Last week, the PFA announced its team of the season, and as always the 11 players chosen consisted of players entirely from the Top 6 teams. But what about the other end of the table? What about those players who week in week out have put in terrific performances that have gone under the radar because of the less glamorous nature of the clubs they play for? Here we will take a moment to appreciate the work of the unsung heroes and the best of the rest.
Goalkeeper-- Rui Patricio
The Portuguese Number One seemed to creep into Molineux with very little fanfare last summer, but he has shown over the course of the season what a top quality goalkeeper he is. After some drawn-out negotiations, Wolves eventually agreed a fee with Sporting Lisbon of around 18 million pounds for Patricio. When you consider that Chelsea paid nearly 4 times as much for a flapping Kepa, Patricio has proved to be an absolute bargain.
Right Back-- Aaron Wan-Bissaka
It is no wonder that all the top 6 are sniffing around the exceptional Aaron Wan-Bissaka. At time of writing, he leads the league's defenders in tackles won, interceptions made, and successful take ons. He isn't yet the finished article, but all signs point towards Wan-Bissaka developing into one of the Premier League's best fullbacks. He has said in recent days that he sees his immediate future at Selhurst Park, but if as expected one of the Premier League big boys come in with a monster offer, it will be very hard for Crystal Palace to turn down.
Center Back-- Declan Rice
Although the Englishman turned Irishman turned Englishman has usually featured at the base of the midfield for West Ham this season, he is more than capable of playing in central defense. It has been something of a break out season for Rice. After much speculation about his international future, he announced earlier this year that he would be declaring for England, and has since made 2 appearances for the national side with many more surely to follow. Manchester United are rumored to be interested in his services, and if he keeps up his terrific form he will surely be playing for a top six side sooner rather than later.
Center Back-- Craig Cathcart
Watford have had a stealthily good season under manager Javi Garcia, and if it wasn't for Wolves exceeding a lot of pundits' expectations, Watford may have had more credit for their very admirable push into the top 10. Northern Irishman Cathcart has been a rock at the heart of the Watford defense this season, and has chipped in with 3 goals at the other end of the pitch. He is a tall, commanding center half who leads by example, and has been a consistent presence in an injury hit Watford backline.
Left Back-- Lucas Digne
French full back Lucas Digne has had a fabulous first season in English football. The former Barcelona man quickly established himself as Everton's first choice left back ahead of veteran Leighton Baines, and has been terrific both defensively and going forward where he has 4 goals, and 4 assists so far this season.
Right Mid-- David Brooks
Welsh Winger Brooks has had an electric first year at Bournemouth. After signing in 2018 as a relative unknown, Brooks has grown to be arguably the first name on the team sheet for Eddie Howe's Cherries this season. His wizardy and eye for goal on the wing saw him earn a nomination for PFA Young Player of the Year, and has also drawn comparisons to another Welshman, and Brooks' own current national team manager, Ryan Giggs. He recently signed a new long term deal at Bournemouth, a testament to his impressive form since only joining last summer.
Center Mid-- Luka Milivojevic
Yes he should be probably be called Luka Penivojevic-- but take nothing away from the Serbian's consistency from the spot. He has scored some important goals this season for Crystal Palace, and has been a central figure (literally) in their relatively solid season under Roy Hodgson. He is the type of no-nonsense central midfielder that allows the other more creative players in the team (in his case usually Wilf Zaha) to do what they do best.
Center Mid-- Ruben Neves
Surely it is only a matter of time before Ruben Neves makes the step up to a bigger club. The Portuguese midfielder is only 22 years of age, and already looks a seasoned pro. He has had wonderful inaugural season in top flight Premier League football at the heart of a Wolves team who have been consistently punching above their weight. He is an elegant playmaker, with an eye for the spectacular long range strike who reminds me of a Portuguese Paul Scholes-- which is no wonder that Manchester United are among a number of clubs rumored to be sniffing around Neves this summer.
Left Mid-- Ryan Fraser
Pint sized Scottsman Ryan Fraser has had a remarkable season down on the South Coast. His dynamic dribbling, pin-point crossing, and running off the ball have seen his stock rise considerably over the course of the last couple of years, and Bournemouth can expect a number of offers (most notably from Arsenal) for his services when the transfer window opens.
Striker-- Raul Jimenez
Wolves fans will be delighted to hear that Jimenez, who has been on loan this season from Benfica, will now join the club permanently on July 1st. The Mexican striker has been a revelation this campaign, and his 13 Premier League goals puts him tied with Javier Hernandez as having the most goals scored by a Mexican in a Premier League season. He has formed a lethal partnership with Diogo Jota, and has produced some scintillating personal displays as Wolves have shot up the table.
Striker-- Jamie Vardy
How is Jamie Vardy 32 years of age? Though he had a tricky start to the campaign under Claude Puel, the Englishman has found a new lease of life under manager Brendan Rodgers, and has scored 18 Premier League goals at time of writing. Despite being 32, Vardy doesn't show any signs of slowing down (quite literally) and is enjoying his football in a Leicester team that is full of talent.