EVERY Premier League side's most underrated player
Arsenal: Rob Holding
Holding showed great promise in the first half of 2018/19, before an ACL injury ruined his campaign in December. Arsenal just fell short of a top-four finish in the end, but their defensive deficiencies were laid bare and proved decisive. Might things have been different had Holding been available all the way through?
The defender was a £2m bargain buy from Bolton in 2016; composed with the ball and intelligent without it. He's not the most powerful of centre-backs, but his anticipation and positioning more than make up for that.
Aston Villa: Conor Hourihane
Now a full Ireland international, Hourihane has made his way through the Football League to find himself in the Premier League for the first time aged 28.
John McGinn and Jack Grealish are always more likely to get the plaudits in Villa’s midfield, but without Hourihane to stay resolute at the base of the trio, their attacking instincts would leave Dean Smith’s side unbalanced. Sitting deep, screening the back four, sniffing out danger and orchestrating moves with a fine range of passing, Hourihane is unlikely to make headlines – but could be key to his team’s survival.
Bournemouth: Steve Cook
Now into his ninth season with the Cherries, Cook is a true Bournemouth stalwart. The stopper made his debut in League One and has since helped Eddie Howe to solidify his team's place in the top flight – a magnificent achievement often forgotten.
Cook will eventually get squeezed out by newer models, but he still has plenty to offer aged 28. The former Brighton man is strong in the air and decent in possession, while he also has a handy knack of getting them in at the other end, too: he's scored in every season since 2011/12.
Brighton: Shane Duffy
While he may not get the plaudits of team-mate Lewis Dunk, the Republic of Ireland international is rarely caught out of position, and will be integral to maintaining the Seagulls’ defensive record as they experiment with a more expansive playing style under new manager Graham Potter.
Burnley: Jack Cork
Perennially underrated, Cork continues to fly under the radar despite delivering consistently good performances every year. He played every minute of every game as Burnley qualified for the Europa League in 2017/18, and missed only one match when Sean Dyche's men avoided relegation last term.
Dyche loves Cork's energy and hard running, but he's a tidy distributor of the ball too. It's surprising that the Chelsea youth product still doesn't get the credit he deserves.
Jorginho’s role as Maurizio Sarri’s representative on
planet Earth the football pitch didn’t endear him to the Chelsea faithful last year, who perceived his £50m fee as epitomising the worst excesses of the unpopular ‘Sarriball’ style.
The likelihood is that the Brazil-born Italy international will be given a more liberated role under Frank Lampard, who has publicly praised the midfielder during pre-season, and we could well see more of why Jorginho was so coveted by Pep Guardiola before his move to the Bridge.
Crystal Palace: James Tomkins
Palace struggled for goals last season, but only five clubs kept more clean sheets. Their relative solidity at the back was in part due to Roy Hodgson's organisational nous, but a centre-back partnership of Tomkins and Mamadou Sakho was also integral.
Sakho carries a bigger reputation but Tomkis is well considered at Selhurst Park and still underrated by those outside the club. A fine reader of the game, tough in the tackle and an aerial threat in both boxes, he'll be crucial to the Eagles' fortunes this term – and they'll need him.
Everton: Dominic Calvert-Lewin
Getting Moise Kean from Juventus was one of the best signings a Premier League club made this summer. The Italian teenager scored eight goals in 12 appearances for the Bianconeri in 2018/19 and will surely make an impression in England once he has had some time to acclimatise.
But in Calvert-Lewin, Everton have another promising young attacker who performs admiraby in difficult circumstances up front. The 22-year-old makes clever runs off the ball and links play well, but now needs to start scoring more goals to take his game to the next level.
Leicester: Jonny Evans
Evans’ departure from Manchester United in 2015 might not go down as one of the club’s biggest mistakes of the past few years, but then the Northern Irishman has generally been overlooked and underrated during his career.
Arsenal, United and Manchester rivals City were linked with Evans when he left West Brom last year, but Leicester got him for the paltry sum of £3.5m after exercising a no-brainer release clause in his contract. Their decision not to splash out on a new centre-back to replace Harry Maguire this summer shows how much faith Brendan Rodgers has in his fellow countryman.
Liverpool: Jordan Henderson
He may not boast the glamour or technical skill of some of his midfield colleagues, but his impact on the team is clear. The England man can play as both a box-to-box runner or the deepest of a midfield three, and Klopp values his his versatility, passing abilities and influence on those around him. Quietly excellent.