Premier League Team of the Year
David De Gea
Being asked to fill the huge gloves of such iconic figures as Peter Schmeichel and, morerecently, Edwin Van Der Sar, was never going to be an easy task. But David De Gea,having taken time to settle at Old Trafford, is proving himself a worthy successor to suchformer greats between the sticks for the champions-elect; his ever-growing confidenceand stature clearly recognised by his fellow pros.
The Argentine international faced serious competition for a place in the PFA team of the year from the likes of Glen Johnson and Kyle Walker, but his consistency and commitment has earned him the vote of his peers. A versatile defender who can fulfil a number of roles, Zabaleta has also seen off the challenge at club level of such proficient full backs as Micah Richards and Maicon.
A former Dutch Footballer of the Year with Ajax, the Belgian international has proved himself to be a class act in the Barclays Premier League...in a variety of positions. Essentially a centre back, Jan is equally adept at playing anywhere on the left side or in a defensive midfield role and frequently joins in the attack from his centre back position. Plays with grace and poise but there’s plenty of power in those shooting boots too.
Class and consistency are two words synonymous with the Manchester United defender who has been such a key figure in the club’s quest to wrest the Barclays Premier League title from rival City’s grasp after last season’s massive disappointment. A scholar at London’s Central School of Ballet as a youngster, the ever-versatile Ferdinand has been leading strikers worldwide a merry dance ever since.
The former Wigan full back has become an integral part of an Everton side that pushes for European qualification year after year. Baines, with his expert deliveries from wide positions and from free kicks, has become as valuable to the ‘Toffees’ as Gareth Bale is to Spurs. An England squad member with 15 caps to his name, he scored his first international goal against Moldova last September.
The fact the Spanish international has produced almost as many goals as he has assists for Chelsea this season speaks volumes for the all-round ability of a player who began his career at Real Madrid before making his name at Valencia. The club’s player of the year last season, Mata continues to impress and the £23.5million the west Londoners invested in August 2011 has proved to be money well spent.
A change of squad number from three to 11 has seen no change in the quality Gareth brings to a Tottenham side whose attacking instincts are something of a mirror image of the player himself. A perfect match, you might say. There are few better sights in football than Bale in full flight, although opposing defenders might have a different view of a player who must seem little more than a blur when he races towards goal.
‘A model of consistency’ is a phrase reserved for but a cherished few, either in the modern game or bygone eras. But for Michael Carrick it is a description both earned and deserved during a period of development at Manchester United where he has become an intrinsic part of a midfield department previously orchestrated by the likes of Roy Keane, Paul Ince and Sir Bobby Charlton before him. He is in exalted company.
One of many gifted Belgian players currently plying his impressive trade in the Barclays Premier League, Hazard has adapted brilliantly and effortlessly to life amongst the elite of the English game following his big money move from Lille to Chelsea in the summer of 2012. Capped at every level by his country, Hazard has become part of what might be called the ‘Barca of the Barclays’ alongside the likes of Juan Mata and Oscar.
Robin van Persie
Leaving Arsenal for arch rivals Manchester United was a big call for the Dutch international who had such a massive reputation to live up to after plundering over 130 goals – at a ratio of almost one every two games – for the Gunners during his eight-year spell in North London. It’s been goalscoring business as usual, in the main, for the Red Devils this season as he eyes up his first Barclays Premier League title.
Like van Persie, Luis Suarez also made his name in Holland’s top division – initially with Groningen but more famously with Ajax – and, like his rival for the golden boot, he has brought a breathtaking, new attacking dimension to the Barclays Premier League. Requesting the number seven shirt worn by such Liverpool legends as Dalglish and Keegan was a challenge he relished not feared...and has certainly risen to.
SGP: Coaching & Rehab
The PFA will operate a satellite office from St. George’s Park providing an additional base in the centre of the country. Members will also be given access to elite medical expertise and residential rehabilitation.