15 / 15 Click here The 2008-10 version was my favorite to watch, when he largely operated from the wide right (instead of in the hole as he does now), which allowed him to attack the opposition from deeper positions. This was the most spectacular version of Messi, banging in goals after waltzing past multiple defenders and regularly leaving us speechless. Now? We’re still speechless, but more as a result of his ridiculous goal/assist numbers than of his individual moments of brilliance. That’s not to say that he’s any less of a player, but the same thing happened to Cristiano Ronaldo between 2006 and 2008—there was a panache to his game that went into something of a remission as he became a greater goalscorer. Lennon and Walcott used to be celebrated for their pace and derided for their end product, one of a crop of English players that emerged the mid-noughties who were thought of similarly (Lennon, Walcott, Shaun Wright Phillips, Wayne Routledge and Gabriel Agbonglahor). But credit to both of them. Lennon has improved his final ball just enough to provide a consistent menace down the right, while Walcott has started to focus mainly on what he does best—break the offside trap and finish. They’ll never be the most technical or savvy of players, but it’s not something that regularly holds them back anymore.