Siao Mates Apr 23

Here are the best five-a-side teams of Premier League players, past and present


When Siao Mates’ team captain, Noah Tan, asked each of us to name our players for a five-a-side team made up of English Premier League players, I thought it was too easy.


“Alisson Becker in goal, the four dancing  Ghanaian pallbearers outfield!” I announced, before returning to the tab that was showing One Leg Kicking.


Nothing doing, said Noah.


“Eh? But Alisson’s a great goalkeeper, and any team facing the dancing pallbearers would either be frightened to death or paralysed with laughter, which would make them useless against my team,” I protested.


He said they needed to be made up of players in the EPL, past or present.


“Easy. Register them all as Michael Essien,” I said, whereupon Noah drew a yellow card for a remark he thought was ridiculous and racist. Besides, Essien, who’s Ghanaian, doesn’t resemble any of the four, and a comparison could be insulting – to either party.


So grudgingly, I discarded the Ghanaian pallbearers meme I’d so lovingly prepared, complete with fake autographs. 


WATCH: Mesut Ozil chooses his dream 5-a-side team


My team: Hi-5
If you think my team’s name is puerile, wait till you see my mate Edwin Yeo’s. Noah and Shamir Osman’s team names are not fantastic either, so just take comfort that they’re not naming your babies. Besides, this is for an imaginary five-a-side team, so we’re not choosing complex, sophisticated and intellectual names like Virus Vanguard.


Alisson Becker (Liverpool)

I’ll keep him in goal, even if I can’t have pallbearers in front of him. He’s been the best goalkeeper in recent memory. 


WATCH: Alisson collects his Golden Glove award


Phil Jones (Manchester United)

Not for his great defensive capabilities, but I needed a face that could replace the pallbearers meme. I just love it when his countenance falls. His expression would be a great source of entertainment. For me.


David Beckham (Manchester United)

To raise the beauty quotient, since picking Jones would automatically set my team up for the dubious honour of being the ugliest five-a-side team assembled. Besides, Beckham is the most famous footballer ever – even Americans know him –  and he can actually play.  


Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)

This is the player who will annoy and frustrate even the best player in your team, so I thought I’d have him in mine. But really, I was reminded of his superb skills when he popped up while I was doing some online shopping


Luis Suarez (Liverpool)

I needed a dogsbody to complete my line-up, and I think he’ll be great in a tight space like a five-a-side pitch. Because nobody would feel comfortable facing an opponent in close quarters who might try to eat you alive. 


That’s mine. Now for the rest of my Siao Mates, starting with Shamir choice: Superman’s got nothing on them.


Shamir’s team: Five for Fighting

Why the name? It’s obvious. Because men aren’t meant to ride with clouds between their knees – there will be stud marks there instead. I’d wager these boys won’t even need an opposition to spark a bust up.


Duncan Ferguson (Everton)

There’s something about a player with his club’s crest tattooed onto his chest and that glint in his eye. You know you’re going to get a battling performance up front, forcing the opposition back into their shells. And hey, Big Dunc knows where the back of the net is. He also knows where your neck is, and where your shin-pad ends, but that’s just a little bonus. Just ask Stefan Freund. Or Roy Keane. 


Roy Keane (Manchester United)

By his own admission, Keane used to stay away from Big Dunc because he was “certainly a player with character”. Wink. Most other players wished Keane had stayed away from them, especially Alf- Inge Haaland. At Football Siao we don’t condone any of that, but Keane himself was full of “character”, calling Haaland a “prick to play against”. That name that could describe my next pick.


Joey Barton (Newcastle)

Just a year ago, Barton was allegedly involved in a bust up in the tunnel at an English League One fixture between Fleetwood Town and Barnsley, leading to Barnsley manager Daniel Stendel bleeding from the face. Barton was the manager of Fleetwood. Yes, you read that right – manager. Grab some popcorn, and go follow him on Twitter, you won’t be disappointed. 


WATCH: Joey Barton clashes with Zlatan Ibrahimovic in Ligue 1


Stuart Pearce (Nottingham Forest)

They call him ‘Psycho’. I can’t think of a better type of individual to have in defence. Or just anywhere on the pitch, actually.


Vinny Jones (Wimbledon)

The captain of the infamous Crazy Gang to aptly round up my very own bunch of loonies. He was Juggernaut in the X-Men movie, and has actually – many forget – won the FA Cup, too. People forget that he was actually a goalkeeper for Wimbledon too. OK, he played one game. But that’s enough to sneak him into the team, no?


Noah’s team: Sir Kick-Breakers
Practicality reigns supreme with Sir Kick-Breakers. The players are chosen based on how effective they’d be in a five-a-side game, and how well they’d work in tandem. They may not be the best players the EPL has ever seen, but as a team, playing on a small pitch, they’ll be more than a match for any opposition.


Kevin Pressman (Sheffield Wednesday)
Pressman, who played 19 seasons with Sheffield Wednesday (eight of which were in the EPL) was a huge presence in goal for the Owls. Literally. Which might be a hindrance when you’re playing 11-a-side football with a regular-sized goal, but becomes an asset when it means covering more than 75 per cent of the smaller five-a-side goal at any one time.


Sol Campbell (Arsenal)
It takes a special kind of player with a certain mental fortitude to dare to leave Tottenham Hotspur for their arch-rivals Arsenal. On a free. Campbell was one such player who dared to take that leap, despite knowing that he’d be considered enemy number one by the lesser half of North London. That sort of mental strength and insatiable desire to win (seeing as how he left Spurs to join Arsenal as he wanted to win trophies) is what Campbell has, and is exactly what I’ll need in order for my one-man defence to succeed.


Park Ji-Sung (Manchester United)
Every five-a-side team requires a non-stop engine to run around the entire pitch, chasing down loose balls and being a pest to the opposition in general. And there’s nobody who does that better than Park. Boasting a nickname like “Three-Lungs” kind of says it all, doesn’t it? But many tend to forget that the South Korean was more than just a runner – he was also a very tactically astute player, which allowed him to adeptly perform different roles on the pitch depending on the circumstances of the match.


Dennis Bergkamp (Arsenal)
Close control is everything in a 5-a-side pitch. One loose touch, and your opponents can go up the other end of the pitch to score in a matter of seconds. Which is why it’s a must to have arguably the most technically gifted player the EPL has ever seen, Bergkamp, in my team. The Dutchman’s first-touch is so smooth, it makes porcelain skin jealous. Bergkamp would also be very capable of finding the little gaps to thread his passes through to his team-mates, which is an especially important attribute on a smaller pitch. 


WATCH: Dennis Bergkamp's best goal for Arsenal


Didier Drogba (Chelsea)
I hated Drogba for many years. He had a knack for scoring against Arsenal, and single-handedly shattered the confidence of one of the Gunners most promising centre-backs, Philippe Senderos, during a fateful match in 2005. But I also recognised the Ivorian’s immense quality on the pitch. In particular, his strength and ability to shield the ball from defenders like it was the last packet of toilet roll in the supermarket. Of course, he’s also great at scoring, and packs a shot so powerful that defenders would social distance themselves from it rather than try to block it.


Edwin’s team: The Famous Five
A mixture of defensive superiority and the best technical ability the Premier League has ever seen. This is a team that balances flair with bone-crunching tackling. 


Goalkeeper: Peter Schmeichel (Manchester United)
Schmeichel is the best goalkeeper the EPL has ever seen, and will ever see. Man United has struggled to replace a goalie with his stature, reflexes and composure and in world football today, no custodian has oozed safety as much as the great Dane, not even his son.

Midfield destroyer: Roy Keane (Manchester United)
No one is as scary as Roy Keane. We will never see another destroyer like him where just looking at him will scare most players into hiding. And he can pass a ball as well.


Legendary icon: Eric Cantona (Manchester United)
There has never been another footballing icon as legendary as Cantona. He sprouts poetry at a presser, isn't shy to jump into the stands, made an entire generation of Ah Bengs flip up their collar and has won a league title in every EPL team he has played a full season for. And the lad can play too.


The creator: Glenn Hoddle (Spurs)
Most gifted midfielder that never made it to the international scene. Watching Hoddle pick defences apart was an art form that should be immortalised at the Tate Museum. Spurs has never found another creative force like him. Gascoigne could have been the successor, but fame got in the way. 


The bias choice: David Ginola (Spurs)
Because he's David Ginola. No other reason is needed.


WATCH: David Ginola's best goals for Spurs


It’s your turn:

Now that the Siao Mates at Football Siao have made their selection for their all-time EPL five-a-side teams, we’d like you to have a go at it, too. The only criteria: The players you choose must have represented an English team which was competing in the English Premier League, which started in 1992. So, no Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi or Kenny Dalglish. 




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