Pick your Premier League Team of the Season - Central defenders
After yesterday's vote saw Gareth Bale and Branislav Ivanovic picked as full-backs to join Joe Hart in goal, it's time to select your Premier League Team of the Season centre-backs.
Here are Robbie Blakeley's five nominees, which are of course open to suggestions from outside!
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1. Ryan Shawcross (Stoke City)
Unfortunately his season is likely to be remembered for the horror tackle on Aaron Ramsey which ended the young Welshman's season.
However, the defender has had another fine season for The Potters, which should not go unnoticed. A committed defender who is dominant in the air, Shawcross has been a key part of the Stoke team which has now achieved a mid-table Premier League finish two seasons running.
The 22 year old made it into Fabio Capello's England squad for the friendly against Egypt, and is an outside bet for a seat on the plane to South Africa in June.
2. Thomas Vermaelen (Arsenal)
Arsene Wenger knows a good player when he sees one, and wasted no time in snapping up the 24-year-old Belgian international from Ajax last summer. He looks a bargain at £10 million.
Vermaelen adapted to the demands of the Premier League effortlessly, and as well as forming a formidable defensive partnership with William Gallas, and later Sol Campbell, he has weighed in with some crucial goals for the Gunners this season.
He was nominated for the Belgian Sportsman of the Year Award 2009, and has carried his top class form into 2010. A confident ball playing centre half, many trademark Arsenal counter attacks are launched by the accurate left boot of Vermaelen.
3. Christopher Samba (Blackburn Rovers)
The giant Congolese has been the rock at the heart of the Blackburn defence for three and a half years now, and at 26 is approaching the pinnacle of his career.
Standing at 6ft 5in, Samba towers over most other players, and uses his height advantage to dominate aerial situations. Quick as well as physically imposing, Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce has occasionally used Samba as a makeshift striker.
Recently handed the captain's armband, Samba has stepped into the role admirably, leading the team strongly as well as playing a vital role in the development of young teenage defender Phil Jones, who broke into the Blackburn first team last month.
4. Michael Dawson (Tottenham Hotspur)
While Ledley King picks up countless plaudits for the few games a season he manages to play, Michael Dawson has quietly gone about his business for yet another season, and yet again has shone.
Dawson is now Spurs captain, and his five years of Premiership experience has helped him gain the respect of the dressing room and opponents.
Never afraid to put his head in where it hurts, Dawson has suffered his fair share of concussions over the years. However, it will all be worth it if he leads Tottenham to their first ever Champions League campaign. Surely an England call-up cannot be far off for Dawson, who has been in far better form than his rivals for a place in the England squad.
5. Johnny Heitinga (Everton)
Like Vermaelen, Heitinga is playing his first year of Premiership football, yet looks like he has been playing there his whole career.
Signed for just over £6 million in August, his impressive first season has helped Toffees fans forget the betrayal of Joleon Lescott, who has looked less than convincing for Manchester City when he has been fit to play.
Dominant with both his head and his feet, Heitinga has rejuvenated the Everton back line, and will be a pivotal member of Holland's World Cup bid in June.
- Robbie Blakeley
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