Man Utd Team of the Decade: Rooney & Van Persie lead the line

De Gea Rooney RVP GFX
With 2020 approaching, Goal has decided to pick out the best players to have graced Old Trafford over the past 10 years

  1. GK: David de Gea
    Getty Images

    GK: David de Gea

    A five-time participant in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year, four-time winner of the Manchester United Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year and one-time appearance holder in the FIFPro World XI, David de Gea has been among the most decorated and well-regarded goalkeepers in the world throughout his time at Old Trafford.

    Still in his prime, he has already completed a clean sweep of English domestic honours, including the Premier League title in 2013.

    De Gea recently signed a new contract, pledging his long-term future to the club, and all his experience will be needed if United are going to get back on their perch. 

  2. RB: Antonio Valencia
    Getty Images

    RB: Antonio Valencia

    Signed as a right sided midfielder from Wigan Athletic following the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo, Valencia later moved to right back and pips Rafael da Silva to a place in that position for this team. 

    He moved back to Ecuador last summer having won almost everything there is to win at Manchester United, including two Premier League titles, the FA Cup and the Europa League.

    Furthermore he was twice named the Manchester United Players' Player of the Year and was once a recipient of the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award.

    Valencia earned his place on the Premier League Team of the Year during 2009-10 and was also named in the UEFA Europa League Squad of the Season in 2017.

  3. CB: Rio Ferdinand
    Getty Images

    CB: Rio Ferdinand

    His best years might well have been behind him by the time the decade rolled around but Ferdinand is included in this team because United have still not produced a centre-back as classy or consistent in the years since.

    While Jonny Evans had his good days, neither Phil Jones nor Chris Smalling boast the composure or leadership characteristics of Ferdinand. 

    He earned two titles this decade, out of his total of six, and was a beaten Champions League finalist in 2011. He was also named in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year in 2013 and was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2016.

  4. CB: Nemanja Vidic

    CB: Nemanja Vidic

    Club captain, five-time winner of the Premier League and one-time winner of the Champions League, there is an argument to be made that Vidic is one of the best-ever defenders to wear the United shirt.

    Two of those league titles came in this decade, in 2011 and 2013, the latter during Sir Alex Ferguson's final season in charge. 

    Vidic first joined the club in 2006 and established a strong partnership with Ferdinand which helped United pick up trophy after trophy. It could be said that the club have never recovered from the loss of both Ferdinand and Vidic, as well as Patrice Evra, in the summer of 2014. 

    The latter part of his United career was blighted by injury but his excellence when fit means no place for the likes of Smalling or Jones on this list.

    A winner of the Premier League Player of the Season award in 2009 and 2011, Vidic also made the FIFA FIFPro World XI in 2009 and 2011 as well as the PFA Team of the Year on four occasions.

  5. LB: Patrice Evra

    LB: Patrice Evra

    A winner of five Premier League titles during his time at the club, Evra was also the winner of the Champions League in 2008. Two of those titles came this decade, in 2011 and 2013, along with a League Cup in 2011. 

    Evra was voted into the PFA Premier League Team of the Year on three occasions, with one of those appearances coming this decade for good measure. 

    There was a degree of acrimony over his initial departure for Juventus with a one-year extension on his contract triggered without his consent. His time in Turin perhaps showed that Evra still had something to offer to United having reached the Champions League final against Barcelona in 2015. 

    Replacement Luke Shaw has been at the club over five years now and has not come close to having Evra's impact.

  6. CM: Michael Carrick

    CM: Michael Carrick

    Carrick retired in 2017 having completed a rare clean sweep of all available domestic and European honours in the colours of Manchester United. 

    To his five Premier League titles-  two of which were earned this decade - he added the FA Cup in 2016, as well as two League Cup titles. To his Champions League title, earned in 2008, he added the Europa League under Jose Mourinho in 2017. 

    He was the club's Players' Player of the Year in 2013, the last time they topped the league, and was included in the PFA Team of the Year in the same season. 

    Carrick was under-utilised by England all throughout his career, amassing only 34 caps in all, despite the fact he was a mainstay in the United midfield for more than a decade, playing 464 matches in all. 

    He is now trying to pass on his experience to a young squad as part of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's backroom team.

  7. CM: Ander Herrera

    CM: Ander Herrera

    The pick of Manchester United's post-Sir Alex Ferguson transfers, Herrera was nonetheless permitted to leave for nothing last summer for Paris Saint-Germain. That such a solid performer was lost on a Bosman highlights the malfunction at the top of the club. 

    Herrera has only just turned 30 and would have given plenty more to United, especially as they are so thin on options in the midfield department. 

    The former Athletic Club man was signed under Louis van Gaal and subsequently went on to impress Jose Mourinho too. He picked up the FA Cup, the League Cup and the Europa League during his time at United and won the favour of the Old Trafford faithful due to his tenacity. 

    He won the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award in 2017 and that same year was named in the UEFA Europa League Squad of the Season.

  8. CAM: Juan Mata
    Getty Images

    CAM: Juan Mata

    He has been among United's most consistent players since first signing for a record fee in the winter of 2014, one of decidedly few signings to make the grade at Old Trafford since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson. 

    Mata is perhaps cursed to play for United at a low point in their history but his effect has overall been positive on the club.

    He has won the FA Cup, the League Cup and the Europa League during his stay, and remains a fixture in Solskjaer's squad having recently signed a new deal.

  9. FW: Nani
    Getty Images

    FW: Nani

    Often compared with his friend and compatriot Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani never quite hit the same heights at Old Trafford but was a more than useful player in his prime. 

    He was a key part of United's title win in 2011, in which he scored nine goals and assisted 19 more. The Portuguese winger also featured all throughout the Champions League campaign that season, as United reached the final where they were beaten by Barcelona.

    He finished that season as the recipient of the Manchester United Players' Player of the Year and was unlucky not to be in contention for the main award.

  10. FW: Robin van Persie
    Getty Images

    FW: Robin van Persie

    Van Persie's time at Old Trafford might well have been brief in comparison to others but it was explosive in impact. 

    Sir Alex Ferguson paid £24m to Arsenal for a 29-year-old striker with an unfavourable injury record but had seen enough to know he would improve his team.

    His hat-trick against Aston Villa secured the title with four games to spare and his volley that night earned him the Goal of the Season award. He was later given the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award for his work. 

    Though he struggled under David Moyes and Van Gaal before being shipped out to Fenerbahce, Van Persie's goal record stands up under scrutiny with 58 netted in only 105 games.

  11. FW: Wayne Rooney
    Getty Images

    FW: Wayne Rooney

    Manchester United's all-time leading goalscorer with 253 goals, Rooney departed for hometown club Everton in 2017 having seen and done it all in United colours during his 13-year stay at Old Trafford.

    From the Champions League to five Premier League titles, Rooney was an integral part of United's success under Sir Alex Ferguson. This decade, he was elected PFA Players' Player of the Year in 2010 and has twice been voted onto the PFA Team of the Year. 

    He was also chosen as the Premier League Player of the Season back in 2010 and onto the FIFA FIFPro World XI in 2011. His overhead winner against Manchester City in 2011 meanwhile will go down as one of the greatest goals in club history.

    Though his power waned during his latter days at the club, he still managed to score goals and pick up titles including the 2017 Europa League under Jose Mourinho.

  12. Honourable mentions
    Getty Images

    Honourable mentions

    In a decade that lacked success when compared with the previous two at Old Trafford, the most contentious decisions came in attack, with Marcus Rashford and Javier Hernandez close to forcing Nani out of the XI. 

    Rashford has performed well since his debut as an unknown teenager in 2016 and has won more than his fair share of titles already in his United career, including the FA Cup, the League Cup and the Europa League. 

    Chicharito, meanwhile, remains an underrated United player having scored 59 goals in 157 games for the club and won two Premier League titles.

    Further back, Marouane Fellaini should be recognised. The Belgium international may have become a symbol for all that went wrong at United over the past 10 years, but more often than not he was the man to score crucial late goals when the Red Devils needed them most.

  13. How they line up

    How they line up

    So, there you have it, our Man Utd Team of the Decade!

    But what do you make of our selections? Are there any glaring omissions, in your opinion?

    Post your thoughts – and your own line-ups – in the comments...