Twitter Topic of Week Episode 29: The Offside Rule Podcast World Sport XI

By Harriet Drudge. Here at The Offside Rule Podcast (We Get it!) we love hearing from you every week on a wide range of topics for Twitter Topic of the Week. We’ve heard from you

on a number of subjects this season, from favourite football personalities to suggestions for our Press Conference Bingo Card, which you can download here

Rio Ferdinand inspired this week’s topic after tweeting about England’s Six Nations match last weekend. Professional sportsmen and women are often multi-talented and we reckon there are plenty out there who would make decent footballers.

We asked you which sportsman or woman from any sport or discipline you would like on your team, what position and why. With the help of some of the Offside Rule Pod team, here’s our World Sport XI (plus a couple of subs):


Michael Jordan, ex-basketball player

  • Dubbed the world’s greatest basketball player, Michael Jordan would make a fantastic shot-stopper for our World Sport XI according to our very own Lynsey Hooper (@lynseyhooper). Lynsey’s reasoning? ‘Basketball players have massive hands!’ In addition to that beneficial attribute, he gained a reputation as one of the best defensive players in basketball and his leaping ability – which earned him the nickname ‘His Airness’ – is definitely the envy of many a professional goalkeeper.
Many believe Michael Jordan to be the greatest basketball player of all time

Many believe Michael Jordan to be the greatest basketball player of all time


Floyd Mayweather, boxer

  • Twitter Topic of the Week extraordinaire, Sean Thorne (@seanAthorne), reckons undefeated five-division world champion boxer Floyd Mayweather would make a tough-tackling full-back. He’d know when to attack and when to hold his own in defence and wouldn’t be shy in making the opposition aware of his presence.

Rahul Dravid, ex-cricketer

  • Former Indian cricketer and captain, Rahul Dravid makes it in to our World XI at centre-back, again nominated by Lynsey. With the nickname ‘The Wall’, devised after a 12-hour stint at the crease vs. Pakistan in 2004, his resilience and composure under pressure would make him perfect for a place in the heart of our defence.

Paul Collingwood, cricketer

  •  Current Durham Cricket Club captain Paul Collingwood was a no nonsense batsman in England’s middle order for almost ten years across all disciplines. His tenacity and dedication to the team’s cause earns him a spot in central defence. Not known for his flamboyance or flair, Collingwood earned the nickname ‘Brigadier Block’, after saving England from almost certain defeats in three test matches. We are certain he could utilise his blocking skills for our World Sport XI.
As a teenager, Collingwood's father persuaded him to give up football to concentrate on cricket

As a teenager, Collingwood’s father persuaded him to give up football to concentrate on cricket

Mo Farah, long distance runner and current Olympic champion

  • 10,000m Olympic and World Champion long distance runner, Mo Farah could do a job at full-back according to Alex Lever (@AlexLever). With his endless stamina and ability to defend a lead, the wing would be Farah’s domain, making overlapping runs to support the attackers. A champion capable of defending titles, he’s a welcome addition to our back four.


Jonny Wilkinson, rugby player

  • Wilkinson, who kicked the winning points against Australia in the last minute of extra-time in the 2003 Rugby Union World Cup final has been selected for our World Sport XI midfield by ‘Sonic’ (@5onic_14). His long passes and set-piece expertise would be an asset to any team and his winning mentality will add some grit to the midfield.

Ian Botham, ex-cricketer

  • Former England Test Cricket captain, Ian Botham would be our enforcer in central midfield according to Mark O’Neill (@MarkCF83THFC). The multi-talented all-rounder, who made 11 Football League appearances for Scunthorpe in 1980, was a controversial figure on and off the field and would be a tough-tackling motivator in the middle of the park.

Amy Williams, former Olympic skeleton champion… and Lizzy Yarnold, current Olympic skeleton champion

  • Chris Dixon (@CMDixon79) made a great case for the inclusion of winter sport specialists Amy Williams and Lizzy Yarnold as our team’s wingers. The current and former Olympic skeleton champions are speedy, nimble and good at corners.
Amy Williams won gold in the 2010 Winter Olympics  in Vancouver in the women's skeleton

Amy Williams won gold in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver in the women’s skeleton


Usain Bolt, Olympic 100m, 200m and 4x100m champion and world record holder. Fastest man on earth!

  • We couldn’t have a team without possibly the most charismatic sportsman of the age and the fastest man on earth, Usain Bolt. The first man to ever complete the ‘Double-Triple’, securing consecutive 100m, 200m and 4x100m Olympic goal medals, Bolt would be lightning quick up-front, roasting opposing defenders with his pace. A proven champion able to defend his titles, Bolt could be our match-winner.

Sebastien Vettel, Four-time F1 World Champion

  • Another champion used to leading from the front, four-time F1 champion Sebastien Vettel completes our starting XI. The German holds a number of ‘youngest’ Formula 1 records and constantly finds the positions to forge a win for his team. He may sacrifice his teammates for his own success at times but his quality is undeniable.




Ruan Pineaar, rugby player

  • Ulster’s scrum-half Ruan Pienaar is one of the most naturally gifted players in world rugby renowned for his versatility. Jon Prowse (@sportsbally) put forward the Springbok claiming he’s a good catcher and could score from a goal kick!
Tim Henman earns his spot on the bench of our World XI

Tim Henman earns his spot on the bench of our World XI


Tim Henman, former British number 1 tennis player

  • Tim Henman makes it onto the subs bench courtesy of our website Editor, Richard Laverty (@JournoRich). According to Rich, every team has a player that’s meant to be ace but ends up being fairly average. Now, that may be a little harsh given that the former British number one amassed 15 ATP titles and made it to six Grand Slam semi-finals during his career, but I get where he’s coming from, hence Tim’s place on the bench. But, football is a squad game and Henman could prove himself to be a vital utility player.

Keep an eye out for next week’s Twitter Topic of the Week for your chance to get a mention on the pod.

Follow @hmdrudge

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