Men's Team

My City Nightmare XI: Tim Sherwood

We continue our new feature series, ‘My City Nightmare XI’, with former Tottenham player and manager, Tim Sherwood.

We chat to opposition legends and find out their most formidable sky blue team – created from the players they came up against.

Sherwood played for Tottenham from 1999–2003 before managing them in the 2013/14 campaign.


Tim Sherwood joined Tottenham Hotspur in February 1999, bringing to an end a successful association with Blackburn Rovers.

At Blackburn, in a side also boasting the likes of Alan Shearer, Chris Sutton, Colin Hendry and Tim Flowers, he captained the team to the Premier League title in the 1994/95 season.

He also made it into the PFA Premier League Team of the Year.

Sherwood, signed by George Graham, was cup-tied for Tottenham’s victory in the 1999 Football League Cup Final, where they beat Leicester City 1-0.

But he did win a runners-up medal with Spurs in the 2002 League Cup Final, when they were beaten by his former club Blackburn.

After almost 500 appearances for six clubs, also including Watford, Norwich, Portsmouth and Coventry, he retired as a player in 2005.

In December 2013, Sherwood took over as manager of Tottenham, replacing the departing Andre Villas-Boas.

He oversaw some fine wins, rejuvenated the form of Emmanuel Adebayor and also gave Harry Kane his first Premier League start as he brought the now England captain into the team.

Sherwood left at the end of the 2013/14 campaign but his next managerial role wasn’t far away as he took over a relegation-threatened Aston Villa in February 2015.

He, again, revitalised the team, as he’d done at Tottenham, as the Villans survived the drop with a fine end to the campaign, victories over Everton, West Ham and Tottenham the standouts.

Sherwood brought through Jack Grealish as a vital cog in the claret and blue wheel and also led Villa to the FA Cup Final, after a memorable semi-final victory over Liverpool, only to lose to Arsenal in the showpiece.

He left Villa Park in October 2015, after a difficult start to the following campaign – not helped by the departures in the summer of Christian Benteke, Fabian Delph, Tom Cleverley and Ron Vlaar, as the Club were eventually relegated from the Premier League.

During his career as both a player and a manager, he came up against some City greats and here he selects his best sky blue XI.



I am biased because I know him but he was a great goalkeeper.

He could play for City now because he is such a good left-footed player.

He reminds me of Ederson because of the way he could pick a pass. Tony was very good at that.

He commanded his box, always came to take crosses and was a good shot-stopper.

There were some good options for me to pick from but I’m going with Tony.


It’s got to be Zabaleta, hasn’t it.

When I was manager of Tottenham, I remember a game we lost 5-1 at White Hart Lane in 2014. Manuel Pellegrini was manager. Danny Rose got a red card and it was the worst decision.

But I remember Zabaleta going up and down the right side time and time again - bombing up and down.

I was standing in the technical area and I just felt like tripping him up. I thought the only way I’m going to stop him is to stick my leg out and kick him. I obviously didn’t do that!

He just had energy to burn. He is one of them who gives you everything.

QUOTE : Tim Sherwood on Pablo Zabaleta
QUOTE : Tim Sherwood on Pablo Zabaleta


Andy had a great left foot. And he was a great set-piece taker, as well. He’d whip in balls.

He was a steady player. He had big old legs and shaped like a left-back, too. 

Andy had great range with his passing. Also, whenever there was a free-kick, you knew he’d be on it.

I’m sure managers told their players in that era ‘don’t give free-kicks away’ because he could deliver.


Vinny has to go into this team.

He was a horrible man mountain to play and manage against.

It didn’t matter if he was marking a big one or a small one, he could deal with it.

It wasn’t just that, it was what he would give to the rest of the group. He was a real leader.

CENTRE-BACK : Richard Dunne
CENTRE-BACK : Richard Dunne


Dunny is a great lad. I really like him.

I remember people used to think they could outrun him but you never could.

He put his body on the line. He gave everything for the cause.

But people did used to think ‘we’ll knock it in behind him’ and he’ll never get that - but he always did.


It was such a shame that his career finished so early.

But, trust me, he was going to be a superstar.

Just look at the size of him and he could do everything – he was good on the ball, he was strong, he was versatile, in that he could play in a number of positions.

He had a great career ahead of him. Even what I saw of him, which was just before the injury so he was probably about three or four years from his prime, he was still very, very good.


Silva was one of the finest foreign imports we’ve ever seen in the Premier League.

He kept the ball, played the right pass, made the right decisions.

People used to say ‘he’s like a jockey, he’ll never be able to play in the Premier League because of the physicality’.

But he came over and he was embarrassing at times. He’d keep the ball for fun, he would score goals, he’d find a pass.

He had everything.



Yaya speaks for himself.

He was ‘get the ball, drive forward’. He could turn it on whenever he wanted to.

I used to put myself sometimes, in my head, in place of my midfielders when I was a manager and think ‘would I want to play against him?’ I can tell you the answer was no.

Because he could do everything as a midfielder - and he scored spectacular goals too.


I may be cheating because I never managed against him but I had to include Kevin De Bruyne.

I think he’d go in any all-time Man City side.

For me, he’s been the best player in the Premier League for a good number of years. He’s been incredible.

I saw City when they came to China for pre-season in 2019. He got off the flight, he’d cut his holidays short and he went straight to the game, which was against West Ham and he played.

He ran around more than anyone. Pep was playing some kids in his team.

I spoke to Pep after and he said it’s so easy because, with the younger boys, he’d just point at Kevin and say ‘that’s the example’.

If you want to be a player, that’s your man. He is an incredible, amazing example for younger players.

And what I like about him is he delivers – and delivers on the big occasion. He never ever goes missing.

FORWARD : Georgi Kinkladze
FORWARD : Georgi Kinkladze


Kinkladze was some player – an unbelievable dribbler. So hard to play against.

He’d run at you, stop and then go again.

He had that low centre of gravity. He had close control. He’d take a million touches.

When you thought you could nick it away from him, he’d take it away.

He would be up there as the most fouled player in the Premier League. Just like Jack Grealish now.


Sergio has to go in. He was an absolute goal monster.

He scored every type of goal. You couldn’t bully him. He had a low centre gravity. He could score with both feet. He was very difficult to pick up.

As a manager, whenever the team sheet came in and you were playing City, the first name you looked for was Aguero to see if was playing.

If he was, you were a little bit disappointed but you had to get on with it.