Garth Crooks' Team of the Season fear meeting Crooks

Premier League stars living in "constant peril"

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Two of the 11 men chosen by Garth Crooks as the outstanding players of the 2012/13 Premier League season have expressed their delight at being recognised by the pundit, and their terror that the award may involve interacting with him in some way.

Once again, Crooks has demonstrated his unique gift for identifying footballing talent, with his chosen team for the season just gone including brave selections such as Gareth Bale, Juan Mata and Robin van Persie.

As ever, news of inclusion in Crooks'™ XI elicited mixed emotions from his new charges.

"œObviously I'™m thrilled that Garth Crooks holds me in such high esteem," Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan told FourFourTwo.

"On the other hand, though, it'™s horrifying to think that Garth Crooks holds me in such high esteem. It'™s surely only a matter of time before he sidles up to me and starts an awkward, one-sided conversation in which he emphasises words seemingly arbitrarily."

Tottenham'™s Gareth Bale admitted he had similar reservations, stressing repeatedly that his '˜greatest fear'™ was some kind of event to mark the unveiling of Team of the Season -“ an event which would undoubtedly force the players to come face-to-face with Crooks himself.

"Winning the PFA Player of the Year, Football Writers'™ Association Player of the Year and Barclays Player of the Season awards was great, but obviously Garth Crooks'™ Team of the Season is the one all us players dream about," Bale explained to FourFourTwo.

"œHowever, the rush I felt at seeing my name was very quickly replaced with a sense of dread that Crooks would look for some kind of contact with me.

"I'm not checking my phone, my emails or anything just in case. He could be anywhere at any time -“ it's a constant fear.

"œMy dreams are haunted by visions of Crooks holding court over a table of hors d'™oeuvres, breaking off to give me a well-intentioned but damp handshake and telling me to '˜pull up a pew'™."

Former Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin Van Der Sar will have sympathy with this year'™s chosen men. The Dutch ˜keeper was so shaken by his selection in 2011 that he opted to resign from the game rather than risk a congratulatory buffet hosted by Crooks.

Charles N'™Zogbia responded more emphatically, sawing off his own foot.

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