Last night, with the last Monday Night Football of the season upon us, Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher answered the question we all wanted answering. Who wins in a Premier League all-time GB & Ireland XI vs Rest of The World XI match?
— Sky Sports MNF (@SkySportsMNF) May 18, 2015
These are the types of debates that ruin friendships. Those entirely hypothetical arguments that determine what kind of fan you are. They start off light-hearted, oh they always do, you best believe. But before you know it, somebody can’t accept that Paul Scholes isn’t part of a midfield two or someone is outraged that Dennis Bergkamp isn’t playing (seriously, why isn’t he in there). Next thing you know it’s been ten years and you haven’t talked…these things happen.
But, let’s steer clear of the dark insights into the private lives of the Pundit Arena team and ask ourselves the big question, who wins?
First things first, the GB & Ireland team is a tank of a defensive unit. It’s a close call but it comes down to this, between Adams/Terry and Vidic/Kompany there’s little difference, but the British defenders never really had a bad season, Kompany and Vidic have. Looking to the benches, GB & Irl have Rio Ferdinand Dennis Irwin, one of the league’s most under-appreciated players to your average layman. The RoW meanwhile, only have Mascherano.
Winner: GB & Irl
Gerrard & Keane as a midfield two is scary good. Two players who may actually have complimented each other well, had the lined up in real-life. The RoW team is going to have an issue. In Vieira and Toure they have two players who like to bomb forward, but that physical presence has got to count for something right?
Looking out to the wings, Giggs and Beckham come up against Ronaldo and Henry. And it’s the RoW all day. It has to be. We all love Beckham, but over Ronaldo or Henry…no chance.
Winner: Rest of World
This is tricky, real tricky. So strikers are judged on goals, let’s do it that way. Between them Shearer and Rooney have 445 goals in 847 premier League appearances. That works out to an average of 1.9 goals a game between the two. Suarez and Cantona meanwhile 281 appearances between them and 142 goals. It’s close but the RoW boys pip it with an average of 1.97 goals a game.
Of course, the goal contribution of Thierry Henry and Cristiano Ronaldo would surely trump Giggs and Beckham too.
Perhaps it’s only right that the Premier League all-time XI victors are the RoW, for without the mass influx of foreign talent since its inception, where would the league be?