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What Would a United Kingdom Football Team Look Like?
The United Kingdom is made up of four separate nations. England, Scotland, and Wales make up the British Isles and with the addition of Northern Ireland, the four countries collaborate to make the United Kingdom. Although each countryman will say that they're their own country, they all, with the exception of Scotland, fall under British and the Queen's ruling.
In terms of football, England have been substantially the superior power, being the only country within the Kingdom to win a World Cup. England have always had a strong team in regards to competing for major competitions but Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have produced world-class players such as England has.
Arguably the best ever player that the United Kingdom has produced was a Belfast-born lad who won the Ballon D'or in 1968. George Best played over ten years for Manchester United and won several league titles and the 1968 European Cup with the team. However, because of the lack of quality in his Northern Ireland side, the team didn't live up to his own standard and failed to make a mark on the international stage.
Scotland have produced several world-class players. In fact the glorious Liverpool team of the 1980s had contained several of them, most notably being Alan Hanson, Graeme Souness, and the best player Scotland has ever produced, Kenny Daglish. The team made World Cups in 1982 and 1986 - where a certain Alex Ferguson maneged the team - but never progressed far enough to be noticed. Other quality players they have produced are players such as Denis Law, Ally McCoist, and John Collins.
Wales, the smallest nation on the island of Britain, have only managed to reach one World Cup which came in 1958. Big John Charles helped them progress to the quater-finals only to be knocked out by Brazil and 17-year-old wonder-kid, Pele. Even though they have only qualified for one major championship in their history they have produced outstanding players. Names such as John Charles, Micky Thomas, Ian Rush, Mark Hughes, Gary Speed, and Ryan Giggs have all put on the red uniform but have failed to make an impact.
Even though Great Britain entered a team for last summer's Olympic Games in London, it cannot be regarded as a "United Kingdom Team" because of the age limitation and the actual tournament itself. The team was only allowed three over age players - must be over 23 - so the team missed out on players such as Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard, who played for England in the European Championships in the same summer.
The team must consist of players from the four nations of the United Kingdom. No Republic of Ireland players are eligible to be selected because the country is not within the realms of the United Kingdom. Irish players such as Darron Gibson and James McClean, who are in fact Northern Irish, are also ineligible for selection because they're not in the Northern Irish national team.
GK: Alan McGregor, Scotland
Recently they're isn't many quality goalkeepers within the UK. Before the state was blessed with world-class goalkeepers such as England's Peter Shilton, Northern Ireland's Pat Jennings, and Wales' Neville Southall. However they're only two goalkeepers that would battle out for the position in goal. England and Manchester City goalkeepers Joe Hart and Scotland's number one, Alan McGregor. Both goalkeepers are top quality goalkeepers but the selection must go to Alan McGregor due to Joe Hart's poor form during the last season with both club and country. So only merely does Alan McGregor get the nod in goal for the United Kingdom.
RB: Glen Johnson, England
Gary Neville would have made the position his own during the last fifteen years but because of his retirement new talent must come through both at England and Manchester United. They're are a number of potential full-backs that could fill the position. Scotland's Alan Hutton performs well for his country, and likewise Chris Gunter for Wales. However the position must be contended by the two England right-backs, Glen Johnson of Liverpool and Tottenham's Kyle Walker. Kyle Walker received PFA Young Player of the Year in 2012 but it has been Johnson who has established himself as England's number one right-back and therefore the position must got to him.
CB: Gary Cahill, England
Bobby Moore, Jack Charlton, Alan Hanson, Martin Lawrence, Tony Adams, Colin Hendry, all names of top quality centre-backs that have graced England, Northern Ireland, and Scotland. In the England national team set-up former skipper John Terry and Rio Ferdinand have recently retired from the game so this might make them ineligible for selection. However due to their absence in the first XI, Gary Cahill has emerged as perhaps the best centre-half in the UK and thoroughly deserves his place in heart of the United Kingdom's defence.
CB: Jonny Evans, Northern Ireland
England or Scotland, in more recent times, aren't blessed with depth in regards to producing top quality centre-backs. Gary Cahill is out on his own as England's and Britain's best centre-back. Joleon Lescott, Chris Smalling, and Phil Jagielka have failed to make their mark on the English national team and have been rotated to partner Cahill in the middle. The two defenders that are battling for the position are are Wales and Swansea City captain, Ashley Williams, who has blossomed during his tinier in the Premier League, and Manchester United and Northern Ireland defender Jonny Evans. Evans received lots of plaudits this season because of his solid displays. He scored four Premier League goals for the Premier League champions and because of his great form this season, he just pips Williams to the second centre-back position.
LB: Leighton Baines, England
At left-back, there is a lot of depth to chose from. Notably every nation has a strong left back, or several solid ones. England have 100 cap winning Chelsea defender Ashley Cole, and Everton starlet Leighton Baines to chose from. Wales have Swansea City's Neil Taylor and Ben Davies to select, both performing well for club and country. The position has been filled for a number of years by West Ham's George McCarthy who has had an excellent return season to the Premier League, and finally, Scotland have Charlie Mulgrew who has had a superb season with Celtic, winning the domestic double. The position, however, has to be given to Leighton Baines of England. He played every single minute of last season's Premier League season for Everton and was rewarded by being selected for PFA Team of the Year.
RM: Theo Walcott, England
I'm sure if it was ten years ago David Beckham would make this position his own every time a debate would arise. However there is much competition of the position nowadays. Northern Ireland's Chris Brunt has had possibly his best season with West Brom, finishing a club record 8th in the Premier League. James Morrison has also had a wonderful campaign with West Brom and certainly would be a great addition to the team out wide. However, the position again must come down to the battle of the England wingers. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has had a mediocre season with Arsenal but seems to perform well when his country comes calling. Aaron Lennon has enjoyed a great season personally but came short of the Champions League birth on the last day with Spurs. The nod will be given to Arsenal's Theo Walcott. He has just come off his best ever season with Arsenal, who piped Spurs to fourth place, scoring 21 goals in all competitions.
CM: Michael Carrick, England
England have produced some real gems over the years to fill in at centre-midfield. Bobby Charlton, Bryan Robson, Paul Ince, Paul Scholes, Frank Lampard being merely some of the names that have graced the position. If the decision was taken perhaps a decade ago, certainly Paul Scholes would be selected for the role. The current England midfielders that are eligible for selection are Steven Gerrard, Scott Parker, Michael Carrick, and young Jack Wilshere. Due to Wilshere's poor season and Parker's continuing injury problems the battle must be fought between Liverpool captain and Manchester United's player of the season, Michael Carrick. Because of current form, and because of the more defensive side of his game, Michael Carrick would get the nod as the more holding midfielder role.
CM: Aaron Ramsey, Wales
Northern Ireland's Steven Davis? Scotland's Scott Brown or Charlie Adam? Wales' Aaron Ramsey or Joe Allen? Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales are all privileged to have such options in the centre of the midfield nowadays. Darren Fletcher would also undoubtedly have a look-in if it wasn't for his continuing injuries. Charlie Adam hasn't been at his very best this season with Stoke City, Steven Davies' form has been hot and cold all season with his first season with Southampton and Joe Allen has personally said that he has been disappointed with his form with his debut season at Anfield. Therefore, because of his late season form and playmaker attributes, Aaron Ramsey will partner Michael Carrick in the middle. The two should compliment each other perfectly with Ramsey pushing on and Carrick clearing up behind him. They both displayed outstanding passing percentages last season with their respected clubs.
LM: Gareth Bale, Wales
Left midfielders for the home nations would be Sean Maloney of Scotland, Craig Bellamy who usually plays there for Wales, or England's Ashley Young or perhaps Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. However, there is no competition here whatsoever $6. Ryan Giggs would have been the barer of the post for the past twenty years but it's fellow countryman and Cardiff-born Gareth Bale who undoubtedly takes up the left side of midfield. Wanted by the biggest clubs in Europe after his 26 goal season with Tottenham Hotspur, he is regarded as the best left side midfielder in the world. Reportedly leaving for Real Madrid this summer, there is no team in the world that wouldn't want him in their team.
CF: Wayne Rooney, England
The "trequarista" is the player usually with the most talent and ability on the team. Down the years Diego Maradona, Roberto Baggio, Francesco Totti, and many more have taken up the role. The United Kingdom have never been blessed with these types of players. Kenny Daglish being the only noticeable one during the last fifty-years. However Wayne Rooney has implemented himself as the playmaker for both club and country and is arguably one of the world's best players. There is no doubt that he would continue to display his passing ability and long shots in the United Kingdom's football team.
ST: Steven Fletcher, Scotland
Ian Rush, Mark Hughes, Denis Law, Ally McCoist, Gary Lineker, Geoff Hurst, Alan Shearer all of these players would unquestionably be in contention for the position during the periods in the game. Nowadays Northern Ireland struggle to find a goal scoring centre-forward with Kyle Lafferty being their best asset. Scotland have rotated a number of forwards to grace the postion with Kenny Miller and Jordan Rhodes both playing a number of games in attack for them. Craig Bellamy is more of a winger in recent times and Wales have lacked in depth in this certain position since the retirement of John Hartson. England have also rotated a lot with this post, Danny Welbeck, Andy Carrol, and Jermaine Defoe have all partnered Wayne Rooney within the last two years. Therefore the selection has gone to Sunderland and Scotland striker, Steven Fletcher. Fletcher displays a great amount of ability, being able to bring the ball down and play on the deck, and also being a superb headerer of the ball. Fletcher and Rooney would certainly compliment one another in attack for the UK.