I am often asked about who is the best player I have faced in opposing teams and whilst the top 3 or 4 will be apparent, I thought I would list a top 11 all time greats. There will be some I might of overlooked, but I am happy with my final choices.
Pat Jennings I played against Pat when he made his debut for N Ireland v Wales, a great goalkeeper and a special friend.
George Cohen World Cup winner and another good friend. He always wanted to race me and he was deceptively quick.
John Charles What a player, could play centre half or centre forward. If he had played v Brazil in the 1958 world cup, I’m convinced we would have won.
Bobby Moore World Cup winner and a great player. Always composed with terrific timing in the tackles.
Dave Mackay A teammate who was the most competitive man I have ever met. He had to win and demanded the same from us all. When I faced him Wales v Scotland he crunched me in a tackle, I shouted to him ” What are you doing we are teammates” As he picked me up he said ” Aye but not today laddie ”
Bobby Charlton World Cup winner and a complete player, he could do it all and was one of the best shooters from distance I have seen. Man Utd became “the” team after us and won plenty of trophies.
Eusabio Like Pele so far ahead of his time. Had everything, pace , skill, strength and scored goals. We should have beaten his Benfica side in the semi final of the European Cup, but he was immense for them and they went on to lift the trophy.
George Best What can you say about George, possibly the most gifted player these shores have produced. When he walked in a room he was like a film star, everybody wanted a piece of him. He again had it all and was as tough as nails, got kicked from pillar to post and refused to go down. In those days that’s what we did.
John White Another teammate who was the best midfielder of our day. Played against him for Wales v Scotland. One of my best friends in football and a tragic loss to be taken so early.
Jimmy Greaves The best goalscorer of all time and a man who helped me on and off the pitch. Played against him for Wales and he scored in every match. A true friend.
Pele The best player I have ever faced. Could do it all , when we played Brazil in the quarter finals of the 1958 World Cup he was 17 and no one knew him, he didn’t even figure in Jimmy Murphy’s team talk. They won 1-0 with Pele getting the goal. They went on to win the cup scoring 5 goals in the semis and final with Pele again scoring. If he played today he would be priceless.
I hope you have enjoyed my picks, there were so many to choose from and if we had subs back then these players would be included
Tommy Smith, Jim Baxter, Gordon Banks, Denis Law