Forget the PFA Team of the Year, here is an XI of the Premier League's best - including Alderweireld!


Once upon a time, when shirts were three sizes too big, Premier League pitches actually got muddy, and the only way fans could abuse you was by post; I got to cast my vote for the PFA Team of the Year.

Those were the days. 

Right now, as a fully paid-up member of the football has-been society, I have to settle for an imaginary vote instead – and regular readers of this column will know Unibet are always kind enough to indulge me at this time of the season. 

So here goes. My Team of the Year for 2016/17 (4-2-3-1) is as follows…let me know if you agree.


 

GK: Tom Heaton (Burnley)

It’s not been a vintage year for Premier League keepers, but Burnley’s brilliant shot stopper has been the best of the bunch. He saves 76.4% of the efforts fired in at them, and there have been plenty of those this season!

I don’t want to wish him away from Turf Moor, but one of the top flight’s heavyweights could do a lot worse than consider making a bid for Sean Dyche’s skipper. 

 

RB: Antonio Valencia (Manchester United)

Initially I wasn’t sure the Ecuadorian could be converted into a full back, but he’s proved myself, and plenty of others wrong. 

Valencia has delivered more accurate crosses from open play than anyone else in the division, and defensively very few wingers have got the better of him. Kyle Walker is unlucky to miss out, but I’d have fancied facing the United man less. 

 

CB: Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea) 

Here’s another player that’s reinvented himself quite magnificently. The most reliable cog in Chelsea’s back three, Azpilicueta’s defensive brain is on a different level to many that play in the same position across the Premier League. 

The Spaniard’s bright decision-making sets him apart. Mr Reliable. 

 

CB: Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham Hotspur) 

The Spurs defender has lost THREE tackles all season. He’s commits a foul once every 282 minutes. Alderweireld is one of the most efficient defenders I have seen for quite some time, and is the cornerstone of an excellent Tottenham rearguard.

On the ball the Belgian’s range of passing is also integral to the way his side likes to play. 

 

LB: Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur) 

One of the most improved players around, Rose blends fierce aggression with all the attacking virtues you need to be a modern full back. 

Mauricio Pochettino has done an incredible job of developing the 26-year-old into an international class player. Something I’d never have foreseen. 

 

CM: N’Golo Kante (Chelsea)

There’s not a lot left to say that hasn’t been said already. This little Frenchman is the must-have accessory for anyone wanting to win the title.

It seems amazing that Chelsea were able to steal him away from Leicester City for just £32million. He’s worth at least double. 

 

CM: Moussa Dembele (Tottenham Hotspur) 

When I first clapped eyes on the Belgian he was a winger for AZ Alkmaar that loved to hog the ball and go on mazy, often directionless dribbles. What a transformation. 

At 29, he is now one of the best deep-lying midfield facilitators in Europe. Fabulous at tracking back, stealing the ball or brushing opponents aside, he then backs that up with the right choice of pass 99.9% of the time. 

It must be a joy for the Spurs forwards to play with him. 

 

AM: Eden Hazard (Chelsea)

My vote for Player of the Year would go to the third and final Belgian star to make my XI. He’s ripped up the division this term, bamboozling defenders in the same way he did the last time Chelsea won the league. 

What’s impressed me most is his mindset. Happy to adjust to Antonio Conte’s intense demands, he has delivered in the big games. If they landed him, he’d improve Real Madrid. 

 

AM: Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur) 

It won’t be long before someone bids over £100million for Alli. For a 21-year-old he is ridiculously good. 

The finishing, the intelligence of his runs, the aggressive mentality, the showmanship, all bear the hallmarks of someone very special. He has to be the Young Player of the Year.  

 

AM: Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal) 

You can’t argue with a record of 18 goals and nine assists, especially when you consider the Chilean has only played up front for half a season at most. 

It’s been a disappointing campaign for the Gunners, but Alexis has always carried a sprightly threat, and his hat trick away to West Ham is one of the best I’ve ever seen. 

 

CF: Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur)

There’s a lot of competition for this spot, but for me Kane has been the most elite marksman. 

Statistically he trumps all his main rivals with a goal every 101.2 minutes, and his conversion rate of 33% means the Spurs man has once again proven himself to be lethal. 

Had he not missed so many matches through injury, Kane would have won the Golden Boot at a canter. He still might pinch it.