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The Best Manchester United Right-Backs of All-Time - Right Flank Greats

Updated: Mar 26

The Best Manchester United Right-Backs of All-Time - Right Flank Greats
The Best Manchester United Right-Backs of All-Time - Right Flank Greats

Manchester United has been home to exceptional talents who have patrolled the right-back position with distinction. From academy products to seasoned veterans, these players have significantly shaped the legacy of the right-back position at Old Trafford.

Among these luminaries stands Gary Neville, a true Red Devil who epitomised defensive solidity and attacking flair during his tenure at the club. Alongside Neville, legends such as Noel Cantwell, Ian Greaves, and Paul Parker have etched their names in Manchester United folklore with their leadership, tenacity, and unwavering commitment.

Let’s journey into the depths of history to uncover the elite ranks of the greatest right-backs ever to wear Man United's iconic red shirt.

Below Are The Best Manchester United Right-Backs of All-Time

Gary Neville

Gary Neville was a product of the club's youth academy and became a mainstay in the right-back position for United. He was known for his solid defensive performances, leadership qualities, and overlapping runs in attack. Neville was a key figure in Ferguson's successful teams, winning numerous Premier League titles and Champions League trophies. His Premier League stats include 400 Appearances, 5 Goals, 256 Wins, 57 Losses, 148 Clean Sheets, a Tackle success % of 70%, and he was a Premier League Champion 8 times.

2. Noel Cantwell

Noel Cantwell was an Irish footballer who played for Manchester United in the 1960s. He initially played as a left-back but later transitioned into a centre-back and occasionally played as a left-winger. Cantwell was known for his leadership qualities and captained the team during his tenure. He was part of the squad that beat Leicester City 3-1 in the 1963 FA Cup final and the First Division [league] title in 1965 and 1967. After retiring from playing, Cantwell went on to have a successful career as a manager.

3. Jimmy Nicholson

Jimmy Nicholson was a dependable right-back who played for Manchester United during the late 1950s and early 1960s. He was known for his solid defensive abilities and provided valuable support to the team during his time at the club.

4. Ian Greaves

Ian Greaves was a stalwart [full-back] right-back at United from 1953 to 1960. Renowned for his tenacity, tactical nous, and precise tackling, Greaves played a pivotal role in United's defensive line. His ability to read the game and provide reliable defensive cover was top-notch. Greaves was part of the team that won the Football League First Division title in the 1951-52 season. Additionally, he was part of the squad that won the Charity Shield in 1952. He was not with the United team that suffered the Munich air disaster, as he was blighted by injury at the time. He was the first Red Devil to play the left-back position after the passing of Roger Bruyne.

5. Paul Andrew Parker

Paul Andrew Parker a talented right-back, joined Manchester United in 1991 and quickly became an integral part of the team during a period of notable success under manager Alex Ferguson. Known for his pace, defensive acumen, and overlapping runs down the flank, Parker played a vital role in United's triumphs, including winning the Premier League titles in 1992-93 and 1993-94, the FA Cup in 1993-94, the Football League Cup in 1991-92, and the FA Charity Shield in 1993.

His solid performances at the back provided stability to the defence and contributed significantly to the club's trophy-laden years. Paul Parker cemented his legacy as one of the esteemed right-backs to have worn the iconic red shirt.

6. Mike Duxbury

Mike Duxbury was a versatile defender who primarily played as a right-back but could also operate in other defensive positions. He was known for his solid defensive abilities, tactical awareness, and overlapping runs in attack. Duxbury played a key role in Atkinson's successful teams of the 1980s, winning FA Cup and UEFA Cup Winners' Cup titles.

7. Viv Anderson

Viv Anderson was signed by Atkinson in 1987 and provided experience and steadiness to the Manchester United defence. He was reliable at right-back, known for his composure on the ball and ability to read the game. Anderson's experience and leadership qualities were valuable assets to the team during his time at the club.

8 Jack Silcock

Jack Silcock was a right-back who played for Manchester United in the early 20th century. He was part of the team that won the club's first-ever FA Cup trophy in 1909. Silcock was known for his defensive prowess and contributed to the team's success at the club.

9. Shay Brennan

Shay Brennan was another versatile player who could play in multiple defensive positions, including right-back. He was an integral part of the famous "Busby Babes" team of the 1950s and continued to contribute to the club's success in the post-Munich era.

10. John Gidman

John Gidman joined Manchester United from Aston Villa in 1981 and became a regular starter at right-back under Atkinson. He was known for his tough tackling, stamina, and ability to deliver accurate crosses from the flank. Gidman's consistency and work rate made him stand out and revered by fans at Old Trafford.


i. Wes Brown - Brown was a versatile defender who could play at centre-back and right-back. He was known for his physicality, aerial prowess, and ability to make timely tackles. Brown played an important role in several title-winning campaigns under Ferguson.

ii. Antonio Valencia - While primarily a winger, Valencia was occasionally deployed as a right-back during the later years of Sir Alex at United. His pace, strength, and crossing ability made him effective in attacking and defensive roles. Valencia was a key player for Ferguson's teams, winning multiple Premier League titles.

iii. Rafael da Silva - Rafael, the twin brother of Pablo da Silva, joined United along with his brother from Fluminense in 2008 and quickly established himself as an attacking full-back with flair and skill. Known for his energy, aggression, and ability to contribute to the attack, Rafael was a fan favourite at Old Trafford.

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