Premier League XIs: A very magnificent V-team

Date published: Thursday 11th June 2020 9:24 - Matthew Stead


Is V for victory in the Alphabet League? Check out the V-Team…


Goalkeeper: Edwin van der Sar
A man with four Premier League titles to his name, all won after he turned 35, Edwin Van der Sar was one of the finest number ones in the world during the nineties and noughties. The golden oldie joined newly promoted Fulham in 2001, before finally solving Alex Ferguson’s long-standing goalkeeper at Manchester United in 2005. If you fancy a goalkeeper challenge, try naming four other ‘keepers eligible for the V-Team.


Centre-back: Virgil van Dijk
Keeping the Vs at ease is Liverpool’s assured centre-back Virgil Van Dijk. Since his arrival at Southampton in 2015, the Dutchman has gone from strength to strength, arguably becoming the best defender in the world. St.Mary’s has been a popular shopping mall for Liverpool over the years and getting Van Dijk in the bag proved to be their best bit of business yet. The Premier League title awaits the finest Liverpool defender of the Premier League era.


Centre-back: Nemanja Vidic
Van Dijk still has some way to go before he can get anywhere near Nemanja Vidic’s haul of five Premier League titles. The Serbian international also won three League Cups and a Champions League during his nine-year spell at Manchester United. With two of the Premier League’s greatest ever centre-backs keeping opposition forwards at bay in the Alphabet League, the V-Team stands a chance of getting near the top of the table…as long as Van Dijk marks Torres when the T-Team comes to town.


Centre-back: Jan Vertonghen
Spurs defender Jan Vertonghen completes a formidable back line for the Vs, with Belgium’s record appearance holder now in his eighth season at Tottenham. Another Belgian with north London connections misses out on the side, with former Arsenal star Thomas Vermaelen having to settle for a spot on the bench. Ron Vlaar, Jannick Vestergaard, Ramon Vega and Daniel Van Buyten are some other eligible centre-backs.


Right wing-back: Antonio Valencia
With so many good players in the centre of defence available to V-Team boss Terry Venables, it makes sense to utilise the more attacking options on the flanks. Former Manchester United and Wigan Athletic winger Antonio Valencia fits the bill, having prolonged his career at Old Trafford by making the move backwards in his later years. Late England debutant Barry Venison and former Fulham defender Moritz Volz are eligible if Venables favours a more traditional option on the right-hand side.


Left wing-back: Patrick van Aanholt
Crystal Palace’s Patrick Van Aanholt starts on the left, with the Dutchman previously turning out for Chelsea, Wigan and Sunderland in the top flight. A Champions League-winning left-back will have to settle for a spot on the bench, with former Porto player Nuno Valente eligible for the side after a stint with Everton in the late noughties. Pat Van Den Hauwe is a familiar face on the bench for Terry Venables, with the Welshman winning the FA Cup with Spurs in 1991 whilst Venables was manager.


Defensive midfield: Patrick Vieira
Adding to the strong spine of the V-Team, Patrick Vieira would be one of many leaders on the pitch. The Frenchman’s best of enemies double-act with Roy Keane in an era dominated by Arsenal and Manchester United has become symbolic of a memorable golden age for both clubs. The Vs versus the Ks would certainly be one of the most hotly anticipated match-ups in the Alphabet League.


Defensive midfield: Giovanni van Bronckhorst
Vieira’s former team-mate at Highbury lines up alongside him again in this side, with the two of them playing together in north London between 2001 and 2003. The Dutchman won the Premier League during his stay at the club, before making the move to Spanish giants Barcelona. He became one of the players who left England to win a Champions League title as part of the side that defeated the Gunners in the 2006 final.


Attacking midfield: Rafael van der Vaart
Former Tottenham star Rafael Van der Vaart will have bad flashbacks of playing in the same side as Van Bronckhorst, with the two narrowly losing out on a World Cup win with the Netherlands in 2010. His two-year stay in England left him with far happier memories, having becoming a much-loved figure at Spurs thanks to his marvellous creative talents and ability to score wonderfully worked goals. Juan Sebastian Veron takes up a spot on the bench as cover for the Dutchman.


Striker: Ruud van Nistelrooy
One of the deadliest strikers in Premier League history, Ruud Van Nistelrooy scored 95 goals in 150 appearances for Manchester United in the top flight. The Dutchman left Old Trafford with a long face after falling out with Alex Ferguson, but he provided supporters with plenty of smiles during his five-year stay at the club. A Premier League and La Liga winner, Van Nistelrooy went on to win two titles in Spain with Real Madrid.


Striker: Robin van Persie
Robin Van Persie completes the V-Team’s all-Dutch forward line, with the former Arsenal and Manchester United star spending 11 years in the Premier League. He scored a title-clinching hat-trick for the Red Devils in Alex Ferguson’s final season at Old Trafford, after making the controversial move in 2012. Gianluca Vialli, Mark Viduka and Jamie Vardy are other options up top, giving Venables an incredible striking quintet.


James Wiles – whose Instagram has a whole load more XIs


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