Date:Monday April 26 2010
United have been receiving plenty of criticism throughout the season but it looks like the players themselves are impressed by our efforts: four United players have been named in the PFA Team of the Year.
Wayne Rooney has landed the Player of the Year award and of course that is a no-brainer, we all knew he would. He had a magnificent season, scoring plenty of goals and important ones as well. He emerged as a cool penalty-taker, a brilliant header of the ball and a lethal predator who left behind the days when he needed four chances to score once.
In defence, Patrice Evra got the nod at left-back which is about right. Ashley Cole has been good but got injured at the crucial time while Evra has been reliable and ever-present, even though I think had better seasons in the red shirt. Playing in every single league game clearly took his toll on him and reduced his brilliance but he's still the best around.
Antonio Valencia is also in the team after a very, very good debut season, in which he proved all the doubters wrong by his excellent displays on the right. His speed, power and great crossing made a difference even though he never threatened to reach the goalscoring heights of Ronaldo - as we knew he would not. But he is undoubtedly a great signing and deserves his place in the team of the year for his consistently excellent performances.
Darren Fletcher's place is richly deserved as well: he's now recognised by his peers as one of the Premiership's best defensive midfielders. An interesting stat: he committed 32 fouls in 28 games - Javier Mascherano committed 62, Fabrice Muamba: 61, Wilson Palacios: 58, Gareth Barry 56, Alex Song: 54, to name but a few. He also got forward to good effect, scoring 3 goals and 6 assists which is reasonable for a midfielder whose primary job is defending.
So, we have four players in the team, easily the most from one club. Arsenal, Chelsea and Aston Villa all have two while Birmingham City boast Joe Hart. It's a balanced team although some of the players left out would have a good case for inclusion: Frank Lampard, Florent Malouda, Roger Johnson, Michael Dawson, Heurelho Gomes, maybe even Gareth Bale, Tim Cahill and Steven Pienaar all had really good seasons.
Congratulations to all the United lads and of course to Wayne Rooney who has had a magnificent campaign, even if we seem unlikely to end it with a major trophy.
Date:Monday April 26 2010
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