Newly-crowned champions Manchester United were well represented in the PFA’s team of the year for the Barclays Premier League – but there was no place for Wayne Rooney.
The selection by his fellow professionals of United number one David De Gea came as something of a surprise, especially given the quality of rival keepers in the top flight.
Established figures such as Joe Hart, Petr Cech and Pepe Reina have come under siege from the likes of Simon Mignolet, Hugo Lloris and Asmir Begovic.
But the PFA vote went to De Gea who, after what can best be described as a ‘difficult’ start to his United career, has proved the doubters wrong and shown his true colours.
Many felt his slight frame would not stand up to the rigours of the English game, but he has shown in recent months he can mix it with the biggest. As we discovered when he was smashed by Andy Carroll recently, but dusted himself down and got on with the job.
Sky pundit Gary Neville suggested at the weekend that Rio Ferdinand was having one of his most consistent-ever seasons, even though he’s started just 25 games in the Premier and made only three Champions League appearances before United’s untimely exit.
But whilst there are question marks over his fitness, his quality continues to shine through and his reading of the game is still the best of any central defender in the country.
Michael Carrick and Robin Van Persie make up United’s quartet of players named in the PFA team of the year, and you’ll struggle to find anyone who would contest those particular selections.
Carrick, like Ferdinand, has been a model of consistency this season and has grown into the role of playmaker and the man to turn to when the chips are down. Just as Paul Scholes had been previously, for the best part of 15 years.
Carrick is the main man now, just as Van Persie has taken over from Rooney in the ‘must pick’ stakes for the big games. The Dutchman has been a revelation and his goals have been key to United’s 20th title success.
Van Persie, who finished just behind Luis Suarez and Gareth Bale in the Players’ Player of the Year vote, left Arsenal because he wanted to be a winner and picking up a Championship medal in his first season at Old Trafford has more than justified his decision.
Here’s the PFA Team of the Year for the Premier in full:-
David De Gea – Manchester United
Pablo Zabaleta – Manchester City
Leighton Baines – Everton
Jan Vertonghen – Tottenham Hotspur
Rio Ferdinand – Manchester United
Juan Mata – Chelsea
Gareth Bale – Tottenham Hotspur
Michael Carrick – Manchester United
Eden Hazard – Chelsea
Robin Van Persie – Manchester United
Luis Suarez – Liverpool