Football

England XI: Premier League Team of the Year

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Walcott has had a great season at Arsenal (©GettyImages)
Walcott has had a great season at Arsenal (©GettyImages).

Roy Hodgson has recently complained about the number of Englishman playing in the Premier League.

Only 75 of the 220 players that opened this season's league campaign were English. However I've come to prove that it's not all doom and gloom for England, compiling an English first XI from the 12/13 season.

Goalkeeper: Ben Foster

West Brom's goalkeeper is arguable one of the most improved Premier League footballers in recent years. He's been central to West Brom's successful campaign, and such has his form been, he's even returned from International retirement to challenge Joe Hart for that no.1 spot.

In 27 appearances this season, he's made a credible 97 saves, as well as an impressive 7 clean sheets, so it's clear to see why he's made the no.1 position his own in the English 1st XI.

Right-back: Carl Jenkinson

Though the latter part of the season Jenkinson has played second fiddle to Bacary Sagna, I've been incredibly impressed whenever seeing him play. He possesses great pace, stamina and loves getting forward, supplying a dangerous cross when needed.

As well as this, he's an assured defender, exemplified by his performance against Bayern Munich- keeping the likes of Robben, Ribery and Muller quiet for 90 mins in Germany. In only his first season in the Premier League since signing from Charlton, he every bit deserves his place in this team.

Centre-back: Rio Ferdinand

In a difficult campaign last season for Rio, having to support his brother off the field, and losing the title to their close rivals, Ferdinand has bounced back this season in exemplary fashion.

Ferdinand has been the ever-present in a rotating Man Utd side this season, making some important blocks and match-winning tackles. He's also been the chief organiser in Utd's defence- conceding a mere 36 goals in 35 matches, helping his Man Utd side regain the Premier League title from their neighbours across the road.

Centre-back: Phil Jagielka

Jagielka is the old-fashioned 'hard man' in my team. Putting his head in where it hurts to defend his goal.

He's been at the forefront of his Everton team in what has been a remarkable season for them, as they continue flirt with Champions League qualification. Although not the quickest he's fantastic in the air and a solid tackler. Jagielka has made 33 appearances this season, scoring twice and getting one assist.

Left-back: Leighton Baines

This position could have gone to either Ashley Cole or Luke Shaw, but Leighton Baines just nicked it. Perhaps the most consistent player in the Premier League, he regularly finds himself on the opponents by-line and delivers a delicious cross. He's equally as competent in his defensive third, never ducking a strong challenge. He's also a set-piece expert, making 35 league appearances this season, scoring 5 goals.

Defensive-midfield: Frank Lampard

Perhaps not his preferred position, but due to Chelsea's summer imports, Lampard has found himself playing in this more withdrawn position.

Lampard is a proven pin-point passer, and is also a determined tackler so this position suits him down to a T. Playing more defensively hasn't altered his impressive goalscoring record either, scoring 13 league goals.  

Central-midfield: Michael Carrick

Recently there's been a case for Carrick being the underrated man of English football, but people are finally beginning to appreciate his talent. Mr Reliable, rarely (if ever), gives possession away, making him the first name on my team-sheet.

Although rarely getting on the scoresheet himself, he keeps the clock ticking in Man Utd's midfield, making himself pivotal in their success this season.

Central-midfield: Jack Wilshere

Wilshere has arguably been Arsenal's brightest spark this season. The only player who generates genuine excitement every time he's on the ball.

He beats opponents with apparent ease, drawing challenges and making himself a disaster to play against. Combine that with his passion and you have the perfect midfielder.

Attacking-midfield: Wayne Rooney

Sir Alex implemented his genius once more this season by playing Rooney in a deeper role. Rooney's passing, ability to find spaces in comparatively congested areas, and his natural instinct in front of goal make him the perfect attacking midfielder.

Although he'd prefer to be playing alongside Robin van Persie up front, playing just behind the Dutchman has made them a nightmare for opposition defenders. Rooney has also mustered up 12 goals and 10 assists from 26 appearances this season.

Striker: Rickie Lambert

Probably the smallest name in my First XI, but nobody is more deserving than Rickie Lambert. Doing it the hard way, Lambert has made his way up from League 1, to the Championship, before taking like a duck to water in the Premier League.

In what has been a relatively successful season for the Saints, Lambert has been at the forefront of their attack. His large build makes him dangerous in the air, but he's also a tidy finisher in front of goal. Even surprising a few with a 30 yard free-kick against Chelsea. Lambert has scored 14 goals in 32 league appearances this season.

Striker: Theo Walcott

Although Arsene Wenger insists on playing Walcott in a wide position, I think it's clear he's best suited as a striker, especially playing alongside a target man like Lambert. He has blistering pace, makes clever runs and is a fine finisher- scoring 12 goals, some coming in big matches verses the likes of Man Utd and Chelsea.

He only occasionally plays up-front these days, but after showing what he's capable of whilst playing there (cup hat-trick against Reading), I'd be more than happy to have him leading the line for my English First XI.

 

So there you are, my first XI compiled from Englishman only. Feel free to disagree on numerous positions, but I believe every one of those players deserve their place on the team-sheet.

 

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Topics:
Internationals
Football
Theo Walcott
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