Football

Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher select world teams of the year after FIFA’s controversial picks

Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher select their own World XIs after FIFA’s controversial picks this week… with Salah chosen by BOTH, Mbappe on the wing and plenty of Italian stars, but who’s up front?


It’s not often Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher find common ground on their football opinions but there was plenty of overlap when the TV pundits discussed their team of the year on Friday night.

There was much debate sparked this week when FIFA announced a bizarre team of the year at ‘The Best’ awards which was heavily geared towards forwards players in a curious 3-3-4 formation.

Now, following a fan vote on an EA Sports best XI, Neville and Carragher have revealed their personal choices based on a 4-3-3 formation – with six players featuring in both line-ups.

Mo Salah features in Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher's team of 2021

Kylian Mbappe was also picked by both Neville and CCarragher

Mo Salah (left) and Kylian Mbappe feature in Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher’s team of 2021

Neville (centre) and Carragher (right) though had disagreements over five positions

Neville (centre) and Carragher (right) though had disagreements over five positions

The ever presents in both line-ups feature many stars who helped steer Italy to Euro 2020 glory last summer including Gianluigi Donnarumma in goal.

Both also agreed on the left side of the defence which featured veteran centre-back Giorgio Chiellini and left-back Leonardo Spinazzola, while Marco Verratti was also an agreed choice in midfield.

In attack there was largely an agreed front three featuring Liverpool star Mohamed Salah as well as Kylian Mbappe but they both disagreed on who should spearhead centrally.

Neville opted to leave out Bayern Munich hitman Robert Lewandowski, recently voted at FIFA’s awards as the Best player in the world, electing to go with his Bundesliga rival Erling Haaland of Borussia Dortmund instead.

While Carragher selected Robert Lewandowski

Neville opted for Erling Haaland in attack

Neville opted for Erling Haaland (right) in attack while Carragher selected Robert Lewandowski

NEVILLE AND CARRAGHER PICK THEIR WORLD XI FOR 2021

GARY NEVILLE

GK: Gianluigi Donnarumma (PSG)

RB: Joao Cancelo (Man City)

CB: Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus)

CB: Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus)

LB: Leonardo Spinazzola (Roma)

MF: Josh Kimmich (B. Munich)

MF: Jorginho (Chelsea)

MF: Marco Verratti (PSG)

FW: Mohamed Salah (L’pool)

FW: Erling Haaland (B. Dortmund)

FW: Kylian Mbappe (PSG)

JAMIE CARRAGHER

GK: Gianluigi Donnarumma (PSG)

RB: Trent Alexander-Arnold (L’pool)

CB: Ruben Dias (Man City)

CB: Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus)

LB: Leonardo Spinazzola (Roma)

MF: Kevin de Bruyne (Man City)

MF: N’Golo Kante (Chelsea)

MF: Marco Verratti (PSG)

FW: Mohamed Salah (L’pool)

FW: Robert Lewandowski (B. Munich)

FW: Kylian Mbappe (PSG)

Neville said on Sky Sports: ‘You can’t not like Robert Lewandowski but I played against him quite a bit as England as a coach and he just didn’t really do a lot against us for Poland. I just thought “is he as good as the top strikers like Suarez?”, at the time. I just never took to him as much when I was coaching.

‘I’ve watched him since, when I’ve seen him live but sometimes you don’t have that fancy for a player. When I watch Haaland he is everything I want to see in a centre forward. Lewandowski is perhaps more intelligent and he is still fantastic.’

Carragher meanwhile did opt for Lewandowski in attack,  and also differed in midfield from Neville by opting for N’Golo Kante over Chelsea team-mate Jorginho along with Kevin de Bruyne as opposed to Neville selecting the Italian and Bayern’s Josh Kimmich.

Euro 2020 winners Gianluigi Donnarumma (left) and Giorgio Chiellini were in both teams

Euro 2020 winners Gianluigi Donnarumma (left) and Giorgio Chiellini were in both teams

The pundits also differed in choice over Chelsea pair Jorginho (left) and N'Golo Kante (right)

The pundits also differed in choice over Chelsea pair Jorginho (left) and N’Golo Kante (right)

‘He’s had a good year in terms of his team but I don’t necessary think Jorginho was instrumental in terms of Chelsea winning the Champions League,’ Carragher added.

‘He’s done really well and I think he is a good player. I’ve seen him with Italy and I’d have Verratti over Jorginho every day of the week in the Italian team and Kante ahead of Jorginho in the Chelsea team.

‘He has been involved in teams that have won things and he has played his part no doubt but I’ve never been carried away with talk of him winning the Ballon d’Or and I certainly wouldn’t have him in that team.’

While Neville opted to have Chiellini’s international and Juventus team-mate Leonardo Bonucci at centre-back, Carragher differed by selecting Manchester City’s Ruben Dias.

Although both praised Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold, only Carragher picked him

Although both praised Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold, only Carragher picked him

Meanwhile at right-back Carragher picked a second Liverpool player in Trent Alexander-Arnold, with Neville selecting City’s Joao Cancelo.

On picking the City star, Neville admitted he had considered Alexander-Arnold before going with Cancelo based on his exceptional 2021 form.  

Neville said: ‘I did think about putting Trent Alexander-Arnold right back and Kimmich on the right so they could dovetail with Salah because Alexander-Arnold and Salah have an unbelievable relationship but I just though Cancelo has had an exceptional year.’

Carragher added: ‘[Alexander-Arnold] is just unique. You watch him play and he has a bigger influence on his team then any other full-back in the world. We have never quite seen any other full-back play like and have a influence certainly creatively.’




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