Thursday 21 November 2013
Ahead of the return of the Barclays Premier League this weekend, we asked Premier League TV pundits to select their team of the season after the first 11 matches of the season. The fourth and final team is selected by Dean Sturridge, who played for Derby County, Leicester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Barclays Premier League.
Artur Boruc (Southampton)
Minutes played: 990; Clean sheets: 6; Save percentage: 83.9
I am going for Boruc as he has kept many clean sheets and Southampton have got the best defensive record in the Barclays Premier League this season. Other keepers are in good form like Hugo Lloris but, in my eyes, Boruc just edges it. He gives the team confidence to know they can create chances and more than likely win matches because at the other end they are tight defensively.
Glen Johnson (Liverpool)
Minutes played: 493; Clean sheets: 3; Tackle success: 90%
He has had his little injuries but the importance that he has to the Liverpool side was highlighted when he was out injured in the biggest game they played this season against Arsenal. They missed him terribly. Whether Liverpool play a wing-back system or a full-back system, he provides great width and great energy. Sometimes people say that your quality rises when you are sitting on the bench or in the stand out injured as people realise how good you are and I think that is definitely the case with Johnson. When he was out injured they missed that bit of quality, pace and experience in that full-back position. Against Fulham he showed how he gets a team on the front foot, gets to the by-line, provides quality crosses, and is a major component to the Liverpool team.
Dejan Lovren (Southampton)
Minutes played: 990; Clean sheets: 6; Tackle success: 83.3%
Lovren is in the team because of his vocal ability as well as his defensive ability. Southampton conceded 60 goals last season, they have not changed much and the player who has made a major difference is Dejan Lovren. He is very commanding defensively but is also very good with his communication, is a very good leader of the backline and is also a threat at set-pieces.
Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham Hotspur)
Minutes played: 990; Clean sheets: 7; Tackle success: 93.75%
I know he has played a couple of positions but I really rate him and Spurs have been particularly stingy defensively. I think Vertonghen is one of the best defenders in the Barclays Premier League when he is played in his favoured position of centre-back. He is very mobile and that mobility gives him the versatility to play at left-back as well. He has been a fantastic signing and everybody knows about all the quality that has come in to the League from from the Belgian players. He is very sound defensively and comfortable with the ball at his feet so he can create attacks by running out of defence. He is a very, very fluid player in a side who like to play good football.
Leighton Baines (Everton)
Minutes played: 990; Clean sheets: 6; Tackle success: 82.4
I did the co-commentary for Everton's match at West Ham United and Leighton Baines scored two of the best of the best free-kicks I have seen in my life. They were top class, they had great disguise, but apart from his ability at set-pieces, he also has the ability to attack from the left full-back position and be a trigger for his side going forward. He has also shown at international level that he is not fazed and that he has got the ability to be a top England international for many years to come.
Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal)
Minutes played: 922; Goals: 6; Chances/assists created: 13
Aaron Ramsey gets in my team because of his goals, his energy and his ability to recover from that major injury. This season he has added composure and scoring goals to his game. He is a lot colder when he is faced with the goalkeeper or the last defender and has got that ability to drop a shoulder or manipulate the ball very quickly and more often than not he is side-footing the ball into the net instead of going for power. If he has needed power, he has shown – as he did against Liverpool – that he has got a variety of finishes to his game now and it is great to see because a lot of people wrote him off.
Yaya Toure (Manchester City)
Minutes played: 990; Goals: 5; Chances/assists created: 12
Toure has drive and plenty of physical presence, sometimes when you watch him you feel like he is the big kid in the playground. He is very strong, very quick on the ball and is a formidable force, you can't get the ball off him. He has got many attributes and this season he has added set-pieces to armoury. He whips in free-kicks in from 20-25 yards out over the wall and into the top corner and you can't blame the goalkeeper such has been the quality of his set-piece finishing. Manchester City have got the likes of David Silva and Sergio Aguero in their team but more often than not, Yaya Toure is still the one who takes free-kicks, which tells you the technical quality he has.
Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)
Minutes played: 963; Goals: 2; Chances/assists created: 28
People have been talking about him losing his legs and not being as fit but I still think he is a major player and is scoring goals or proving his quality from set-pieces. In Liverpool's match against Fulham, he had three assists. Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez are getting the headlines but he is the one in the midfield area providing the bullets for them. Gerrard provides great service, whether it is crossing the ball or producing defence-spliting passes. He has dropped a little bit deeper and has been versatile in the different formations used this season. Against Fulham they played 4-4-2 and he still dominated the game, ran the possession in terms of the tempo and it was a top-class performance. If Liverpool are going to get into the top four and maybe challenge for the title then he needs to stay fit and provide that quality in the middle of the park.
Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)
Minutes played: 769; Goals: 8; Chances/assists created: 19
Aguero has pin-point finishing, a low centre of gravity, an ability to back into defenders twice the size of him and still keep possession, and also an ability to see team-mates in better positions and not be selfish when opportunities arise. He is a very cool finisher. All three of the strikers I have picked have got eight Barclays Premier League goals this season so it is pretty obvious why I have chosen them. They all have different attributes so that is why they are such an exciting front three.
Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool)
Minutes played: 974; Goals: 8; Chances/assists created: 11
Daniel is in top form, he is happy to be playing as a striker, a position he has been desperate to play in for a top side for many years. Now he has been given the opportunity and is proving why he is so desperate. He has got a fantastic relationship with Suarez, they have formed a great partnership. He has the adaptability and versatility to take shots early from outside the box to take goalkeepers and defenders by surprise but also the ability to get into the six-yard box and finish off moves.
Luis Suarez (Liverpool)
Minutes played: 539; Goals: 8; Chances/assists created: 18
Suarez has scored eight goals in six games which is a phenomenal return. He has an ability to get the ball from the halfway line and beat a defender and fire into the far corner, as he did against West Bromwich Albion. He has had a hat-trick already at Anfield and is just in fantastic form. It is very difficult to stop him.