Five Premier League stars who deserve greater recognition for their contributions

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So often is it the case that some of the Premier League's best performing players aren't given the recognition they rightfully deserve because of the clubs they play for or the positions they play.

Whilst fans and media have largely focused their attentions on the Jamie Vardy's and Mesut Ozil's this season for their goals, assists and silky skills, it's about time we shift our analysis to England's unsung heroes.

And so, here are five players who make the difference by quietly going about their business.


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Mark Noble

The 28-year-old has played a vital role in West Ham's impressive form this season in what is his 12th term for the Hammers.

Composed in possession and hard working, Noble dictates play for his side through his impressive range of short and long passes.

Perhaps most importantly, though, the Englishman provides steel in front of West Ham's back four with his positioning and aggression in the tackle, winning 67 challenges this campaign.

Virgil van Dijk

Southampton centre-back Van Dijk is the next on this list - and deservedly so. The Dutchman is seldom mentioned during discussions of the Premier League's best defenders, yet he has helped keep ten clean sheets this season and proved a formidable force.

The Saints have conceded just 24 goals, the joint third best in England's top-flight, which can be attributed largely to Van Dijk's centre-back partnership with Jose Fonte.

Standing at 6ft 4in tall, the 24-year-old is a towering presence particularly dominant in the air and strong in the challenge.

N'Golo Kante

Much of the spotlight has been focused on Leicester City's Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, whose goals and assists have undoubtedly played a huge role in the Foxes' unprecedented rise to the top this season.

However, whilst they're both worthy of the praise coming their way, it's perhaps central midfielder Kante who has made the most important contribution.

The Frenchman defines the traditional box-to-box player, making his presence known all over the pitch as a result of his unwavering energy throughout 90 minutes. One minute he is facilitating an attack, the next tracking and stealing possession from his opponent.

Far from a flashy player, Kante works tirelessly under the radar and it's ultimately his defensive contributions that matter most, not the recognition he gets. Leicester might face a battle to keep him this summer.

Andre Ayew

Given Swansea City's poor season thus far, Ayew's performances have largely gone underappreciated despite being the main reason behind his side avoiding the relegation zone.

The Ghanaian has scored a third of the Swans' 24 goals this season - who knows where they would be without him.

Furthermore, Ayew may have made just one assist this season yet all of Swansea's best moves go through the 26-year-old. A move away appears likely this summer should his side's plight continue.

Jack Butland

Butland has proved a rock in between the sticks for Stoke City this campaign, making the most saves in the Premier League (88), and yet his name continues to fall by the wayside when compared to the likes of Petr Cech, Thibaut Courtois and Joe Hart.

Were it not for the 22-year-old, the Potters might find themselves further down the table than their current 10th place.

Nine clean sheets - the third best in the Premier League - tells you all you need to know about Butland's ability, with his acrobatic style of goalkeeping and handling particularly impressive traits. A future move to one of the Premier League's elite looks increasingly likely.

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Leicester City
Swansea City
Premier League
Stoke City
West Ham United

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