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5 Manchester United Legends Who Never Played At The World Cup

Since its inception, the World Cup has been short on outstanding players.

The FIFA World Cup is the ultimate test of a player’s ability, and those who are fortunate enough to win it can call themselves world champions.

Many veterans of the football world have competed in the World Cup, but there are a few great of the game who tragically never made it to the final stages.

We take a look at 5 great Manchester United players who earned legendary status but never appeared in a FIFA World Cup.

5. Eric Cantona

Eric Cantona’s attitude kept him out of the French team for lengthy periods of time, reducing his prospects of making the World Cup.

Cantona was banned from international matches after his outburst against then-head coach Henri Michel’s decision to leave him out of the squad during a stage of qualifying for the 1990 World Cup.

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He had a good run under Michel Platini and Gerard Houllier, but owing to the presence of a certain Zinedine Zidane, he missed out on the 1998 World Cup after his Crystal Palace incident.

4. Steve Bruce (England)

Dedicated defender Bruce, like Stepney, is a United legend who is largely unknown in his own country.

Bruce was never considered for England despite 414 appearances over a ten-year period, 51 goals (the same as Roy Keane, for example) and various medals.

Unlike Stepney, who had to make do with a bench spot behind Banks, Bruce did not appear to have much competition in his position.

Tony Adams and Des Walker were the chosen tandem in Graham Taylor’s failed qualifying campaign for USA ’94, despite neither being bad players.

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3. George Best

Despite having magic in his feet, George Best was unable to lead Northern Ireland to the World Cup at any point during his career.

He was a member of a Manchester United team that had many other renowned players, but his international teammates were not among them.

Best made 37 appearances for Northern Ireland, scoring nine goals.

Northern Ireland’s 1982 World Cup manager, Billy Bingham, considered inviting Best to the tournament, but it never happened.

2. Gary Pallister (England)

Pallister, unlike his defensive counterpart Bruce, played 22 times for England.

In 1988, he achieved the unique achievement of earning his first cap while playing for Middlesbrough in the second division.

In 1989, he joined United for the then-highest price paid by two English clubs.

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He appeared in six World Cup qualification games (4 for 1994 and two for 1998), however his last appearance came 18 months before the tournament in France.

1. Ryan Giggs

Few players have ever instilled fear in opposition defenders like Ryan Giggs, but it’s a shame that one of the best left wingers in the world has never played in the FIFA World Cup.

Giggs appeared in 64 games for Wales, scoring 12 goals in the process.

Wales came close to qualifying for Euro 1992, but in the end, Germany qualified ahead of Wales.

Despite the fact that Giggs was a part of multiple World Cup qualifying campaigns, Wales never qualified for the FIFA World Cup, and the competition never saw Ryan Giggs running down the wings.

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