Man Utd starting XI the last time they hosted Leeds – with Cristiano Ronaldo an unused sub

It has been over 16 years since Manchester United welcomed rivals Leeds to Old Trafford for a Premier League game.

At the turn of the century this was a clash that had title implications such was the quality on display.

But Leeds’ relegation in 2004 was the watershed moment in a downward spiral that stemmed from over ambition.

In their final season though, as they battled the drop, they headed to title chasing United and held out for a point.

Leeds fans will fondly remember Alan Smith’s header cancelling out Paul Scholes’ opener.

One Cristiano Ronaldo, just starting out in Manchester, was an unused sub that afternoon having been booked for diving in the reverse fixture.

Paul Scholes opened the scoring in the 1-1 draw

The Red Devils, led by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, a second-half sub that day, are aiming to get back to those days of success.

They are attempting to build a squad capable of challenging again, but how far away are they?

We take a look at their starting XI from that February day to see who Sir Alex Ferguson deemed fit for purpose.

Tim Howard

The American was signed in the summer after Fabien Barthez left Old Trafford.

Howard was prone to an error however and was never able to truly establish himself in between the sticks.

He shared the role with Roy Carroll before being shipped off to Everton.

Gary Neville

An ever present down the United right for years.

His shot was too hot to handle for Leeds goalkeeper Scott Carson that day which allowed Scholes to convert.

He is now the man judging the Red Devils as a pundit on Sky Sports but it was one several Class of 92 stars to feature that day.

John O’Shea

The Irishman was a United man for over a decade before leaving in 2011.

He made over 30 appearances in the majority of his seasons at Old Trafford but formed something of a makeshift back four that day.

Cristiano Ronaldo was left on the bench by Sir Alex Ferguson

Mikael Silvestre

Silvestre was one of the many men to partner former Leeds £30m man Rio Ferdinand in the heart of the United defence.

The English centre-half was missing that day after he missed a drugs test and banned for nine months.

Silvestre missed a guilt edge chance to put the hosts ahead in the first-half.

Quinton Fortune

Something of a Mr.Versatile during his United days. Signed as a La Liga winner from Atletico Madrid in 1999.

He had a relatively short career in Manchester though before moving to Bolton in 2006.

Kleberson

United pipped Leeds to the signing of the Brazilian that summer, but they perhaps didn’t miss out on much.

Kleberson arrived as a World Cup winner but failed to make a proper impression in Manchester.

He had a long range strike that went close in the lunchtime kick-off but last just two seasons at the club.

Roy Keane, scorer of the winner when these two met at Elland Road earlier that year, replaced him on the hour.

Ryan Giggs was a constant menace

Nicky Butt

Another of United’s famed academy graduates to take the pitch.

Butt is now a coach at the club he once played for and was another who went close to opening the scoring for United.

Phil Neville

Gary’s brother didn’t quite enjoy the same success but he was still a mainstay for the best part of a decade.

His job was often to bring the more creative players into the game which prevented him from accumulating the goal tally you may expect from a United midfielder.

Solskjaer came on for Neville with 20 minutes remaining – how he’d love to be leading a title charge from the dugout now.

Paul Scholes

The opening goal scorer was often United’s creator-in-chief.

He converted when Neville’s shot was parried and he could’ve had a couple more that day had he been more clinical.

Ruud van Nistelrooy was denied a goal

Ryan Giggs

The Welshman, among the club’s greatest ever players, endured a frustrating afternoon.

His delivery from wider areas caused plenty of problems but none of his team-mates were able to covert.

Giggs also hit the post himself after 20 minutes as United peppered the Leeds goal, but it was not to be his day.

Ruud van Nistelrooy

United’s main supply of goals was denied by a Carson on debut in the Leeds goal.

The Dutchman was not short of chances at Old Trafford but couldn’t breach the Leeds goal despite scoring 30 times that year.

source.



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