Henry, van der Sar, Maradona and Puskas best I’ve seen at Hampden – Brown

As Craig Brown gets set to oversee a Carling select XI against a Scottish Sun select next week, he identified the best players he has seen at Hampden Park.

As Craig Brown gets set to oversee a Carling select XI against a Scottish Sun select next week, he identified the best players he has seen at Hampden Park.

The former Scotland, Motherwell and Aberdeen boss has played and managed a lot of big matches at Scotland’s football headquarters and has seen a high amount of star players grace the hallowed turf.

SunSport asked Brown to identify the best eleven players that he has cast an eye over who have played at the Glasgow venue and the following was his repsonse.

Craig Brown’s Best Hampden XI

Goalkeepers

Edwin van der Sar: Both Sepp Maier and Jim Leighton came into my thinking, But van der Sar was a terrific keeper who got better with age. He helped Manchester United move up to another level and I know Sir Alex Ferguson rates him as a very important signing.

Defenders

Lilian Thuram: If I was going to go for a Scotsman then I’d have gone for Danny McGrain. But Thuram was a fantastic player when France came to take us on at Hampden. He won 142 caps for a great French side and you could not ask for more from a player in his position.

Franz Beckenbauer: I could have easily picked either of Willie Miller or Alex McLeish for first centre-half, but Der Kaiser gets the nod. He led Bayern Munich to the European Cup in 1976 at Hampden and is one of the most accomplished defenders I ever saw.

Gheorghe Popescu: Terry Butcher was another centre-half I thought about, but going on performances at Hampden alone I am going to go for the Romanian. He seemed to almost stroll through every game.

Roberto Carlos: Tommy Gemmell was one thought I had for my left-back but Roberto Carlos got the nod. Carlos was part of the great Real Madrid side who starred in the Champions League Final win at Hampden in 2002 and he also played against Scotland at France 1998.

Midfielders

Lothar Matthaus: I thought about the likes of Dave Mackay and Billy Bremner but I went for Matthaus. A guy who could have played anywhere on the park, but it was as a midfielder I loved him best. He oozed confidence and was a born leader.

Diego Maradona: The hardest decision I had to make. It was either him or Kenny Dalglish, the greatest Scottish player I have ever seen. I chose Maradona because of the unique talent he was, and the fact the crowd at Hampden saw the beginning of his greatness back in 1979.

Ferenc Puskas: I was lucky enough to see Real Madrid beat Eintract Frankfurt 7-3 in that final back in 1960 and Puskas was one of the stars of that game for me. He had a left foot beyond belief and his passing was immaculate.

Forwards

Jimmy Johnstone: Jinky would have been a star in any era and he would have been able to hold down a place in a team like this. He was a wonderful player and the fact I picked him ahead of Alfredo di Stefano says it all for me.

Denis Law: He was everything you could ever want a centre forward to be. He was flamboyant, charismatic, and he could score any kind of goal. He’s one of the best strikers to have ever graced the Hampden turf.

Thierry Henry: A player who combined pace, power and wonderful technique. Still playing in the MLS and Andy Roxburgh who is there now only has good words to say about him.

 
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