The Greatest XI

Yeah, this gets worse I assure you. Today we move on to D, but do we? You see, I grew up like many of my age – thinking Only Fools and Horses was the finest thing on television. Well, it was so I cannot be criticised for that. One of the bits that never failed to get a laugh was Trigger always calling Rodders Dave. The more astute of you might be able to work out where I am going with today’s piece. Now, we are talking Dave here, not David. There are way too many David’s for me to start sifting through. There are far fewer Daves. And, equally, far fewer Rodney’s or names that have Rod in them. So yes folks, behold. Today I announce the Greatest Premier League XI of Daves (or Rodneys). Still here? Wow. Then let us begin….

#1 Dave Beasant (Chelsea, Southampton, Nottingham Forest, Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham)

Daves, remember. Otherwise you’d all be screaming at me to pick David Seaman or someone equally dull. Dave Beasant is a legend and is yet another player to have made his name under Dave “Harry” Bassett. I’ve just realised that’s the gaffer for this lot sorted. “Lurch” played every single game for Wimbledon in their ascent from Division Four to Division One before the Premier League kicked off, and even skippered the side at Wembley when they shocked the world by beating Liverpool 1-0, Beasant saving Aldridge’s penalty. All this was happening years before the Premier League kicked off, yet Lurch managed 131 rebranded appearances for Chelsea, Southampton and Forest before ending his top flight career on the bench (without playing) for Tottenham and Fulham. He’s still in shape so could still do a job for someone I suspect.

#2 Rod’rigo Defendi (Tottenham Hotspur)

I am breaking a couple of rules here, purely because I just love the idea of filling the space at right back with someone called Defendi. I mean, the Fast Show couldn’t have made this name up if they were doing a skit full of stereotypical “Johnny Foreigner” footballers. Rodrigo never actually made a first team appearance for Tottenham, so he really shouldn’t be the side but hey. He did play a few times in Serie A though, which kinda counts.

#3 Dave Barnes (Sheffield United)

Dave Barnes is another former employee of Dave Bassett. Seriously, Bassett must have managed 50% of the players I have selected in this series so far. There are not too many Aldershot players that ended up in the Premier League, off the top of my head I can think of Teddy Sheringham who had a spell on loan there and Steve Claridge. Neil Warnock played for Aldershot and then managed in the Prem. Anyway, I am digressing. Barnes joined Sheffield United from Aldershot and was part of Bassett’s side that got promoted to the pinnacle. He fell out of favour however, and never played in the promised land again.

#4 Simon Rod’ger (Crystal Palace)

Rodger managed 56 games for Crystal Palace back in the 90’s. He moved from non-league Bognor into the top-flight as Palace continued to buy on the theory that every other non-league player they bought might be as good as Ian Wright. Seriously though, this does take us back to a better time when top flight clubs would gamble on the £1000 non-league player and some of them proved to be more than capable at the top level. Sure, they’d cost £100k now but why not take a shot? Anyway, Rodger was a decent central midfielder and, frankly, I am scrabbling around like a Sunday League manager trying to field eleven here.

#5 Dave Watson (Everton)

Finally, another Premier League player with pedigree. Watson played 223 times for Everton in the Premier League and you can probably count his bad games on one hand. He skippered the Toffees to their last bit of silverware, the 1995 FA Cup win over Manchester United. He was still quality when he retired, his final game being in 2000. Incredibly, he only won 12 England caps which is what happens when, in the words of Rafa, “you play for a small club in Liverpool”.

#6 Calum Dave’nport (Coventry City, Tottenham Hotspur, Southampton, West Ham United, Sunderland)

Alright, alright, I’m struggling for a team as I said. I know Davenport isn’t really a Dave and I know he was crap. Where Watson made well over 200 appearances in 15 years, Davenport didn’t even get to 50 in a decade and, if you look at the clubs who bought him, he had enough opportunity. It’s probably safest to say from a legal point of view that Davenport had a few off-the-pitch challenges that might have ended his professional career sooner than he would have liked.

#7 Rodney Wallace (Leeds United and Bolton Wanderers)

What a player Rod Wallace was, what a player. Although I personally preferred the Stein trilogy being a Luton Town fan, it was very cool to see the three Wallace’s playing at Southampton. Danny moved on to Manchester United and Rod became a Leeds United legend. Although I am whacking him on the right of midfield here, the guy was quick and a goal threat as 45 Premier League goals will tell you. A couple of things I didn’t know about Rodney – firstly he was in the squad that won the last ever First Division with Leeds. Secondly, he played very successfully for Rangers north of the border and finally, he was called up for England but had to pull out through injury and was never picked again.

#8 Jack Rod’well (Everton, Manchester City and Sunderland)

Look, I have said several times this side is not picked on talent, purely on availability. Mind you, if that is the criteria I can only assume that Rodwell will pull out through injury before kick off. To date, Rodwell has 166 Premier League appearances to his name and was once. honestly, a fine prospect. Elegant on the ball, he could (and probably still can to some extent) play in defence or midfield but will probably be remembered for being one of those fools that went to Manchester City thinking they’d play and for going 1730 days without winning a game when playing for Sunderland.

#9 Dave Kitson (Reading and Stoke City)

Big Dave Kitson will lead the line in the name of ginger people. He scored 12 Premier League goals for Reading and was, as I said, big meaning that he was a prime target for Tony Pulis when he managed Stoke City. Looking at the stats, Kitson only scored 3 goals in 34 starts for Stoke, but seeing he was playing for Pulis I cannot work out if that is a good return or the opposite.

#10 Dave McEwen (Tottenham Hotspur)

What’s that Mr McEwen? You are called Dave and you played in the Premier League 4 times? Then, my friend, you can have the number ten shirt. He was at Arsenal as a kid, got released and then made his way back up via Dulwich Hamlet in non-league. McEwen could have been the original Harry Kane but, as history tells us, wasn’t. He made 4 substitute appearances before it was decided that even Andy Booth was a better option.

#11 Jay Rod’riguez (Southampton)

OK, I am getting bored of today’s team already. Jay Rodriguez – talented, very unlucky with injuries, if he hadn’t always been injured would probably be sitting on Liverpool’s bench next season or, more likely, being sold to someone like West Bromwich Albion because he wants to play. As it is, he’ll probably be a very important part of the new gaffer at Southampton’s side this season.


Do me a favour, it was hard enough getting a team together.

Back next week as we look tentatively for 11 players with a name starting with the letter E – Edward? Ernie? Eion? Wait and see….