History

Arsenal Dream Team: 3. Nigel Winterburn

Arsenal Dream Team: 3. Nigel Winterburn

Nigel Winterburn is the first member of our Dream Team who had a real fight on their hands to earn a place in the starting XI.

David Seaman was a shoo-in for the goalkeeping spot and Lee Dixon comfortably saw off Pat Rice at right back, but Nigel had much stiffer competition. The manner of Ashley Cole's departure in 2006 angered many Arsenal fans but he pushed his predecessor all the way in our summer poll.

"There is a tradition that comes with playing for Arsenal and that always drove me on to play my very best. The like of Tony Adams, Steve Bould and Lee Dixon were winners who knew what it meant to play for the club, knew what it took to be successful."

Nigel on his commitment to the Club

Ultimately Nigel pipped the 'Invincible' by 46 per cent to 38 and he is well worth his place in our all-time XI. After all, who on earth would have wanted to face Winterburn at his peak?

Influenced by his childhood admiration for Leeds United and toughened by four years with Wimbledon's 'Crazy Gang', Nigel arrived at the Club in 1987 and replaced a veritable Arsenal legend, Kenny Sansom, within a year.

Like the England international, Nigel loved to get forward and he enjoyed a particularly productive left-flank partnership with Marc Overmars later in his career. His early years were notable for his finest goal in a red and white shirt, a vicious long-range effort against Wimbledon with his (usually) weaker right foot.

Chelsea were other notable victims of Nigel's penchant for spectacular shooting but, of course, the Dream Team's No 3 did his best work at the other end of the pitch. You'd be hard pushed to think of a more tenacious defender, a more determined character and a better tackler than the long-serving left back.

Nigel gave 13 years to Arsenal, won a hatful of medals, never let the Club down and fully deserves this latest accolade. The all-time XI's full backs are firmly in place.

NO 3 NIGEL WINTERBURN
Left back
Appearances: 584
Goals: 12
Selected in 46 per cent of teams

"Nigel is a consummate professional and to lose a player who has dedicated 13 years of outstanding service to this club is a great loss. In an age where many players are eager to move from one club to another, Nigel has shown remarkable commitment to us. Nigel is a special character and I have to say that I, and undoubtedly the fans, did not want him to leave."

Arsène Wenger in 2000

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