A brilliant XI that didn’t make Neville or Carra’s PL teams of the season
The 2021-22 Premier League season has seen some players come on leaps and bounds, and out of the hundreds who have played, Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville have each selected their own team of the season – although they missed out on a number of players who may well have deserved a place.
Presenting on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football, Neville and Carragher shared their two teams and both featured a number of the same players.
Alisson was in the net for both, Liverpool’s Brazilian emphatically selected as the best goalkeeper in the league. Virgil van Dijk was at the centre of defence for both the former Manchester United and Liverpool players, while they also shared the opinion that Kevin de Bruyne and Bernardo Silva deserved to be in the XI. The two shared an identical front three, with Heung-Min Son and Mohamed Salah flanking Harry Kane.
There were of course disagreements. Carragher preferred Joel Matip beside Van Dijk while Neville opted for Ruben Dias, with the two also disagreeing on full-backs. Carragher went with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joao Cancelo while Neville opted for Kyle Walker and Andy Robertson. In the holding role in midfield, meanwhile, Carrgagher preferred Declan Rice and Neville selected Rodri.
But who are the players they both missed out on? We decided to put together our own team of the season from those they left out, to see how it compared to the sides selected by the two legends.
GK: Jose Sa
Sa has been extremely impressive in his debut Premier League season. He had a tall order replacing Rui Patricio, but the Portuguese goalkeeper has stepped into the other Portuguese goalkeeper’s shoes brilliantly (all under a new Portuguese coach with mainly Portuguese team-mates too).
We could have gone with Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy as well here, or even the ever-consistent Huge Lloris at Spurs, but Sa gets our vote thanks to absolutely ridiculous saves like this… and the fact he only cost £6.8million.
What a start to life in a Wolves shirt!
The top 10 saves of Jose Sa.
— Wolves (@Wolves) January 17, 2022
RB: Matty Cash
There’s nothing more Polish than Matty Cash. In the pantheon of Polish things, he’s right up there with Pierogi, bottles of Zywiec and Kielbasa.
But in all seriousness, the Slough-born Polish international has had an impressive season in 2021-22. Across the top five leagues, he’s in the high percentiles for all major defensive stats and bagged himself three goals and assists apiece in what is by no means one of the league’s most prolific sides.
It’s brilliant to know he’ll be turning it up at the World Cup later this year. Powodzenia, Cash.
CB: Antonio Rudiger
Rudiger is potentially one of the best players ever to be lost on a free transfer. He’s at the peak of his powers and would surely be worth around £50million… if he wasn’t off to Real Madrid for nothing.
He’s been brilliant once again this season for Chelsea, as he has been for most of his time at the club, but the thing we’ll miss most about him is his tendency to constantly try outrageous long shots.
Because sometimes, just sometimes, they come off.
Antonio Rudiger's sensational goal against Brentford. 🔥
— Football Tekkers (@BallTekkers) April 3, 2022
CB: Cristian Romero
The good people over at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (come on Daniel Levy, sort the naming rights out) are in love with ‘Cuti’ Romero.
And why wouldn’t they be? He’s not just a brilliant with-the-ball defender, but his tackles are so good that even those become assists.
LB: Tyrick Mitchell
Nominated for the Premier League Young Player of the Year award, Crystal Palace’s Mitchell has been a near-permanent fixture for Patrick Vieira’s Eagles.
The 22-year-old has earnt his first two England caps in 2022 as well, becoming the very latest full-back whose name is not Aaron Wan-Bissaka to be chosen by Gareth Southgate.
CM: James Ward-Prowse
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s one of James Ward-Prowse’s free-kicks on its way to the top corner of some poor Premier League team’s net.
This is the campaign that has seen him become the second most prolific free-kick taker in the league’s history, and the all-around performances from the Saints’ captain have been just as good as his dead balls.
Will he leave the South Coast in the summer? Only time will tell.
James Ward-Prowse is an absolute problem from set pieces 🔥
It's another picture perfect free-kick from the Southampton man 😍 pic.twitter.com/7vDPHArtvS
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) December 15, 2021
A Fabinho-Ward-Prowse midfield duo is surely going strong at the heart of Liverpool’s team in an alternate universe.
Fabinho has once again been quietly solid for the Reds in their incredible season. He’s quite possibly the most important player in the Liverpool midfield and already has everything there is to win in England under his belt.
Jurgen Klopp’s team are on the verge of making history. If they do, Fabinho will deservedly be considered a big part of it.
CAM: Martin Odegaard
Odegaard must surely have been a contender for both of Neville and Carragher’s sides, but we reckon he just falls short of getting in mainly because there’s a certain someone named De Bruyne who will probably be filling in the No.10 position in Premier League XI’s for as long as he’s kicking a ball.
But that’s fine because it gets to mean we can have the Norwegian all to ourselves in this list. And boy do we love him.
RW: Jarrod Bowen
If Bowen had scored a hat-trick against Manchester City he would have never had to have bought himself a drink in Liverpool ever again.
But even then his performance against the would-be champions was superb, as his performances have been all season.
Goals, assists, dribbles; all have been numerous and oozing with quality, so much so that he earnt himself a nomination for the Premier League Player of the Year award.
ST: Cristiano Ronaldo
We all know he had to go in here. Ivan Toney has had a great first season in the Premier League and Diogo Jota has been fantastic for Liverpool and often acted as their main striker, but even the most ardent hater of United would accept the Portuguese goal machine is still extraordinary.
To be the third-highest goal scorer in the league at the age of 37 is simply incredible, regardless of the fact United have been dire in 2021-22.
Whether ‘Siuuu’ is still heard rattling around Old Trafford next season, however, is still a complete unknown.
LW: Bukayo Saka
Saka is a right-winger, but we’ve got him on the left here because we simply have to have him in the team.
It’s a similar issue to Odegaard, where there are truly world-class players ahead of the two of them that prevent them from getting into a normal team of the season.
In Saka’s case it’s Son and Salah, but the new Mr Arsenal will get there. He’s just getting better and better.