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Jose's Fantasy Team


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Jose Mourinho's Fantasy Football XI: The special team

In many ways, it is like selecting a real-life team – my biggest problem is the available money: I thought about spending this £50 million so carefully and I even came in under budget. Massimo Moratti, the Inter Milan president, will be impressed...

I have been able to build a good team, though. They are, of course, not the best team from the Premier League and it pains me that so many good players, ones that I have admired for years, do not make it into my XI. But they are a good team with a good shape. I have two strikers who could actually play very well together in real life and two centre-backs who could do the same.

I am happy with my selection – and, of course, they are a team who will beat Alan Hansen's side.

Jose Reina

Club: Liverpool.

Age: 25

Price: £3.8m.

I know Pepe well from when he was a trainee at Barcelona. He has grown into an incredibly confident goalkeeper and I think he is in for a fantastic season now. He should know his defence very well by now because that has been consistent at Liverpool in recent years, with Jamie Carragher so important to the cause. You will see that I have two other Liverpool players in my team, so that should give you some indication of my belief in that team for this season.

Alan Hutton

Club: Tottenham.

Age: 23

Price: £3.5m.

I studied for my Uefa coaching badges in Scotland with Andy Roxburgh and learned to love the Scottish way. I think they have such a good attitude towards football up there. Alan Hutton embodies all that is good about Scottish football. I watched him a lot at Rangers and I like his positive approach. He is always trying to get forward, he is very passionate and I think he can make Tottenham a strong team this season.

Gareth Bale

Club: Tottenham.

Age: 19

Price: £3.4m.

Another Tottenham full-back. He is very different from Hutton but I think equally valuable to the team. Again I watched him long before he joined Spurs and was so impressed with his attacking nature. Of course, Ashley Cole is the best left-back in English football but Bale shows the same instincts and has a brilliant left foot. Like Cole, he can act as a left-winger too and I think he will be providing a lot of crosses for the Tottenham strikers (whoever they may end up being this season). Bale also takes a lot of the set-piece plays and he can score some goals for me too. I just hope he stays free of injury because he missed so much of what could have been a really good year for them last season.

Ricardo Carvalho

Club: Chelsea.

Age: 30.

Price: £4.6m

Ricardo is one of the best centre-backs in the world, so of course he must be in my team. He was so important to me at Porto and again at Chelsea. But he improved so much when he came to England. Playing for Chelsea made him tougher and he became more stable and more reliable at the back. His speed and speed of thought makes him very easy to play with and he, in turn, was able to make John Terry an even better centre-back in my time at Chelsea. I always had a sense of security when I sent those two out to play side-by-side.

William Gallas

Club: Arsenal.

Age: 30.

Price: £4.2m.

William is another one I know well and I was obviously very disappointed when he moved from Chelsea to Arsenal, where he has since become the club captain. Many people spoke about his temperament last season because of a couple of incidents when results didn't go his way, but for me it is a temperament I want in my side – not against me. It means he is a winner, and when he is not winning he gets upset. I like that. He is also one of the best defenders in the world because he is so versatile. I have seen him play equally well at right-back, centre-back or left-back. I am sorry that I cannot have a Rio Ferdinand or a John Terry in my team, but with Ricardo and William I think I have a fantastic combination.

Lassana Diarra

Club: Portsmouth.

Age: 22

Price: £3.4m.

It is no accident that my team is full of players who played for me. Again I wish Lassana had never left Chelsea but he is a young man who is so incredibly ambitious that not only did he leave Chelsea to make his name, he then had the confidence to say goodbye to Arsenal too. He just couldn't wait to be a success. He is a very important player for Portsmouth now, but I think he will back with a top-level team like Chelsea or Arsenal again very soon. Already he knows how to win things – he is a double FA Cup winner with Chelsea and Portsmouth – and this season he gets to star in the Uefa Cup. This will be a big season for him and I expect him to become a big player with the France team very soon too. He can fill in where Claude Makelele and Patrick Vieira left off and, hopefully, give that team a much-needed boost after their disappointing Euro 2008 campaign.

Steven Gerrard

Club: Liverpool

Age: 28

Price: £5.6m.

Of course everybody knows I wanted Gerrard at Chelsea. Why wouldn't I? He has been so strong for Liverpool for so many years and he will continue to do so this year. He now just needs a league title to show for his efforts. People have remarked that there is no Frank Lampard in my fantasy team – but that is certainly not because I think the two of them cannot play together. In reality or fantasy, these two definitely can play together because they are world-class – and world-class players can play with world-class players. There should be no problem.

Michael Essien

Club: Chelsea.

Age: 25

Price: £3.9m.

I know what Hansen has to say about this selection, but the simple fact is that a team that has Essien in it has more chance of winning. We spent more than £24m bringing him to Chelsea from Lyon, so £3.9m seems like very good value! Essien is much more than the powerhouse than a lot of people think he is. They don't see how good he is with the ball and tactically he is first-rate, always thinking faster than his opponents. And when he does score, believe me, it can be spectacular. He scored a goal against Arsenal in the 2006-07 season which, for me, is still one of my favourite Premier League goals ever – a fantastic shot from about 30 yards that was unstoppable. Essien has to be in my team – he is one of my favourite sons in football.

Morten Gamst Pedersen

Club: Blackburn.

Age: 26.

Price: £3.6m.

If you can't get Ronaldo in your team then Pedersen will do instead. He is destined for the very top. I respect Blackburn as a club but I think Pedersen will be playing for a top team in England very soon. He can score half a dozen goals from set-pieces, he works hard for the team and now, at 26, he has matured into a top-level player.

Fernando Torres

Club: Liverpool.

Age: 24.

Price: £7.5m.

I always say that a great team must have a great goalkeeper and a great striker. My team, like Liverpool, has just that. Torres is simply a match-winner – and now a European Championship winner too. I know how difficult it can be for a player in his first season from a different culture to star in English football – but he did it. It obviously hurts me not to have Didier Drogba in my team because he was a Superman for me and he will always have a place in my heart for what he did for my Chelsea team. But perhaps Torres can be my Superman in this team. I am expecting at least 20 goals from him.

Jermain Defoe

Club: Portsmouth.

Age: 25

Price: £6.1m.

I also expect 20 goals from him. He is at a good price for such a high-quality player and you will see him score so many goals this season because he will be in Harry Redknapp's starting XI. If he starts, he scores and – as Harry likes to do – he will be playing off a strong, powerful striker up front for Portsmouth this season, which suits his game perfectly. He wants to make sure of his place in the England team and scoring 20 goals for Portsmouth this season will help.

So there it is – a team without Petr Cech, Frank Lampard, John Terry, Ashley Cole and Didier Drogba obviously pains me but it is still a strong team. And one that will definitely beat Hansen's.

Interesting to see that he still holds a candle for Gallas (and Diarra), which shows you that he never wanted to let him go in the first place.

It's no secret that he wanted to sign Gerrard. Defoe was another name that he was supposedly interested in at his time with Chelsea.

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Interesting to see the comments about MGP because itr comes fast on the back of Bosingwa citing the same player as being the one he's really looking forward to playing against. They must be seeing something different in the guy to what I see which is a slightly better than average premiership player.

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lets be clear- gamst pedersen is average and either jose is sharing a wonderful joke, had no points left and had to say something nice about him, or is smoking the same stuff he was when he signed swp.

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NOt suprising to me that Gallas and Riccy make up his centre pairing. Also not a suprise that Stevie Me and Essien are in their either! defoe and Gamst are strange ones. I like Pedersen, but only because he looks decent in a decent blackburn side.

One thing that gets me is that he admires Hutton so much. I have always loved us having a Scottish play in the side, but we haven't since Stevie Clarke. The main thing was, for me, there was never anyone good enough, who was Scottish, to come and play for Chelsea. Then Hutton came along, and I felt we could seriously consider going for him. Unfortunately he went to spuds, but what if Jose was still about, would we have ever gone for him?

Doubt it, but it was always a dream

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