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Friday, 10 August, 2001, 09:20 GMT 10:20 UK
Manchester United who's who
BBC Sport Online profiles Premiership champions Manchester United.
The French international is one of the world's best goalkeepers. Some observers doubted Alex Ferguson's judgement after paying Monaco £7.8m for his services, but Barthez exceeded all expectations in his first Premiership season.
Promising young keeper who joined United from Wigan for £2.5m this summer. Unlikely to get many opportunities with Barthez at the club, but his chance should come in the future.
Has firmly established his position in the United defence for the past seven years. Neville, equally adept at playing at full-back or in central defence, has already accumulated 44 England caps - and he is still only 26-years-old. Has figured in all of United's successes and has recently signed a new contract at Old Trafford.
Sharing similar traits to his elder brother, Phil is equally at home playing either right or left-back. Was made a scapegoat when his tackle led to Romania's winning penalty against England in Euro 2000, but new England manager Sven Goran Eriksson has already shown his faith in Neville's ability by selecting him for all his England squads.
Became the most expensive defender in British football when he signed for £10.6m from PSV Eindhoven in the summer of 1998. Despite a tentative start to his career at Old Trafford, the authoritative Dutch international has blossomed into the complete defender, possessing power, pace and excellent distribution skills. Will line-up against Michael Owen, Robbie Fowler and Emile Heskey only days before England's friendly against Holland at White Hart Lane.
After firmly establishing his place alongside Jaap Stam in central defence, his career has gone from strength to strength. Has also become an integral part of Sven Goran Eriksson's plans and is set for a prolonged stay in the national side. A composed defender with plenty of pace, as well as a good footballing brain.
Solid centre-back now in his fifth season at Old Trafford. Struck up an excellent partnership with Stam when United won the treble, but last season was ruined by injury. Could struggle to get back into the first team following the emergence of Wes Brown.
After 10 years at the club, the veteran was recently rewarded for his services with a testimonial against Celtic. Although his appearances over the past few seasons have been limited because of Mikael Silvestre and Phil Neville, the Republic of Ireland international still continues to produce competent performances whenever he is called upon.
The Frenchman initially struggled when much was expected of him after his arrival for £4m from Inter Milan in 1999. But he soon found his feet in the Premiership and impressed with a series of determined performances on the left side. Has plenty of pace and can make penetrating runs in the opposition half.
Juan Sebastian Veron
Sir Alex Ferguson made his intentions for the forthcoming season clear when he signed the Argentine - rated as one of the top-five midfielders in the world - for a British record £28.1m from Lazio. Has the ability to dissect defences with pinpoint accuracy and alongside Beckham, is one of the best distributors in the game. Will cause plenty of problems in Europe and the Premiership.
Considered by most observers to be the best crosser in world football. Has matured immensely since his acrimonious sending off against Argentina in the World Cup in 1998. Sven Goran Eriksson invested his faith in Beckham when he appointed him England captain. Also one of the best dead-ball exponents in the game, scoring spectacular goals from 30 yards.
United's captain and the heartbeat of the side. Keane signed from Nottingham Forest for £3.75m in 1993 and has developed into the complete midfielder, equally at ease going forward or defending. But his competitive nature can occasionally overstep the mark, as in last year's Charity Shield when he was sent off.
Giggs made his United debut at the age of 16 and is now one of the most experienced players at Old Trafford. The Welsh winger's ability to run at defences is invaluable and United are a far poorer side in his absence.
A midfielder with the goalscoring ability of a centre forward. Ferguson has hinted that Scholes could play further forward this season following the arrival of Juan Veron in the summer. Scholes is a mainstay of the England team and the leading scorer in the present squad.
Ruud van Nistelrooy
Signed for a then-British record £19m in July. The Dutchman is a powerful striker with a deft touch and a good finish. United fans will hope he can prove to be the world-class centre-forward they have been searching for over the last few seasons.
Joined United for £6m in 1995 and, after a difficult start, has become a valued member of the squad. His overall game has improved immeasurably under the guidance of the Old Trafford coaching staff and he has scored more than 150 goals for United. His first-choice status, though, has been threatened b the arrival of Van Nistelrooy in the summer.
The effervescent Trinidadian enjoyed a marvellous first season at United, helping the side win the treble. But he failed to hold down a first-team place last season when Ferguson became increasingly unhappy about his antics away from the pitch.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Has become a favourite with the United fans since his arrival from Norwegian side Molde in 1996. He has developed a reputation as a super-sub after some dramatic late appearances from the bench, most notably in the 1999 Champions League final when he scored the equaliser against Bayern Munich. It is a label that Solskjaer dislikes, but will probably still have to live with this season.
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