Good things come in small packages, that’s the philosophy of today’s guest manager as Anthony Semaan, the man behind the superb new football blog The Football Supernova, Manchester United devotee and self-confessed short guy. Born in London, raised in Nigeria, and today dividing his time between Lebanon and Europe, Anthony has never let his height put him off playing football, and believes that short players not only benefit from a better sense of balance, but have also had to use their other skills, particularly their mental attributes, to push them to success. Anthony has therefore decided to make his FiveinMidfield Dream XI a side composed of some of the shortest players ever to grace the game. Over to you Anthony….
Probably the shortest goalkeeper to have ever played at a World Cup, Mexico’s keeper was not only a great shot stopper, but he also scored goals as well as he would sometimes start in goal and then be switched to playing as a striker; an option that any team would love. Oh, and he designed his own kits as well.
One of the silent figures during Manchester United’s rise to dominance in the early nineties. His support play to Andrei Kanchelskis was top class. Would have loved to find a mileage counter to see how much he had run up and down the right hand side of the pitch.
The only defender to ever win the Fifa World Player of the Year award, his relatively small stature as a defender never deterred him in marking out some of the games strongest, and even tallest, strikers.
Initially a sweeper, he could convert into to a central defender or a central midfielder with relative ease and brought great calmness whenever he played. His loyalty to the cause and leadership whenever he played can never be questioned and he was never afraid to get stuck in. He would be the captain of my team.
Besides for the obvious power in his free-kicks, which is a great option to have for any team, he would also provide a support, like Paul Parker, to the left wingers that played on the same flanks as he did. Short, robust and very rarely knocked off the ball when in possession of it.
The pacey England winger is gradually becoming one of the most troubling wingers of our time. Often lacking the perfect last ball, he always seems to leave defenders for dead when running at them by simply using his speed and not any other technical gift.
One of the best midfielders of this generation, Xavi dictates the play with his passing vision and creativity. A leader on the pitch and is also the heartbeat of the current Barcelona team.
Alongside Xavi, he’s the more energy-filled midfielder of the duo. His capabilities to the create something out of nothing have been nothing short of extraordinary.
I’ve put him out of his normal out-and-out striking position, but he can drift in and help the strikers. Being dubbed as the true heir to Maradona, at the current rate he’s playing at, he could surpass him and become the greatest player the game has ever seen.
A free role in the midfield supporting the striker would suit him perfectly. “Give Diego the ball and let him do the rest” was the motto of many teams that he played for, as he took mediocre teams to the pinnacle of World Football. The greatest ever… for now.
Scoring over 1000 goals in his careers playing in both Europe and South America, his lethalness up front has always been feared, as was his temper. His small stature always put him up against much bigger defenders and he still, almost always, got the better of them.
Honorable mentions/Subsitutes: Rene Higuita, Garrincha, Juninho, Edgar Davis, Claude Makelele, Carlos Tevez, Mathieu Valbuena, Pele, Paul Scholes.
What they lack in height, they more than make up for in ability. A fantastic side Anthony, thank you for taking the time to put that together for FiveinMidfield. You have to check out Anthony’s brand new football blog, www.thefootballsupernova.com, a fantastic site crammed full of top quality football writing. If you like what you see there make sure you pay Football Supernova’s Facebook page a visit, and follow Anthony on Twitter @FootySupernova.