The Joe Royle column

THANK you and congratulations to all of you who sent me your current World XIs, there were some brilliant teams and every player mentioned were worthy inclusions.

THANK you and congratulations to all of you who sent me your current World XIs, there were some brilliant teams and every player mentioned were worthy inclusions. It was lovely to see so many take part and we even got a team from a reader in Holland, so a big thanks to Hans Peters.

Here is my selection and I have gone for an attacking 4-3-3 formation which I love. My ideal team is picked bearing in mind that I was at the World Cup last season:

Rustu (Fenerbahce and Turkey)

Javier Zanetti (Inter Milan and Argentina)


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Fabio Cannavaro (Inter Milan and Italy)

Walter Samuel (Roma and Argentina)

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Roberto Carlos (Real Madrid and Brazil)

Claude Makelele (Real Madrid and France)

Patrick Vieira (Arsenal and France)

Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid and France)

Ruud van Nistelrooy (Manchester United and Holland)

Ronaldo (Real Madrid and Brazil)

Thierry Henry (Arsenal and France)

It was hard to leave out the likes of Nesta, Cafu, Figo and Thuram, but as usual I had to be brutal, even though it was almost embarrassing to leave them out and I can see why many of you picked them.

Goalkeeper was probably the hardest position but I have gone for Rustu, who had an outstanding World Cup and has played well for Fenerbahce since.

I would love to see a race between the front three and the back four. I love pace and people who can play.

In the end two of you selected six of the players who were in my side and as I can't choose between you, both will be invited to a game as my guest in the Directors' Box early next season.

The winners both came by e-mail so well done to student Ian Oxborrow and Gillian Walker from Felixstowe. I will soon get in touch with both of you.

I'M delighted to see the awkward situation about Manchester United celebrating winning the Championship at Goodison Park on Sunday has now been resolved.

They will pick up the trophy after Everton have done their lap of honour and said thanks to their own supporters and I really hope Evertonians will show the sportsmanship and decency Scousers are famous for and stay to applaud.

I can see the concerns of many people as the hostility between Manchester and Merseyside is well known and ingrained.

But it is tradition to receive the trophy at the last game of the season and United have shown they are true champions. We have spoken before in this column about how Manchester have finished strongly, while Arsenal faded, and deserve the title.

It is sad that they have become a team so many people have come to dislike, perhaps there is a little envy there.

Congratulations to Sir Alex – they are a good team and true champions.

ALTHOUGH I'm enjoying a short break in Majorca before getting back to the office next week I will not be missing the play-off games. There is a good little Irish bar nearby where I will be watching them on the big screen.

As I have said before I fancy Wolves to go up now but that is by no means certain. Reading have dipped a bit of late but are a good side. Wolves are better defensively and Kenny Miller has had a great season and is a livewire.

In the other tie Sheffield United have had some big games this season and might just edge Forest.

In Division Two I would love to see Oldham come up, although I have a lot of time for Ian Holloway, who is the QPR manager.

If Oldham do come up I will be an extremely proud man leading out Ipswich Town against my old club at Boundary Park.

I'm also delighted for another old mate of mine, Denis Smith at Wrexham. We were adversaries for many years and he was an old fashioned centre-half who didn't always need the ball to play. As you know I'm torn in the Premiership relegation battle between two old mates in Trevor Brooking and Sam Allardyce. Trevor and I played against each other when he played for Essex Schools and I played for Liverpool Schools, we came through England youth, under-23s and full international teams together. But Sam is also a great mate and he has done a wonderful job. As I said last week, always go for the man who has got it and I feel Bolton will survive – just.

AS you know I'm all in favour of appointing a minister for common sense and certainly we could do with one now. I read in the paper this week about civil rights, people wanting to give burglars equal rights when it comes to getting injured while at work.

They are saying householders should only use minimal force when protecting their houses and if criminals get hurt they should be able to sue.

Well, I'm sorry but if they are not in the house then they won't get hurt. Whatever next – pension- rights for these people?

An Englishman's home is his castle as they say and he should have the right to defend it, not give rights to criminals.

If someone wants to stand for minister of common sense I will happily back them.

PERMIT me another personal grumble about one of my pet hates, up there with smoking – French air traffic controllers. I noticed recently they were at it again, going on strike as they always seem to do as we think about flying off for our summer holidays.

It made me smile to think back to the World Cup last year when everyone, it seemed, was bemoaning the fact the world champions had been beaten by Senegal and I found myself muttering to John Motson about it being one back for all the trouble they cause us every year.

While everyone was feeling sorry for them, I was looking skywards and saying thank you.

Anyway, enjoy your summer holidays and here's hoping for no delays.

FINALLY my thanks for the terrific turn-out at Derby and I'm glad we finished on a high for you. It was great to get a glimpse of Aidan Collins and Antonio Murray, who looked extremely comfortable and another feather in the cap for our well-respected youth academy.

Once again the shoots of recovery are showing and we have much to look forward to.

THIS will be my final column of the season and I thank you all for your various contributions. I hope you have enjoyed reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it.

As told to Derek Davis

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