Stats Zone Premier League Centre-Back of 2013/14: Curtis Davies (Hull)
A ball-playing centre-back comfortable in various systems, Hull's Curtis Davies can consider himself somewhat unlucky not to be busy in Brazil this summer.
In 2013/14, no Premier League defender of any nationality made more interceptions (104) or won more aerial duels (171) than Davies; those disparate disciplines show his equal comfort reading the game or reacting to physical presence, while he contributed the second-highest number of tackles won for a centre-back (56, one behind Swansea's Chico Flores). And he may be the only player ever interviewed immediately after losing an FA Cup final to casually but correctly use the conjunctive adverb "therefore".
So why is he not on the plane to World Cup, when England are hardly overburdened with centre-backs who excel either physically or intellectually? Perhaps it's his age (29) at a time when Roy Hodgson is consciously and conscientiously rejuvenating the squad: assuming the first choices are Gary Cahill (28) and Phil Jagielka (31), standby centre-halves Phil Jones (22) and Chris Smalling (24) will be on watch-and-learn duties. They could do worse than watch Davies, whose skillset has helped him excel whether Hull a back three, four or five.
Unlike a few team-mates, Davies got better as the season went on: against Man City in March he made 21 clearances, including 17 with his head, while in April's Swansea game he made 16 clearances, seven interceptions and two tackles as the Tigers kept a clean sheet.
He may not be going to South America, but the Europa League awaits; his England chance may have gone – and he won't fancy taking up his 'grandparent' option of representing the Republic of Ireland considering their assistant manager Roy Keane once chuckled on national TV that Steve Bruce "must have had a beer" when backing Davies for the Three Lions – but that can only work to Hull's benefit.
Mentions in dispatches should also go to Cardiff's busily impressive Steven Caulker, Arsenal's much-improved Laurent Koscielny and Liverpool's valorously indiscreet Martin Skrtel, but Curtis Davies is the worthy winner of the Centre-Back of the Season, succeeding Tottenham's Jan Vertonghen.
Stats Zone Premier League Goalkeeper of 2013/14
Stats Zone Premier League Full-Back of 2013/14
Stats Zone Premier League Central Midfielder of 2013/14
Stats Zone Premier League Attacking Midfielder of 2013/14
Stats Zone Premier League Striker of 2013/14
Stats Zone Premier League Young Player of 2013/14
Stats Zone Premier League Player of 2013/14
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