Football

Premier League: Young Team of the Year

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This season has been a good campaign for showcasing some of the best young talent Europe has to offer. So we have compiled the best 11 based on their performances last year.

Usual PFA rules apply: the players must be 23 or younger when the season began in order to get into the team.

Formation 4-4-2

Goalkeeper: David De Gea | Manchester United

David De Gea has enjoyed a much more successful second season in England. He looks much more comfortable handling crosses and set-pieces and has a much greater understanding with his defenders.

With 11 clean sheets to his name, a Premier League winners' medal and a spot in the PFA Team of the Year, it has been a strong campaign for the Spaniard who has been tipped to become Spain’s long-term number one.

 Right-back: Rafael | Manchester United

The Brazilian has always been praised for his attacking threat but has greatly improved his defensive side of the game this term.

He has looked stronger and much more disciplined; playing alongside experienced defenders like Rio Ferdinand has helped the youngster.

Spectacular goals against Liverpool and QPR have also helped his cause to get in this team.

Centre-back: Matija Nastasic | Manchester City

Out of all of Manchester City’s summer signings, Matija Nastasic has easily been the greatest value for money.

He has fitted in seamlessly at the heart of the Citizen’s defence and has even kept England International Joleon Lescott out of the team. He is part of the league’s tightest defence having conceded only 34 goals.

Having recently only turned 20, he has a very bright future ahead of him.

Centre-back: Phil Jones | Manchester United

The second place in the heart of my defence was a lot tougher to call. But Phil Jones’ versatility edges him slightly above Steven Caulker.

Jones is a fantastic athlete as well as a good footballer and his strength and speed have served United well. Sir Alex Ferguson has opted to play Jones in numerous positions this year but has also picked him for the biggest games.

His energy and stamina allowed him to successfully keep both Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo quitter than normal in United’s big away games. I think centre-half is his best position but he does need to improve his awareness and positioning in the box.

Left-back: Ben Davies | Swansea City

This was another hard decision to make, because Luke Shaw has had a phenomenal debut season also. But I have opted for Ben Davies purely because he has won silverware and played in a Wembley final.

The 20-year-old Welshman has complimented Michael Laudrup’s attacking philosophy and quick-tempo passing with his willingness to get forward. Neil Taylor has a tough job getting back into both the Swansea and Welsh sides after Davies’ impressive season.

Right-wing: Eden Hazard | Chelsea

With 13 goals and 26 assists to his name during his first season in England, it has been quite a way for Hazard to introduce himself.

His creativity, speed and agility are the reasons he is in my team. He is a constant menace to opposing defenders and has the ability to create something out of nothing.

Hazard can go on to become one of the Premier League’s all-time great wingers.

Centre-midfield: Jack Wilshere | Arsenal

Despite Santi Carzola’s creativity or Theo Walcott’s speed, I’m sure if you asked Arsenal fans who the one player is they would least like to leave the club it would be Jack Wilshere.

His combative but creative style of play means that when he plays well, Arsenal play well. Tipped to become a future England captain, Wilshere walks into this team with ease.

Centre-midfield: Morgan Schneiderlin | Southampton

The 23-year-old Frenchman is one of those typically underrated Premier League players who don’t get the recognition they deserve because they either play for a smaller club or don’t score 20+ goals a season.

But Morgan Schneiderlin has had an excellent campaign. The fact that he has started all but one of Southampton’s 38 league games emphasises his importance in the team.

His defensive attributes have started many attacks for the Saints and have allowed Southampton’s trickier players like Gaston Ramirez and Jason 

Puncheon to shine; but he has also chipped in with five goals himself.

Despite signing a long-term contract earlier this season, Arsenal have been recently linked with a move for Schneiderlin.

Left-wing: Gareth Bale | Tottenham

I couldn’t create a young team of the year without including both the PFA Young Player of the Year and PFA Player of the Year Gareth Bale.

It has been a season to remember for the Welshman. Bale has been in devastating form this year and has hit 21 goals and 10 of which were outside the box. In my opinion the undisputed best player in the Premier League and a world-record fee has been placed on his head.

Striker: Romelu Lukaku | West Brom

The potential that Romelu Lukaku has is frightening for the rest of the Premier League. All credit to West Brom and Steve Clarke for believing in him after a difficult time at Chelsea and theur faith was rewarded. 17 league goals including both home and away at Liverpool and a devastating hat-trick against Manchester United have seen Lukaku become a fan favourite.

Strong, tall, quick and decisive, the Belgium looks every bit capable of replacing Didier Drogba at Chelsea.

Striker: Christian Benteke | Aston Villa

The second Belgium powerhouse on the list was largely the main reason why Aston Villa survived relegation this year. He scored or assisted 49% of Villa’s goals which was the most by any other player in the Premier League.

His £7m transfer fee looks to be one of the bargains of the 21st Century if he replicates his goalscoring exploits in the upcoming seasons. A move to a bigger club soon looks inevitable, but Villa will hope they can persuade him to stay for at least one more year.

Substitutes' bench:

Joel Robles | Wigan Athletic 

Steven Caulker | Tottenham

Luke Shaw | Southampton 

Callum McManaman | Wigan Athletic

Andreas Weimann | Aston Villa

Philippe Coutinho | Liverpool

Andy Carroll | West Ham United

 

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Football
Premier League
Gareth Bale

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