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My Best XI: John Welsh

14 January 2014

The 29-year-old has selected a classic 4-4-2 formation, with the three players that put Germany to the sword in their own back yard in 2001 all featuring.

PNE midfielder John Welsh is a former product of the famous Melwood Academy at Liverpool and has experience playing in both the Premier League and Champions League, so it’s no surprise there’s no shortage of top class players in his Best XI.

His time with the Reds, Hull City and England at youth level, means Welsh has played alongside some of the nation’s top players, from Michael Dawson to Steven Gerrard. 

My first year at Hull, we were tipped to go down, we were fighting relegation and we knew it was going to be a tough season and I think he single handedly kept us up that year. Great saves, good distribution and a top-class ‘keeper.

I played with Glen when I was quite young, coming through England youth. He had pace, power, he was good on the ball, and he’s proved that he’s one of the best right backs in the world, in my opinion.

I played with him also at England youth level. He was a leader, a commander; he was good on the ball, headed well, old school centre half.

Same again, he was a leader. You could always hear Carra on the pitch; you could sometimes hear him on the telly when they were playing. Organiser, good on the ball, brilliant on and off the pitch and he was someone you always look up to.

I’ve played with Buchs at three different clubs now and I don’t think I’ve ever seen him have a bad game or a stinker. Mr Dependable in my eyes, he’s very reliable and dependable. A good, solid left back.

He was one of those players that can change a game for you. You’d always look to get him on the ball, his pace was unplayable at times and obviously he’s proved he’s one of the main players in the Premier League now.

In my opinion, over the last ten years or so, he’s been one of the best players in the world. He’s getting a bit older now and Messi and Ronaldo are there, but for some years you look at what Liverpool have done and some of it has been down to him.

Coming up through the youth at Liverpool, he was always someone who took the time with the youth players. He wants to give you his knowledge and he’s a nice fella. On the pitch he could pass, shoot and score.

Peter I played with at youth level. He’s got a wonderful left foot, probably one of the best I’ve seen in the game. He’s just a nice lad, he was a neat and tidy player. He wasn’t blessed with great pace, but he had creativeness.

I think that speaks for itself. One of the best strikers of my generation, his goal record speaks for itself. Being at Liverpool, I got to watch him day-In, day-out and he was so sharp, his finishing was unbelievable.

You could give Emile any ball, whether that be round his neck or at his knees and he’d get hold of it. He was so strong and powerful and I think when him and Michael had their partnership, it was one of the best in England.

Extended Profiles
Date of Birth: 11/01/1978
Position: Striker
Current Club: Newcastle Jets
Professional Appearances: 726
Nationality: English
Caps: 62

Powerful centre forward Emile Heskey began his career at Leicester City, graduating from the Foxes’ youth system and then going on to make his mark on the first team.

198 appearances later, the striker was attracting serious attention from the Premier League’s top clubs and the race for his signature was eventually won by Liverpool.

The Reds paid £11m for Heskey in March 2000 and partnered the 6ft 2” forward with Michael Owen, creating a deadly partnership as Liverpool went onto win an unprecedented treble in the 2000/01 season.

He then went on to score for England in an incredible 5-1 win over Germany in World Cup Qualifying in Munich – a result that brings a smile to the face of any Three Lions fan.

His time at Anfield came to an end three years later however, when Spanish coach Rafa Benitez joined Liverpool from Valencia.

Heskey transferred to Birmingham City and went onto score 16 goals during his time at St Andrews, before being sold to surprise Premier League success story at the time Wigan Athletic in 2006.

There, the front-man scored another 16 goals and, after relative obscurity from the national stage, he was recalled to England’s squad under Fabio Capello.

His international exploits then saw the striker bought by Aston Villa where he made 72 starts under Martin O’Neill.

In 2012, Heskey decided take his talent to Australia and signed for Newcastle Jets on a deal that would see him become one of the A-League’s biggest stars.

Date of Birth: 08/09/1984 
Position: Midfielder
Current Club: Cardiff City
Professional Appearances: 392
Nationality: English
Caps: 0

Cardiff City winger Peter Whittingham came through the ranks at Aston Villa as a trainee and then went on to make 66 appearances in the claret and blue.

He spent time at both Burnley and Derby County on loan, before making a permanent transfer to Cardiff in 2007 for a fee of £350,000.

His impressive performances in the Championship were rumoured to have interested numerous Premier League sides.

However, Whittingham remained with the Bluebirds and helped them to Wembley for the 2008 FA Cup final, which they eventually lost to Portsmouth, and the 2012 League Cup Final, where they were beaten by Liverpool on penalties.

Then, in May 2013, the winger was part of the squad which took Cardiff to the promised land of the Premier League, after countless heart-breaking Play-Off defeats and disappointing finishes in England’s second tier.

Whittington is known for his sweetly struck free kicks, often tricking the opposition goalkeeper or simply bending the ball beyond their reach.

His assists and long range goals have been key to Cardiff’s rise to the top flight and the midfielder was voted to the PFA Championship Team of the Year on three occasions.

He has won the club’s player of the year award twice in his time at the Cardiff City Stadium, highlighting his importance to their cause.

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