The Barclays Premier League consists of 20 teams and hundreds of
players, but only 11 can make my team of the year. The criteria is
simple, be the best at your position: creatively, functionally or
My team is defensively sound with a midfield that combines
heart, commitment and no small measure of skill, while my attacking
line-up was good for 51 league goals.
Playing a 3-4-3 formation, if you’re looking for entertainment,
look no further.
Edwin Van der Sar (Manchester United): The Dutchman says
he’ll play his last professional match next Saturday in the UEFA
Champions League Final. He’ll be missed by football fans the world
over. His handling, distribution and awareness has been spectacular
this campaign; however, it’s his athleticism that has taken my
They say a goalkeeper improves with age. Edwin van der Sar is
Vincent Kompany (Manchester City): Defensively, City has
been much improved over the course of the season, and that is down
to their player of the season. Kompany has displayed remarkable
consistency and resolve in a team that at times struggled to
believe in itself. They believe now, and at 25, the Belgian should
be part of this club for years to come.
Leighton Baines (Everton): I think that Baines is the best
English left back in the country. It’s time for Ashley Cole to move
over, because this Toffee not only defends like a tiger, but he
makes and scores goals week-in, week-out.
He’s also as reliable as your old family Honda. He’s not missed
a league match this season.
Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United): Every great team needs a
great center back and the Serbian is all that and more. With the
captain’s armband thrust upon him, Vidic has led United with a
certainty and resolve that I’ve not seen before.
Charlie Adam (Blackpool): When Blackpool’s player of the
season handed in a transfer request during the January window, his
form took a dip. That dream move to Liverpool would have to be put
on hold; however, the dip didn’t last long as his character
would come to the fore.
This is the kind of player you need in a battle, because he has
guts and no small amount of skill. His services will be in high
Luka Modric (Tottenham): Gareth Bale may have got the PFA
award but it was Modric who was the architect of this Spurs team.
The Croatian appeared in more Premiership matches than any member
of the squad and showed that you can mix the technical side of
football with the resilient. There were many who initially doubted
his $20 million price tag, you no longer hear from them.
Scott Parker (West Ham): The Football Writers Player of the
Year strolls into this XI. At 30 years-of-age and with a number of
high profile moves in his past, Parker could have mailed it in this
season as a number of his West Ham colleagues did, but this man is
the ultimate professional. Not only did he give his all to the
cause but he forced his way back into the England squad. Give me
ten Scotty Parkers and I’ll rule the world.
Raul Meireles (Liverpool): The much maligned former Red
boss, Roy Hodgson, should be lauded for one of his buys: Portugal’s
Meireles. Like many foreign buys, he initially struggled to find
his feet in England due to a different style of play and being part
of a Liverpool team that was going through some huge changes, on
and off the pitch. Once he found his rhythm, though, he oozed class
and demonstrated exactly what kind of a player he is.
Javier Hernandez (Manchester United): To me, Chicharito is
the epitome of what a deadly striker should be. He’s sneaky fast.
His movement is varied and deceptive, and he scores the majority of
his goals in the six-yard box. Gary Lineker made a career out of
those qualities, and this Mexican will do the same. If he stays
injury free for any length of time at United, he will break every
Carlos Tevez (Manchester City): It’s been an emotional
season for the City skipper. Family turmoil, bust-ups with
management, sneaky agents, and injuries, but it did finish on a
high. His club won their first trophy in close to four decades and
qualified for the Champions League while he finished tied for the
golden boot. There is no doubting Tevez and his commitment when he
crosses that white line, as long as you can look past his mercenary
Darren Bent (Aston Villa): Changing clubs successfully in
midseason is never the easiest thing to do, except when you’re a
striker that just scores goals. Bent is such a player. Despite the
tag put on him by his former boss, Harry Redknapp – you know, the
one about his missus scoring – the England international is the
most consistent English goal scorer in the Premiership, a fact that
Fabio Capello has noted.
This XI is as cosmopolitan as they come: Four Englishmen, a
Belgian, a Dutchman, a Portuguese, an Argentinean, a Croatian, a
Serb and a Mexican. I fancy their chances against anyone.
Enjoy the off-season. Summer friendly matches start stateside in
a little over five weeks!
Nick Webster is a senior writer for FoxSoccer.com covering the
Barclay’s Premier League and the English national team.