Goalkeeper: Emiliano Martínez – Argentina
There was a lot of good keepers on show, but I don’t think any made quite the impact of Martínez. The Villa man was absolutely fantastic, particularly in the final. That save he made right at the end to deny Kolo Muani won Argentina the match! We saw how good he was at saving penalties against the Dutch and he did more of the same against France, a brilliant tournament from him.
Right-Back: Achraf Hakimi – Morocco
At right-back, I’ve got to go with Hakimi. Morocco had a lot of standout performances but the PSG full-back was a constant threat on that side. This lad has unbelievable pace and energy, and he showed his quality with that lovely penalty to win the shootout against Spain. A top player.
Centre-Back: Joško Gvardiol – Croatia
I thought Gvardiol was fantastic for Croatia, he really caught my eye. He’s only a young lad, but it was his leadership that really impressed me. He’s quick, strong, got a good left foot, I think he’ll end up at one of the big clubs in Europe in no time.
Centre-Back: Romain Saïss – Morocco
Alongside him, another Moroccan, Romain Saïss. The Morocco skipper was a real leader for his country, and he battled through a couple of those games with injury. Morocco barely conceded, and the former Wolves man was a big reason why.
Left-Back: Marcos Acuña – Argentina
For my left-back I’m picking Acuña. I’ve got to get an Argentine in the defence and Acuna was a constant threat down the left. He’s quick, full of energy, and he strikes a good ball. It was a great tournament for him.
Midfielder: Jude Bellingham – England
First up in midfield, the man of the moment in English football, Jude Bellingham! What a player this lad could be. He’s quick, good on the ball and he’s got fantastic leadership and maturity. The best compliment I can give him is that you forget his age when he’s playing. I’ll be shocked if he’s not a future England skipper.
Midfielder: Sofyan Amrabat – Morocco
I loved what I saw from Amrabat, he was brilliant for Morocco. He didn’t stop running all tournament, and he really set an example for his side. He looks like an old-school midfield player to me, and I was very impressed by him. I know there was some English sides looking at him in the summer, and he would be perfect for the Premier League.
Midfielder: Luka Modric – Croatia
Last up in midfield, it’s the maestro, Luka Modric. He’s one of the best players I’ve ever coached and a fantastic guy, it was another brilliant tournament for him. His quality with the ball and his composure and awareness are still absolutely world-class and I think he can play at this level until he’s nearly 40. One of the all-time greats for me.
Forward: Lionel Messi – Argentina
Next, the easiest pick of them all, Lionel Messi. I said before the tournament that it felt like it was Messi’s destiny to win this tournament, even I was doubting that after the Saudi Arabia game! Messi was just brilliant for his country, some of his touches and passes were things only he can do. I think all football fans were happy to see the guy finally lift this trophy. I’ve seen a lot of top, top players in my time, Messi belongs in the conversation with them all.
Forward: Kylian Mbappé – France
If Messi was the player of the tournament, Mbappé would have to be second. What a career this guy could have. That’s now 12 World Cup goals for him, and he’s only 23, remarkable! His pace just frightens defenders and he almost single-handedly took his French side to victory. I was so impressed by him.
Forward: Julian Álvarez – Argentina
Finally, I’m picking Julian Álvarez. We’ve seen glimpses of him for Man City but this was the tournament when he really announced himself. He’s a young guy who is full of energy and will run all game for the side, I like to see that. He was a key part in this Argentina team being so good at pressing the ball, and he added a few goals as well. I think under Pep’s guidance, he can develop into a top, top striker.
Do you agree with this line-up?
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