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Son, Rodri and Ederson: Sportsmail’s alternative PFA team of the year after some shock omissions

The PFA awards usually come with controversy as fans debate which stars players from the Premier League season should have won different prizes – with many left outraged about some omissions from this season’s team of the year.

The most noteable name missing from the line-up this year was arguably Tottenham’s Son Heung-min, who missed out on the awards ceremony entirely despite winning the golden boot, sharing it with Liverpool’s Mo Salah.

There was also no place in the team for midfielder Rodri, who was one of the unsung heroes in inspiring Manchester City’s Premier League title win. 

But they weren’t the only players who have the right to feel hard-done by after impressive seasons.  

Sportsmail has come up with an alternate team of the year to compare with the official PFA version to highlight some of the star names to miss out.  

Tottenham's Son Heung-min was one of the bigger names to miss out on the PFA Team of the Year

Man City's Rodri was another name who would have been worthy of inclusion

Son Heung-min (L) and Rodri (R) were among the biggest name to miss out on the PFA Team of the Year, so Sportsmail has come up with an ‘alternative’ line-up

Manchester City and Liverpool dominated this season's PFA Team of the Year

Manchester City and Liverpool dominated this season’s PFA Team of the Year

GOALKEEPER

Ederson – Manchester City

Always competing for recognition with fellow Brazilian Ederson and so it proved to be the case this season.

Man City’s Ederson may have won the Premier League but it was Liverpool’s Alisson who was given the nod in the PFA line-up. 

In truth there isn’t too much to separate them – they both racked up 20 clean sheets from 38 games – four more than the nearest challenger Hugo Lloris – with both sharing the Golden Glove award.

Man City keeper Ederson won the golden glove after 20 clean sheets and lifted the title too

Man City keeper Ederson won the golden glove after 20 clean sheets and lifted the title too

Ederson has been a reliable figure in between sticks for the last four years under Pep Guardiola, and this season he was immense. 

He didnt make a single error leading to a goal and made 60 saves, letting in just 26 – the joint-fewest in the league – level with Alisson. 

And Ederson even helped Man City build attacks too. According to Opta, he was involved in 66 sequences that ended with a shot attempt last season – the most of any keeper – such is Pep Guardiola’s expansive style of football. 

RIGHT BACK 

Reece James – Chelsea 

The Blues defender was one of the most consistent stars in the Premier League last season and his maurauding runs down the right flank made Chelsea force to be reckoned with early on in the campaign. 

He has been one of Chelsea’s primary attacking threats and picked up nine assists – the most by a player 22 or under in a single campaign for the Blues since Eden Hazard in 2012-13. 

James also fizzed in 108 crosses, with a 22 per cent success rate. The England international created nine big chances and provided an average of 53 passes a match.

Reece James registered nine assists and was a huge threat down the flanks for Chelsea

Reece James registered nine assists and was a huge threat down the flanks for Chelsea 

James played 26 games after missing a small chunk of the season through a niggling hamstring injury, but conceded 21 goals in the games he was involved in, keeping five clean sheets. He also made 33 tackles with a success rate of 76 per cent, with 17 interceptions and 18 clearances.

His England rival Trent-Alexander Arnold was worthy of his place in the team of the year after his amazing season that saw him rack up 12 assists, though James absolutely deserves to be acknowledged. 

CENTRE BACK

Cristian Romero – Tottenham

In a topsy-turvy season for Spurs where they needed a lift, Romero provided it.

The Argentine arrived from Atalanta last summer and added some steel to their backline, even if it took him a while to adjust to his surroundings.

Romero struggled to get into his groove during the turbulent early period under Nuno Espirito Santo, before putting in some dominant displays at the back after Antonio Conte arrived and brought the best out of him.

Cristian Romero brought steel to Tottenham’s defence and made had the best tackle per game average of any Spurs player

It wasn’t just Romero’s defensive solidity that stood out – it was his ability to carry the ball out of defence, make interceptions and push forwards into attack.

The 24-year-old made 62 tackles – working out at three per game on average – the most of any Tottenham player. He also made 33 interceptions and 72 clearances, with 148 recoveries. 

He won 129 of his duels and 43 aerial battles. And his contribution to Tottenham’s general attacking play was clear with 1,316 passes and 58 accurate long balls. 

CENTRE BACK 

Joel Matip – Liverpool

The Cameroonian perhaps doesn’t always get the recognition he deserves, but he had an excellent season alongside Virgil van Dijk, who normally grabs most of the headlines, but Matip also stood out as he played 31 times and kept 17 clean sheets.

He made 2,319 passes – amounting to 74.81 per match – and made more progressive carries than any other Liverpool player in the Premier League last season with 483.

Liverpool had the joint-best defence last season and Matip was a huge part of that. He made 90 clearances, 47 tackles and 185 recoveries. 

Matip won 175 of his duels and 109 aerial battles, while he blocked nine shots as Liverpool let in just 21 goals when he was on the pitch.  

Joel Matip was a huge part of ensuring Liverpool had the joint-best defensive record last season, keeping 17 clean sheets and making 485 progressive carries

Joel Matip was a huge part of ensuring Liverpool had the joint-best defensive record last season, keeping 17 clean sheets and making 485 progressive carries

LEFT BACK 

Andy Robertson – Liverpool

The Scottish full-back can count himself incredibly unlucky not to make the team, only missing out thanks to the brilliance of Joao Cancelo this season.  

Cancelo was superb all round, helping to keep 19 clean sheets while also providing seven assists, but Robertson outperformed him in an attacking sense, with 10 assists on the left flank – creating nine big chances, hitting in 195 crosses and scoring three goals.  

He was one of only two defenders to reach double figures for assists in the Premier League last season, along with teammate Alexander-Arnold. 

Robertson was also integral with his defensive duties. 

He made 36 tackles – 58 per cent of them successful – with 23 interceptions, 51 clearances and 180 recoveries, contributing to 16 clean sheets from 29 games.

Andy Robertson made 10 assists and was a menace on the wing with his crossing ability

Andy Robertson made 10 assists and was a menace on the wing with his crossing ability 

CENTRE MID 

Rodri – Manchester City

The absence of the Spanish midfielder raised plenty of eyebrows given his superb displays in the middle of the park for Pep Guardiola last season.

Rodri quietly went about his business for City – perhaps why he was snubbed in faovur of Kevin de Bruyne, Thiago and Bernardo Silva – but he was still a crucial member of their title-winning team as he scored seven times, playing 2,865 passes with an average of 86.82 passes per match. 

He played 180 accurate long balls and provided two assists as he helped City keep the tempo in midfield. 

Rodri was one of the unsung heroes of Manchester City's Premier League title win

Rodri was one of the unsung heroes of Manchester City’s Premier League title win 

But he was also integral to their play while defending. He made 72 tackles, 60 per cent of them successful, 28 interceptions and 42 clearances – but it was in his ball recovery ability where he stood out the most. 

He made a huge 292 recoveries last season, and made 170 of those in the middle-third of the pitch – more often than any other player in the Premier League.

CENTRE MID 

Mason Mount – Chelsea

The Chelsea youngster is a manager’s dream and someone Thomas Tuchel can depend on with consistent performance and quality in the final third. 

First and foremost, the fact he managed double figures in goals and assists puts him in a unique club of only three players last season.

Mount’s quality on the ball and creative vision saw him create 10 clear cut chances and play in 10 through balls. 

Mason Mount stepped up for Chelsea this year - managing double figures in goals and assists

Mason Mount stepped up for Chelsea this year – managing double figures in goals and assists

He hit 76 shots, 29 of which were on target, giving him a shooting accuracy of 38 per cent, though he did miss four big chances to score and hit the woodwork three times.

His 11 goals make him the third-highest scoring midfielder last season and he was the joint-third-highest assist provider with 10.  Mount put in 153 crosses and played 1,115 passes, and also got stuck in with 41 tackles. 

Such was his importance to Tuchel, he started 27 out of 38 games, with five appearances coming off the bench.  

CENTRE MID 

Declan Rice – West Ham United 

Rice has received some huge plaudits over the last season for shining as a defensive midfielder for the Hammers, with his performances also rewarding him with a handful of England caps.

He put in several combative displays throughout the season and made a total of 80 tackles and 63 interceptions. 

Rice was also one of the leading stars when it came to ball recoveries – making 286 – and also won 183 of his duels. 

Declan Rice has been undroppable for club and country with his tough tackling displays

Declan Rice has been undroppable for club and country with his tough tackling displays 

And the England star led the way with progressive carries – when a players travels with the ball at least five metres upfield. Rice made 381 of these, more than any other top flight midfielder. 

Creatively, he also chipped in with four assists and made a total of 2,153 passes, and he also hit 26 shots at goal. 

His consistency in midfield has convinced England boss Gareth Southgate that Rice is his first choice alongside Kalvin Phillips – with Rice starting the last three games in a row for the Three Lions. 

RIGHT WING 

Jarrod Bowen – West Ham United

It was the season where the West Ham star came alive and one that has rewarded him with a place in Gareth Southgate’s England squad. 

Bowen was a breath of fresh air in the last campaign and was a major factor in West Ham’s push for the Europa League trophy – and subsequent qualification for the Conference League. 

His real step in quality saw him register 12 goals and 10 assists to hit double figures for both – becoming just the second player to do so for West Ham in Premier League history after Paulo Di Canio.

Bowen pulled off 79 shots, 34 of which were on target and hit the woodwork four times. Creatively, he set up nine big chances and sent in 141 crosses.

David Moyes could hardly afford to leave Bowen out of his team – starting him 34 times out of 38 Premier League games.  

Jarrod Bowen came alive for West Ham this season with 12 goals and 10 assists to boost their European prospects

Jarrod Bowen came alive for West Ham this season with 12 goals and 10 assists to boost their European prospects

STRIKER 

Harry Kane – Tottenham

All’s well that ends well, and Kane’s season certainly finished off that way as he wrapped up his season with 17 goals despite an uncharacteristically slow start as he struggled amid speculation he could leave Spurs.

His first Premier League goal didn’t come until October, but he started pressing down on the throttle in December after Antonio Conte took over, scoring four in five games, and then had a spell between February and March where he netted seven goals in six games. 

Kane then finished the campaign with five in his last five matches to end the season on a strong note – including a double against bitter rivals Arsenal to help Spurs finish in the top four.

Harry Kane overcame a slow start to finish his campaign with 17 goals as he helped Spurs qualify for the Champions League

Harry Kane overcame a slow start to finish his campaign with 17 goals as he helped Spurs qualify for the Champions League

His 17 strikes take him up to fifth in the all-time Premier League top scorers list – just one behind fourth placed Sergio Aguero, and four behind third-placed Andy Cole.

Kane was well deserving of a place in a team of the year and pipped by a fantastic Cristiano Ronaldo who scored one more goal than him.

The England captain scored 0.46 goals a match, racking up 133 shots and also showing his playmaking abilities with nine assists and creating 19 big chances. 

LEFT WING 

Son-Heung Min – Tottenham

Arguably the most outrageous omission from the team of the year, Son was seemingly a shoo-in for a place and certainly good enough to be a nominee for the individual prize – but didn’t even make the cut.

Son was sensational throughout the campaign and finished with 23 strikes to claim the golden boot, shared with Mohamed Salah, scoring 0.66 goals a game and showing off his ability with either feet. He netted 11 goals with his right foot and 12 with his left.

Son Heung-Min is arguably the most shocking omission from the PFA Team of the Year after he won the golden boot with 23 goals

Son Heung-Min is arguably the most shocking omission from the PFA Team of the Year after he won the golden boot with 23 goals

But what was so incredible about Son’s magnificent goalscoring run was that none of his 23 strikes came from the penalty spot, while Salah slotted in five from 12 yards.

Son has become just the eigthth player in Premier League history to score that many without scoring any penalties – and the first to do so since Luis Suarez in 2013-14. 

He created 10 big chances and provided seven assists for his team-mates as he carried them through the season and eventually was key to them securing Champions League football for the first time in two seasons. 

Statistics courtesy of Opta Sports. 

Sportsmail's alternate Team of the Year, which includes Son up front and Rodri in midfield

Sportsmail’s alternate Team of the Year, which includes Son up front and Rodri in midfield 

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