THERE is no doubt that our supporters have been able to enjoy watching some fantastic players take to the Inver Park pitch over the last number of seasons, many of whom have played in various countries, from England to America and Iceland to Italy. For this reason, we asked Albert Watson to pick his ‘Dream Team’ of players who he has shared a changing room with during his career.
GOALKEEPER – Matt Van Oekel (FC Edmonton)
Matt is a crazy American and one of the best goalkeepers that I’ve played with throughout my career. During my time at FC Edmonton, he played as well as I’ve ever seen anyone play, consistently pulling off big saves when it mattered to keep us in games or to see out victories.
DEFENDER – Adam Eckersley (FC Edmonton)
Adam is a player with great pedigree. He came through the ranks at Manchester United during the successful reign of Sir Alex Ferguson and went onto have a fantastic career playing all over the world. It was a privilege to play alongside him in Canada.
DEFENDER – William Murphy (Linfield)
I played with William during my time at Linfield. It goes without saying that he is one of the all-time greats in Irish League circles and I was able to learn so much from him, a lot of which has helped me throughout my career. He was an absolute man mountain and a leader on the pitch.
DEFENDER – Jonny Evans (Northern Ireland)
I played with Jonny as part of the Northern Ireland Under 21s setup. Suffice to say, he has gone on to have an amazing career in England, which everyone around him at the time knew he would. Jonny is arguably one of the best defenders in the Premier League and was having a really strong season with Leicester City before the suspension of football.
DEFENDER – Michael Smith (Ballymena United)
Michael is a great player and a top, top lad. We played together at Ballymena and it was evident that he was too good to be playing in Northern Ireland. He has gone on to prove me right, enjoying spells in England and is now at Hearts in Scotland.
MIDFIELDER – Ritchie Jones (FC Edmonton)
Another player to come through the youth set up at Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson. Ritchie is a top professional and probably the fittest player I’ve played with, we enjoyed some great moments in Canada with FC Edmonton.
MIDFIELDER – Chris Brunt (Middlesbrough)
I played with Chris during my team at Middlesbrough. Another top professional, he has gone on to have the career that any youngster from Northern Ireland dreams of by playing in the Premier League and representing his country at Euro 2016. Definitely the best left foot I’ve ever played with.
MIDFIELDER – Steven Davis (St. Andrews/Northern Ireland)
Steven and I actually played with each other at St. Andrews Under 12s team straight through to Under 16s and in some of the Northern Ireland youth teams. Again, he has gone on to have a phenomenal career at Glasgow Rangers and beyond. A fantastic leader on the pitch and a deserving captain of our wee country.
MIDFIELDER – Dean Shiels (FC Edmonton)
Dean came through the ranks at Arsenal and has ability to burn as he has shown throughout his career at various clubs. I was lucky enough to play with him at FC Edmonton, but he has had a lot of success wherever he has gone during his career.
STRIKER – Daryl Fordyce (Linfield/FC Edmonton)
Daryl is the only player in this team who I have played with at two different senior clubs. I first shared a pitch with him at Linfield before we both emigrated to Canada and signed for FC Edmonton. He is an unbelievable lad and you just need to watch him in training to see how good he really is – a player with great ability and technique.
STRIKER – Peter Thompson (Linfield)
I played with Peter during my time at Linfield. He is a great lad and an even better player, who just scored for fun season after season. Another all-time Irish League legend, an absolute goal machine.
Who do you think is the best player Albert Watson has ever played with? Let us know on social media!