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Club legends that were once on the books of rival teams, starting XI

| 21.01.2015

Following Harry Kane’s (3/1 to score two or more against Sheffield United in the Capital One Cup) remarkable rise at current club Spurs, where he was snapped up after being rejected by Arsenal as a boy, Coral football writers have gathered together a starting XI of footballers that have also gone on to thrive at rival sides.

Perhaps their failings or being let-down at their prior teams inspired them on to bigger and greater things, but here is our chosen few that became club legends…

Formation: 3-3-3-1

Shay Given – Goalkeeper
Given is a renowned Newcastle United legend, spending 12 years at St James’ Park, but it was a loan spell at bitter rivals Sunderland, from Blackburn Rovers, that led to his move to the Magpies. He kept 12 clean sheets in 17 appearances in his short spell to help the Black Cats get promoted to the Premier League, impressing then Toon manager Kenny Dalglish along the way, who snapped him up the following season.

Jamie Carragher – Defender
Liverpool clubman Carragher actually spent a year in his boyhood team Everton’s youth academy at the age of 11, before moving to arch-rivals the Reds. After 16 years playing in Liverpool’s first-team, and winning trophies such as the Champions League, UEFA Cup, two FA Cups and three League Cups, he is now a confirmed converted Reds fan, saying he could never go back to blue.

Mats Hummels – Defender
World Cup-winning star Hummels was let go by Champions League favourites Bayern Munich (13/5) as a youth, after making just one Bundesliga appearance for the team whose academy he graduated from. Bayern lived to regret their error, as the tall centre back helped guide their recent closest rivals Borussia Dortmund to successive German top-flight titles in 2010/11 and 2011/12.

Denis Irwin – Defender
Leeds United perhaps didn’t see the best in arguably the greatest full back in Premier League history. Former Republic of Ireland international Irwin was released by the Whites, who was snapped up by Oldham Athletic for free, before moving onto Leeds’ roses rivals Manchester United, where he went on to make 529 appearances. Irwin also claimed seven league titles, three FA Cups, a Champions League and was a crucial part of the Red Devils’ treble-winning season.

Frank Lampard – Central midfield
Although Lampard came through West Ham United’s academy, spending six years in the senior team, he was never fully appreciated by some fans, that claimed he was only in the team because of family connections – his uncle Harry Redkanpp was manager, and father Frank Lampard Sr assistant. Lampard Jr went west across London to rivals Chelsea, and the rest is history.

Johnny Giles – Central midfield
Tough-tackling Leeds legend Giles starting his senior career at Man Utd, where he claimed an FA Cup winners medal, but it was at Elland Road he really made his name. The Irishman, dropped down a league to join the Whites after being frozen out by Red Devils boss Matt Busby, and became a crucial part of the former’s golden years in the 60s and 70s.

Andrea Pirlo – Central midfield
Former AC Milan magician and playmaker Pirlo played for arch-rivals Inter earlier in his career, but was barely given a chance. He then made the short walk to the Rossoneri dressing room at the San Siro, displaying a decade of brilliance for them and becoming one of the greatest ever Italian footballers along the way. Pirlo now turns out for Juventus, who are 28/1 chances to win the Champions League this term.

Len Shackleton – Right wing
Bradford-born Shackleton was one of the greatest entertainers of the game in the post World War II years, but his talents were unappreciated at Newcastle United. Bitter rivals Sunderland, therefore, signed the forward for around £20k, which was a record fee back then, and became a fan favourite due to his antics on the field to taunt opposition and after one quote in particular. “I’m not biased when it comes to Newcastle – I don’t care who beats them,” he once exclaimed.

Raul Gonzalez – Attacking midfield
Real Madrid icon and all-time top scorer, Raul actually began his career in the youth ranks at city rivals Atletico. However, Atleti decided to close their academy due to financial problems, leaving the now Spain centurion and multiple trophy winner with Los Blancos without a club. Real snapped him up and he went on to captain the club for seven years.

Ryan Giggs – Left wing
From one record breaking club legend to another, Man Utd clubman Giggs spent two years playing in Manchester City’s youth teams, before being poached by his boyhood side. Now assistant manager to Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford, Giggs made 963 appearances for the Red Devils, and claimed more than 20 major trophies with them during his 24-year senior career. United are 11/2 chances to win the FA Cup this term.

Denis Law – Striker
Another Man Utd hero, Scottish striker Law had two short spells at Man City either side of his 11 hailed years at Old Trafford. He is second in the all-time scoring charts for the Red Devils with 237 from 404 matches, and once netted 46 times in a season – still a club record. Law did once get the goal for City that relegated United, though.

Matt Busby – Manager
Finally, we finish with the man who arguably created Man Utd as a dominant force, another Scot in Busby. Despite suffering serious injuries in the 1958 Munich disaster and losing many key players as a result, he managed to gradually get the club back to glory, winning the top flight twice after, as well as the European Cup a decade later. However, it is perhaps lesser known that Busby spent his entire playing career at two of United’s biggest rivals in Man City and Liverpool.



Sam Barnard

Sam has been writing for Coral since January 2014, and is the assistant editor of the news site. As well as the main betting sports, football, tennis and cricket, he covers the likes of golf, F1 and darts too, the latter of which has become a particular favourite. Sam enjoys playing as much as writing about sports, but niggling injuries have limited his participation in recent years, so is happy to mainly watch the pros such as Manchester United, Yorkshire CCC, Raymond van Barneveld and even Gibraltar national football team instead.