11 Premier League players you won't believe never made the PFA Team of the Year
We’re over a month away from the end of the English league season, and there’s still plenty of time for every team and player to experience a change in fortunes. Awards time!
With nearly a fifth of the season to go, the PFA is ready to announce its Players’ Player of the Year, Young Player of the Year and Team of the Year for each division in England. The players have voted, tuxes are being rushed off to the drycleaners, and a whole lot of people should prepare for disappointment.
Obviously many fans and footballers, not to mention managers, pundits and journalists, will say the wrong person was named Player of the Year, because only one man can win from a wide field (although Dele Alli seems to have Young Player of the Year sewn up for the next few seasons). Many will disagree with the Player of the Year decision. Team of the Year, though, is different.
Everyone disagrees with Team of the Year.
It’s simple: every side's supporters feel they have at least one strong candidate for inclusion. With 11 winners instead of only one, more teams should be recognised, right? Alas, you can’t please everyone. In 2007, for instance, eventual champions Manchester United led Chelsea by just three points with four games remaining when eight United players made the PFA’s Team of the Year. It's a meritocracy, but even though it’s the players themselves who vote, there will be unsung heroes who remain unsung.
And yet there are some Premier League footballers whose omission from every season’s Team of the Year is more shocking than the PFA naming a 2015/16 Championship XI that had 12 players. This isn’t hindsight, either: these unfortunate souls were obvious Team of the Year candidates at the time.
We’ve picked an Unlucky Losers XI, playing in a time-honoured 4-2-3-1 formation. It’s OK – look at the defensive midfielders and you’ll see they have this covered.
GK - Pepe Reina
Reina never made a PFA Team of the Year despite winning the Premier League Golden Glove three years in a row
Reina is a paradox. The follicly-challenged goalkeeper has a collection of winners’ medals that he barely earned (in Spain’s three consecutive international tournament triumphs, he played once), yet he was a superb glovesman who could’ve won more.
To add insult to injury, Reina never made a PFA Team of the Year despite winning the Premier League Golden Glove three years in a row. Even with 57 clean sheets between 2005/06 and 2007/08, Reina lost the popular vote to Newcastle’s Shay Given, then Manchester United’s Edwin van der Sar, then Portsmouth’s David James. The guy couldn't catch a break.