Community XI: Central Midfielders

Just two polls remain before we finalise our Community XI. We need two central midfielders, and your choices are below. Please select TWO

As ever, here’s something to help you out as we look at the nominees.

Aljosa Asanovic

Asanovic arrived at Derby in January 1996 and for many this was their first encounter with the Croatian playmaker. However, fans of CM96/97 will be very familiar with The Battery (as nobody calls him) as he was a bit of a hero on that version of the game, and that carried over the 1997/98. Even though he was at Derby, in real life he was actually packed off to Napoli so maybe Sports Interactive had it right all along. An AM R/C, Asanovic spends his days setting up Paolo Wanchope for fun, and who wouldn’t want that life?

Marc Emmers

Emmers starts the 97/98 season on a free transfer and is absolutely essential for most teams. Getting him is another matter – interest is high. Quite why Emmers is rated so highly, nobody is really sure. Ok, he played at the 1990 & 94 World Cups for Belgium, and was part of a dominant Anderlecht side in the mid 90s, but did he really require this level of stardom? Paul Redern sums him up neatly:

Class midfielder who scored plenty of goals too. Was still good when he got into his late 30’s.

Josep Guardiola

Before this chap was Pep Guardiola: Managerial genius, he was Josep Guardiola: Midfield genius. At the age of 26, Guardiola and Ivan de la Pena were vital cogs in the Barcelona midfield, with Rivaldo & Figo for company. As Guardiola was at his peak, his stats were ideal for any central midfielder. Little did we know he’d go on to dominate the game from the dugout too…

Bjorn Heidenstrom

I’ve been asked about Heidenstrom constantly since starting this blog and I wasn’t really sure what the fuss was about. Then I started the Darlington game and signed him up and now he’s my hero. He’s also able to cover centre back but this guy’s creative stats are something else – stick him in the centre of the park and let him feed your strikers, he’ll probably get 20 assists. He takes a mean penalty too. A real gem, especially in the lower leagues.

Vladimir Jugovic

This Yugoslav International hung around Italian teams a lot in the 90s and when 97/98 rolled around, he was paired with Pavel Nedved in Lazio’s midfield. As he’d been at Juventus previously, he was rather handy to have around, as one fan said:

Almost impossible to prise away from Lazio (Just like Nedved), you could usually pick him up later in the game if you persisted and remained patient. I loved Vlad almost as much as I did in real life and it was always a pleasure to see his name in Liverpool red. Only just nudged out the very easy to buy Stefano Fiore.

But is that enough to convince you to put Vlad in your team?

Matthew Le Tissier

Matt Le Tissier’s Southampton career has been lauded so much I’m not going to do it again. Back in 1997, Le Tissier was still carrying Southampton to safety year on year, and even got the nod to start the vital qualifier against Italy in February 1997. So when the game was released, Le Tissier’s stock was at an all time high. He was therefore an ideal candidate for most mid table Premier League clubs – Le Tissier’s age and lack of pace/work rate stopping him playing for one of the very elite clubs. He’s extremely loyal though, so getting him was sometimes a challenge.

Neil Mann

This Hull City midfielder is a fiend in Division 3, high average ratings and goal returns. It’s no fluke that he plays for the best team in the division, but he can be prised away for the right price. Martyn Oakley puts it best

Never injured and regular source of goals from midfield. Another who would fit into most Premier League teams but could be picked up to play in the lower league as well.

Micah Hyde

Similar to Mann but playing at a higher level, Hyde is a goalscoring midfielder for Watford. The type of player you’d find at a newly promoted Premier League club, Hyde actually had a couple of nominations for this so he’s obviously touched a few of you. Emotionally, I mean.

Matthias Sammer

Sammer starts the game at Borussia Dortmund, who had of course just won the Champions League. Sammer is the star of the team and is usually headhunted by Europe’s big guns within the first few weeks of a new game. Comfortable in central defence or midfield, or even as a sweeper, he is for my money the best holding midfielder in the game. A great player if you can get him but he’s at the end of his career, so look out for his re-gen!

Tommy Svindal Larsen

Let me tell you a story about Tommy Svindal Larsen (henceforth TSL). This Norwegian midfielder (left AND centre, no flies on this kid) is the #1 player I am asked about. Sickeningly, on the patched version of the game, he has been downgraded somewhat, and not even in the standard database. When I was a kid this guy used to turn up all over the place – actually, normally at Leeds now I think about it, and I’d always curse that I forgot to buy him. Eoin is a big fan of TSL:

The king of midfield pass-masters. Think Paul McStay in his prime. Could also play out on the left if going more conservative. Like Lucic always seemed to play at least an 8. Scandinavian efficiency at work.

His actual career was ok – he got 24 caps for his country, but I’d bet he’s won everything on CM9798 down the years. But does he make your team?

Marciano Vink

Back in 1997, Vink was drifting under the radar a little. Having been a very highly rated youngster, signed up by Ajax in 1993, by 1997 he had moved to PSV via Genoa and was trying to re-build his career. Unfortunately for him, a heavy tackle from Luis Figo curtailed him for the next few seasons. His ability in CM remianed though, as Paul says:

The rock to base your team around if he was available for transfer. Commanded every game, rarely got suspended and weighed in with lots of goals. Absolute class!

Zinedine Zidane

What can I say about Zidane? 9 years before he left the World Cup Final in disgrace, Zidane was about to embark on a season that would culminate in his ascention to super stardom. Playing for Juventus, Zidane won Serie A, reached a third consecutive Champions League Final, scored twice in the World Cup final (in his come country) and to top it off, won the World Player of the Year & the Ballon d’or. Not a bad year? Unsurprisingly, Sports Interactive got this one spot on – Zidane is a superstar.

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