English football’s homecoming heroes starting XI after Luiz Chelsea return


Holly Thackeray and Robbie Purves | August 31, 2016

English football’s homecoming heroes

The shock deal of transfer Deadline Day came when Chelsea agreed to bring former player David Luiz to back to Stamford Bridge, after two years away at French giants PSG.

They say you should never go back but, after putting our heads together, this is who made the grade in Coral’s homecoming heroes starting XI, including Paul Pogba…

Formation: 3-4-3

Goalkeeper: Mark Bosnich

Sir Alex Ferguson made the blunder of signing stopper Bosnich not once but twice, making him the only player the Scot brought back to Manchester United after offloading.

The goalie enjoyed two spells at Old Trafford, first as a teenager and then again from 1999-2001. At his best he could be brilliant, but following Peter Schmeichel required more than the error-prone keeper could offer. The player’s former club are 3/1 with Coral to win the league outright this season under new boss Jose Mourinho.

Centre back: Gary Pallister

Unbelievably, player-turned-pundit Pallister was only capped 22 times for England. The sturdy centre back was half of a sensational pairing for Manchester United, alongside Steve Bruce, but eventually returned to Middlesbrough, nine years after he first left.

Centre back: Sol Campbell

Campbell made headlines for his controversial switch from bitter rivals Spurs to Arsenal’s Invincibles. The strong, powerful and outspoken defender was a commanding presence for both clubs and enjoyed a short second stint with Arsene Wenger in 2010.

Centre back: Jonathan Woodgate

Injury-plagued Woodgate completes our back line after numerous spells playing for academy club Middlesbrough. The former Real Madrid defender sadly never fulfilled his immense potential, but ended his career with promotion to the Premier league with his beloved Boro.

Centre midfield: David Batty

Leeds-born Batty’s bite and ability to pick a pass ensures the underrated midfielder snatches a spot in our starting XI. Batty left Elland Road for pastures new with Blackburn Rovers, but enjoyed a successful homecoming at his boyhood club, where he finished his career- the Yorkshire club are 25/1 to be promoted this term.

Centre midfield: Paul Pogba

In 2012, Man Utd let Pogba leave to Juventus for free, four years later they bought him back for a world record fee of £89.3m. During his time in Turin, Pogba transformed into one of the best midfielders in football and attracted interest from Europe’s biggest clubs – opting for a big money move back to United this summer.

Attacking midfield: Juninho Paulista

A legend on Teesside, the Brazilian’s tricky feet helped Boro reach an FA Cup final, and in his third and last stint at the club Juninho lifted the League Cup.

Attacking midfield: Mark Hughes

Predominantly a forward, Hughes could also play behind the frontmen. ‘Sparky’ may have managed Manchester City, but returned to Man Utd as a player to win two league titles. The technically gifted attacker enjoyed two spells at Old Trafford in between a jaunt to Barcelona and loan with Bayern Munich.

Striker: Robbie Keane

Goal machine Keane is the Republic of Ireland’s record scorer, but failed to live up to expectations at Liverpool. Former club Tottenham took him back after just half a season away, but he never hit his previous heights. After their highest ever Premier league finish last term, Spurs are 6/4 to make the top four this season.

Striker: Didier Drogba

Just two seasons after his departure, Drogba has shown heroes can return triumphantly. The fearsome Ivory Coast forward originally made his exit in style, with 36-year-old netted an equaliser and then the winning penalty in Chelsea’s 2012 Champions League final.

Striker: Peter Crouch

Serial club-hopper Crouch, now playing under Hughes at Stoke City, earns his place in this XI for returning to two former clubs. The ex-England centre forward enjoyed double stints at both Tottenham and Portsmouth.


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Don’t agree with this starting XI of English Football’s Homecoming Heroes? Tell us in the comments below.

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