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It's Time To Shout Stop In The Great World Class Debate

It's Time To Shout Stop In The Great World Class Debate
By Conor Neville
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Football is an environment rich in cliche. That is obvious any time one turns on Soccer Saturday. And, you know, for me, if any pundit can through an hour on the programme without being infected, he's done ever so well.

The phrase 'world class' may well be the most toxic cliche of all. The term is almost inextricably linked with football at this stage (During the late boom years, one remembers politicians promising a 'world class health service' for a time. They don't do that any more). The phrase needs to be decommissioned immediately.

Regrettably, Alex Ferguson has got everyone fretting about that exalted body of men, those that the commentariat have designated as world class footballers.

There were only four at Manchester United in his time - Eric Cantona, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Cristiano Ronaldo.


As was noted during the week, footballers seeking a 'world class' licence must boast a number of attributes - talent, brilliance, moral courage, the capacity to grab a game by the scruff of the neck, the ability to make a crowd 'gasp in amazement'.

But more important than any of that, is the ability to not fall out with Alex Ferguson. These four players have, to their credit, consistently shown the ability not to fall out with Alex Ferguson over many years - week in, week out.

Roy Keane and Ruud Van Nistelrooy both stumbled at that final hurdle and have thus been barred from the golden circle.


Now, Graeme Souness, the man who brought Ali Dia to Sunderland, has weighed in with his own assessment of what constitutes a world class player.

Notwithstanding Keane's high opinion of Souness as a pundit, the Scot is not convinced of Roy's world class credentials. It transpires that he is more convinced by Steven Gerrard's dubious claims to that status.

From the Premier League era, there are only a few who qualify. From those passed over by Fergie, Peter Schmeichel would, but I’m not sure about Roy Keane. John Terry of a few years ago would have got in anyone’s team. Thierry Henry was definitely world-class at his best and so were Steven Gerrard, Patrick Vieira and Didier Drogba.

Souness has moved to TV3 in recent times, but if he ever moves back to RTE, he has some explaining to do. In the meantime, someone needs to start a campaign seeking to ban the phrase 'world class' indefinitely.

Read more: Alex Ferguson Has Given His Opinion On Who Should Succeed Louis Van Gaal

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