Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes reacts during the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and Aston Villa at the Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, England, Sunday, April 30, 2023.

A superb XI that didn’t make Neville or Carragher’s PL teams of the season

Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville have put together their Premier League teams of the season and they’ve included both included some pretty obvious picks. But what about the players to miss out on both of their XIs?

Kieran Trippier, Ruben Dias, Martin Odegaard, Rodri, Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland each feature in both of their teams, while they disagreed in five other areas.

Speaking on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football programme, here are the XIs they went with in full:

Gary Neville’s XI: Pope; Trippier, Saliba, Dias, Estupinan; Odegaard, Rodri, De Bruyne; Saka, Haaland, Martinelli

Jamie Carragher’s XI: Alisson; Trippier, Dias, Botman, Zinchenko; Odegaard, Rodri, De Bruyne; Salah, Kane, Haaland

We’ve put together a full XI of players we feel are a bit unlucky to have missed out on their Premier League teams of the year, arranged in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

GK: David Raya

Brentford’s No.1 has been tipped to become Hugo Lloris’ successor at Tottenham this summer. He certainly produced a strong audition with some outstanding saves in the Bees’ recent 3-1 victory over Spurs – but such brilliance should be no surprise after the season he’s had.

Raya has been absolutely integral to Brentford punching above their weight in the top half of the table.

RB: Ben White

The England right-back conversation has a surprise new entry. With Reece James suffering an injury-hit campaign and Trent Alexander-Arnold enduring a season to forget before adapting to a new hybrid midfield role, White has emerged as a genuine contender.

There are question marks hanging over his place in Gareth Southgate’s plans, but there can be no questioning the 25-year-old’s form.

White has looked a natural in his new-found full-back role and was consistently reliable defensively while adding some attacking thrust in Arsenal’s surprise title challenge, notching two goals and five assists.

CB: Lewis Dunk

The ever-consistent centre-back has made over 400 appearances for Brighton and represented them in the top three tiers, but at the age of 31, he’s taken his game to exceptional new heights while adapting to Roberto De Zerbi’s possession-focused tactical plan.

No player in Europe’s top five leagues has completed more passes this season.

“League One, the Championship, Premier League, and he’s performing every game. That’s what I really admire,” Seagulls team-mate Joel Veltman recently told The Athletic.

“At Ajax we were top of the league, playing Champions League or Europa League, knowing you weren’t going to get relegated. Now he’s adapted to the level, which is really admirable.”

CB: John Stones

Both Carragher and Neville opted for former Premier League Player of the Year Ruben Dias, but we reckon his team-mate can feel hard done by not making it.

Stones has looked immense in his new sweeper role and has been pivotal to Pep Guardiola’s WM-esque 3-2-4-1 system working so successfully. Herbert Chapman would be delighted.

LB: Luke Shaw

Shaw can be read as something of a bellwether for the health of Manchester United. The club have fluctuated wildly between respectable and disastrous in recent years and their left-back’s form – in particular – tends to mirror that closely.

Things haven’t been perfect at Old Trafford this season (their away form at the top 10 and that 7-0 defeat at Liverpool stand out) but a trophy under the belt, another cup final to come, while almost securing a top-four finish has to be read as at least par for Erik ten Hag’s Red Devils.

And with it, Shaw has had a quietly better-than-decent individual campaign. The England international has shrugged off the challenge from summer signing Tyrell Malacia and done pretty well when asked to slot in at the centre of defence.

DM: Moises Caicedo

The poster boy for Brighton’s world-class recruitment, it says a lot that Arsenal bid £60million – the biggest bid the Seagulls have ever received – for the 21-year-old. It says even more that Tony Bloom rejected it out of hand.

We shouldn’t let it be forgotten that Brighton’s squad cost is the lowest in the division and their wage bill is the third-lowest. And yet they’ve qualified for Europe. Picking up and developing players like Caicedo is how they’ve managed it.

DM: Joao Palhinha

A rival to Raphinha at Leeds United in the ‘how on earth did a newly-promoted club sign a player this good!?’ stakes, Palhinha has had an extraordinary season at the base of Fulham’s midfield.

Reminiscent of peak N’Golo Kante in that you’d swear there are two of him on the pitch, the Portuguese has been the best and most important player in Marco Silva’s side – widely tipped to go straight back down – spending almost the entirety of 2022-23 in the top half of the table.

Palhinha has registered 144 tackles in the Premier League this season – 45(!) more than second-placed Caicedo.

CAM: Bruno Fernandes

Manchester United’s de facto captain has looked back to his best following the somewhat awkward departure of his compatriot Cristiano Ronaldo.

Fernandes has played 112 key passes this season, the most of any player in the division, and ranks joint top alongside Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne – a feature of both Carra and Neville’s teams – for ‘big chances created’.

The Portuguese playmaker has 10 fewer assists than De Bruyne, but it’d be interesting to see how those numbers would compare if Fernandes was supplying Erling Haaland and De Bruyne was supplying Wout Weghorst.

FWR: Marcus Rashford

Midway through the 2022-23 campaign, Rashford was rivalling Haaland in looking absolutely unstoppable. After returning from the World Cup, the 25-year-old notched 16 goals and four assists in 15 appearances – it’s arguably as well as any player, anywhere, has played this season.

He couldn’t quite maintain those standards throughout the whole season, but he’s still been Manchester United’s most potent attacker (by some distance) while producing the most productive season of his career.

Ten Hag’s side would not be returning to the Champions League were it not for his exceptional goalscoring prowess.

ST: Ivan Toney

Recently, this question did the rounds on social media – ‘Is it more impressive for Harry Kane to score 28 goals for this Tottenham team than it is for Haaland to score 36 goals in this Man City team?’

To which, we’d respond – ‘Is it more impressive than either of them that Ivan Toney’s scored 20 goals for this Brentford team?’

Thomas Frank’s Bees should, be all logic, be suffering second-season syndrome.

They have the lowest wage bill in the division. They’re a well-run club and there are many reasons that they go into the final weekend with hope of qualifying for Europe, but none better than boasting one of English football’s most outstanding No.9s.

FWL: Jack Grealish

Grealish’s pure numbers are decent but not all that impressive – five goals and seven assists in the Premier League – but his game has gone far beyond that in 2022-23.

The 27-year-old struggled to justify his £100million price tag in year one at the Etihad but now he looks fully acclimatised to Guardiola’s demands and has nailed down his spot in Man City’s XI ahead of Phil Foden. That’s no mean feat.

He links up superbly with Haaland and will be remembered as one of the key players for this all-conquering juggernaut.

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