Chelsea and an international career that spanned 14 years from 1994 to 2008.
Set-piece specialist and sweeper supreme, Ronald Koeman was simply one of the outstanding players of his generation. Steeped in the Dutch traditions of total football, he won Euro '88 under Rinus Michels before becoming an integral part of Johan Cruyff's dream team at Barcelona, scoring the winner in the 1992 European Cup final at Wembley.
There is no place for England's darling Gareth Southgate in this team and that's because his record just does not stand up to scrutiny in comparison to Scotland manager Alex McLeish. A veteran of three World Cups, Big Eck won 77 caps for his country but more significantly his partnership with Willie Miller helped Sir Alex Ferguson's Aberdeen win three league titles and two European trophies.
Far from a natural left-back, Luis Enrique nevertheless played in every position except goalkeeper and centre-back in an illustrious career that saw him swap Real Madrid for Barcelona long before his pal Luis Figo got pig's abuse for making the opposite journey. An Olympic gold medallist for his country, he is now Spain's national team coach.
Martin O'Neill once memorably pointed out to his fellow TV pundits Patrick Vieira and Fabio Cannavaro that while they were both World Cup winners, neither man had won the European Cup. The Republic of Ireland coach did it twice with Nottingham Forest, as an unused substitute in 1979 before playing as Old Big 'Ead retained Old Big Ears a year later.
Eric Cantona's description of Didier Deschamps as a water carrier really did seem to stick but the diminutive midfielder was probably underappreciated in his own time given his knack for winning trophies. A Champions League winner with Marseille and Juventus, he famously captained France to victory at the 1998 World Cup before repeating the feat as a manager.
Arguably the most naturally gifted player in this team, Robert Prosinecki's sublime skills adorned many a game. He was a European Cup winner with Crvena Zvezda before taking his talents to Real Madrid, Barcelona and, incongruously, Portsmouth where he wowed the crowds on the pitch and smoked 40 a day off it. He's now coaching Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Wales coach Ryan Giggs is the obvious choice on the left-wing where he won it all for Manchester United in his - wait for it - 24 seasons at Old Trafford. There were many great goals, a famous celebration or two to go with them, and a trophy cabinet that's the envy of many. Giggs won two Champions League wins and 13 Premier League titles.
The role of support-striker goes to Roberto Mancini, a man who oozed class and creativity during his long career in Serie A. He was a title-winner there twice, once in his prime alongside Gianluca Vialli for Sampdoria, and again with Lazio at the tail end of his career. The flair remained throughout. Mancini is now coaching the Italy national team.
Ukraine head coach Andriy Shevchenko is a national hero in his homeland and rightly so given his playing heroics. He is his country's all-time record goalscorer and six-time player of the year. A formidable forward at his peak, Shevchenko was a Champions League winner with AC Milan and scored 174 goals for the club. He'd have scored many more in this team.
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