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My Best XI: Lee Holmes

24 December 2013

After Paul Huntington started us off last week, we move on to our latest best XI by speaking to Lee Holmes.

The former England youth international and Derby County prodigy, looks back on the teams he has played with to come up with a great selection.


The side is dominated by his former Derby County and Southampton team-mates, after extended spells with both the Rams and Saints. The 26-year-old has also opted for an attacking 4-3-3 formation.


Below are Lee’s selections and reasons as to why he has chosen each player…



“The reason why I’ve picked Mart is that when I first broke into the team at Derby he was the ‘keeper we trained with and he was just unbelievable. You couldn’t get it past him and he’s the best goalkeeper I’ve ever played with.”



“I’ve only played with one person who’s won the Premier League, and that’s Jeff, and in my eyes that’s an unbelievable achievement – the greatest honour you could probably have as a footballer.”



“When I was growing up at Derby he was a massive presence, he was captain, leader, and basically a Derby legend.”



“He got so many caps for Sweden and, as I say, he was a massive presence at the back, very vocal and you very rarely got past him as a centre forward.”



“He’s got probably one of the best left foots I’ve ever played with, he could do what he wants with it really. He had a great delivery from set plays and was one of the best crossers that I’ve played with.”



“His ability on the ball was second to none. He could do anything he wanted with either foot and had the best free kick I’ve ever played with.”



“We grew up together, from the age of 12. We made our debuts in the same year and Tom had unbelievable ability from an early age. He could do what he wants with the football, with either foot, and has the best range of passing I’ve ever played with.”



“Came to Derby at the latter end of his career, great person, and had a lot of advice for the young lads. His professionalism was second to none. He was very good in the dressing room and on the pitch.”



“Everyone will know him from his ability at Man City. He came to Derby and was incredible. In training he did things I could only dream of doing. He had the best change of direction I’ve ever played with.”



“The silver fox! I played with him in my days at Derby. Great trainer, very good professional and played like he wanted to win every game. He had the sexiest legs I’ve ever played with!”



“He came to Southampton from Bristol Rovers. Not many people knew what he could do and wouldn’t have expected him to go on and do what he’s done. He was the best finisher I’ve ever played with. His link-up play, control and knowledge of the game was second to none and I’m so pleased he’s gone up the leagues and is doing what he’s doing in the Premier League.”




Date of birth: 24/09/1974

Position: Central defender

Current club: Retired

Professional appearances: 240

Nationality: Swedish

Caps: 3

Mathias Svensson started his career in his native Boras, Sweden where he played for local side IF Elfsborg.


The versatile Swede played 22 games for the Elegants, scoring a promising 15 goals, before English side Portsmouth paid £200,000 for his services.


Svensson moved to Fratton Park in 1996 and stayed at Pompy for two years, during which he scored an impressive 12 goals. His positive form attracted interest from a host of clubs, although it was Crystal Palace who won the battle for his signature in 1998.


Ten goals and 26 appearances later, First Division side Charlton struck a deal with the Eagles to take Svensson to the Valley. However, he failed to make a lasting impact with the Addicks.


A short loan spell at Derby County followed, before Norwich City enquired for the frontman. The Canaries purchased Svensson in 2003 and reaped the benefits of the Sweden international’s 11 goals.



Date of birth: 06/07/1973

Position: Midfielder/forward

Current club: Retired

Professional appearances: Over 400

Nationality: Georgian

Caps: 57

Georgian attacker Georgi Kinkladze started out in 1989 at the now-defunct Mretebi Tbilisi, scoring 18 goals for the Club, before moving to Dinamo Tbilisi in 1991.


There, he bagged an astonishing 41 goals in just 65 games and caught the attention of English club Manchester City.


Kinkladze transferred to Maine Road and made an instant impact on the British game, using his flair and technique to dazzle opposition defenders. European heavyweights Ajax noticed his talent and took him to Amsterdam in 1998.


However, the forward failed to impress in Holland and left without scoring a goal. A short loan spell at Derby County saw him return to England before he earned a permanent deal with the Rams.


He ended his time at Pride Park in 2003, trying his luck in both Cyprus and Russia, before eventually retiring from the game in 2006 with an impressive 57 Georgia caps under his belt.


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