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My Best XI: Paul Huntington

19 December 2013

We have been asking the first team squad and management to name the greatest team they have ever played alongside from junior football to the present.

PNE.Com’s first ‘Best XI’ comes courtesy of centre half Paul Huntington.

The 25-year-old played for both Leeds and Newcastle United in the early stages of his career and so has a vast array of top-class players to choose from.

His team contains a mixture of current international stars, managerial prospects, and a few older heads to give a bit of guidance. Below are Hunts’ selections for his ‘Best XI’ and the reasons why he has chosen each player to grace his side…

Goalkeeper: Stephen Henderson
“A good young goalie that was on loan from Bristol City. He gave confidence to the back four and he was an all-round very good goalkeeper.”

Full back: Paul Connolly 
“Calm on the ball, a good experienced head who was a really good talker.”

Full back: Nolberto Solano
“I had to get him in the team, not in any specific position, just because he had a wand of a right foot. He never used his left but he could put the ball on a six pence, wherever he wanted, whenever he wanted so that’s why I’ve put him in.”

Centre half: Steven Taylor
“A young lad that came through the ranks and loves defending and loves getting blocks in and the physical side of the game.”

Centre half: David Wheater
“A good defender, I played with him at England youth, and I really enjoyed playing alongside him.”

Midfield: Scott Parker
“Just because of his work rate really, he’s a leader and an all-round nice guy as well. He breaks up a lot of play so I think he’s important to any team. He did well at Newcastle, but he’s probably gone on to do better at Tottenham.”

Midfield: James Milner
“In a lot of the games, if I didn’t play centre half I’d play full back, and he was on my side and his work rate was second to none and he’s kind of one of those players who you don’t really realise how good he is until you play with him. He always does extra training and he’s a great professional.”

Midfield: Jonny Howson
“Has a knack for a goal, an attacking midfielder who gets around the pitch and another one who’s good on the ball.”

Forward: Dougie Freedman
“He was like an older head at Leeds when I was there and he came on loan and he’s just really a clever striker who knew where to be at the right time. He gave us something a little bit different.”

Forward: Obafemi Martins
“The one season when I played at Newcastle he scored about 20 goals in the Premier League. I was thinking about Michael Owen, but he didn’t have the best of times with injuries up there, so I’ll go with Obafemi.”

Forward: Giuseppi Rossi
“Talented player, anytime we did one-on-one defending he was very difficult to come up against and he was such a tricky player.”

Manager: Glenn Roeder
“He gave me my chance in the Premier League. I was 19 and it was a great experience and I went on to play quite a few games that season and it was really enjoyable.” 

Extended Profiles
Scott Parker
Date of birth: 13/10/1980
Position: Midfielder
Current club: Tottenham Hotspur
Squad number: 8
Professional appearances: 444
Nationality: English
Caps: 18
England international Scott Parker began his career at London club Charlton Athletic, as a trainee, before going on to make over 100 appearances for the Addicks.

He impressed so much at the Valley that Chelsea’s deep pockets were made shallower by the acquisition of the all-round midfielder.

However, he failed to make the required impact at Stamford Bridge and departed for Newcastle United in 2005. The Geordies were much more welcoming to Parker and he enjoyed a successful two years at St James’ Park before the capital came calling once more. 
The midfielder transferred to West Ham United in 2007, and stayed at Upton Park for four years, skippering the side in the Premier League.

Although, following the Hammers’ relegation to the Championship in 2011, and Parker’s clear superiority to his teammates on the field, the 30-year-old decided it was time to leave.

Harry Redknapp forked out £5m for Parker, the lowest fee paid for him to date, and he has since established himself at the heart of the White Hart Lane midfield.

Giuseppi Rossi
Date of birth: 01/02/1987
Position: Forward
Current club: Fiorentina
Squad number: 49
Professional appearances: 107
Nationality: Italian
Caps: 27
Forward Giuseppi Rossi surprisingly started his career with European giants Manchester United, despite his Italian and American heritage.

The striker was spotted as a youngster by the English heavyweights, who signed him up without a second thought. However, he would only go on to make 14 appearances for the Red Devils, scoring just four goals for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side.

After short loan spells at Newcastle United and Parma, Rossi transferred to Spanish club Villarreal, where he made his mark on La Liga with both his skill and work-rate.

In an injury-hit six years with the Yellow Submarine, the nimble forward scored a more-than respectable 38 goals in 79 games and announced himself on the European stage.

The 26-year-old then moved to Italian outfit Fiorentina in the January transfer window, but has only made one appearance as a substitute for Viola as injury continues to blight his promising career.

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