Ronaldo, Sterling, Pickford: Premier League's most underrated XI in 2021/22

Cristiano Ronaldo

The word ‘underrated’ is thrown around a lot when talking about football in the present day.

Everyone who watches the sport has their opinions on the players they believe are worthy of the complimentary label.

And we here at GIVEMESPORT are no different. So, with the Premier League season coming to an end on Sunday, we’ve had a go at naming the most underrated XI in the division for 2021/22.

Of course, the likes of Mohamed Salah, Kevin De Bruyne and Heung-min Son will not feature, as there cannot be a person on the planet who refuses to rate that trio as highly as they deserve.

Some big names make the cut in our chosen team, though…

GK – Jordan Pickford (Everton)

He hasn’t kept many clean sheets, but Everton would probably already be relegated were it not for Pickford’s heroics between the sticks.

His recent performances in critical wins over Chelsea and Leicester were the definition of world-class and yet more proof that Pickford is still comfortably England’s best goalkeeper.

Jordan Pickford celebrates an Everton win
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – MAY 01: Jordan Pickford of Everton celebrates their side’s win after the final whistle of the Premier League match between Everton and Chelsea at Goodison Park on May 01, 2022 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

CB – Dan Burn (Newcastle United)

The signing of Burn from Brighton in January was viewed with scepticism by many at the time, but the giant centre-back has completely transformed Newcastle‘s defence.

He’s forged a stellar partnership with Fabian Schar, one that Eddie Howe will surely stick with next season – even if the club spend lavishly in the summer window.

CB – Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur)

Remember when Dier was a bit of a laughing stock at Spurs? Well, he’s anything but that these days and might just be the club’s most important defender. Yes, even over Cristian Romero.

In the middle of a back three, Dier has been quietly magnificent and the reborn defensive leader is now one of the very first names on Antonio Conte’s team sheet.

Eric Dier in action with Spurs
LONDON, ENGLAND – MAY 01: Eric Dier of Tottenham Hotspur looks on during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on May 01, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

CB – Joel Matip (Liverpool)

Virgil van Dijk gets a lot of plaudits and rightly so. However, no one seems to be shouting about the fact that his partner at Liverpool has probably been the second-best centre-back in the Premier League this season.

Matip has thwarted strikers for fun and has even chipped in with crucial goals – including the crucial winner away at Southampton. One of the greatest free transfers in modern football history, of that there should be no doubt.

RM – Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)

Unlike West Ham‘s Jarrod Bowen for example, Sterling’s numbers in 2021/22 have really slipped under the radar. Despite spending the start of the campaign confined to the bench, he’s still managed to rack up 13 goals and four assists in Premier League action.

For context, only De Bruyne has scored more times in the league for City this season. Not bad, Raheem.

Raheem Sterling in action with Man City
LEEDS, ENGLAND – APRIL 30: Raheem Sterling of Manchester City runs with the ball during the Premier League match between Leeds United and Manchester City at Elland Road on April 30, 2022 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images)

CM – Christian Norgaard (Brentford)

Part of the reason Brentford will be a Premier League team in 2022/21 is their superb Danish midfield general.

No player has made more tackles than Norgaard this season (109), while he’s also chipped in with three goals and four assists. The 28-year-old is a seriously good footballer and we’re quite surprised Europe’s elite aren’t being linked with him.

CM – Joelinton (Newcastle United)

If a year ago you’d have told us we’ll be creating an underrated XI with Joelinton in the centre of midfield, we’d have fallen off our chairs laughing. Football really is a funny old game, isn’t it?

The Brazilian has been a box-to-box menace ever since Howe moved him into a deeper role and he was recently crowned Newcastle’s Player of the Season. A quite incredible turnaround.

Newcastle United's Joelinton
NORWICH, ENGLAND – APRIL 23: Joelinton of Newcastle United during the Premier League match between Norwich City and Newcastle United at Carrow Road on April 23, 2022 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

LM – Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace)

Like Sterling, Zaha’s stats really aren’t being given the credit they deserve. He’s scored 13 goals in a Palace shirt this season, which is comfortably his most prolific campaign in the English top-flight to date.

Zaha has been questioned for having a lack of end product down the years, but now no one can aim that criticism at him.

CAM – James Maddison (Leicester City)

If Maddison were at a bigger club, his 2021/22 season would be praised to rafters. Ten goals and seven assists in 31 outings? That’s form worthy of an England call-up in our opinion.

But because Leicester have performed well below their usual standards, Maddison isn’t being mentioned in the same breath as the likes of Mason Mount and Phil Foden – which he certainly should be.

James Maddison in action with Leicester
WATFORD, ENGLAND – MAY 15: James Maddison of Leicester City passes the ball during the Premier League match between Watford and Leicester City at Vicarage Road on May 15, 2022 in Watford, England. (Photo by Paul Harding/Getty Images)

ST – Ivan Toney (Brentford)

Toney has been one of the best strikers in the Premier League this season, yet you don’t hear his name brought up anywhere near enough.

He’s scored 12 goals and contributed five assists in a newly-promoted side, a return that simply cannot be undervalued. Gareth Southgate, we really hope you’ve been watching Brentford’s talisman on a regular basis…

ST – Cristiano Ronaldo (Man Utd)

Eighteen goals and three assists in the worst United team in recent history at the age of 37? Yeah, some people don’t quite understand how extraordinary Ronaldo has been in 2021/22.

He should be in the mix to win the division’s most prestigious individual accolades, but was somehow omitted from the final list for the Premier League’s Player of the Season award – something we’re still scratching our heads about.

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