It must have been a mixed day for Jack Wilshere yesterday - just hours after his team had managed to throw away any realistic chance of winning the title, with the very last kick of the game, he was being given one of the highest accolades in English football.
Whilst Gareth Bale beat the likes of Carlos Tevez and Javier Hernandez to the PFA Players Player of the Year Award, 19 year-old Wilshere was presented with the no-less-prestigious Young Player Award, voted for by his fellow professionals, who obviously agree that he has the best chance of becoming a World Class star (if he isn't one already).
Well done those two, though you would have to say that both were the outright favourites to win their category. A look at the PFA Team of the Year brings similarly few surprises - Van der Sar in nets, Sagna, Cole, Vidic and Kompany in defence, with Nani, Nasri and the two award-winners in midfield. Tevez and Berbatov complete an impressive XI, which would surely have a great chance of winning, should either Mr Abramovich or Sheikh Mansour want to stick up the £350m it would cost to actually get the players together.
The thing that struck us at CTP Towers was that the players all came from just 5 teams - 4 from Manchester United, 3 from Arsenal, 2 from Manchester City, 1 from Chelsea and 1 from Tottenham. Funnily enough, those 5 teams also make up the current top 5. All the players are helped by their multi-million pound team-mates, as well as having the benefit of hours and hours of extra coverage on the likes of Match of the Day, as opposed to the poor hard-working souls at Wolves, who just about get their goals shown in the highlights, when most of their fellow professionals have gone to bed!
In order to make it fairer, we've decided that each club can only have ONE representative in the team - it should be the stand-out performer - meaning we have to drop 3 Man Utd players just to get us started.....! Here’s our pick...
It was hard to pick as stand-out performer at Liverpool after their shocking start to the season, but we're fairly sure that if they hadn't had Pepe Reina in between the sticks, they would have had an even more miserable time of things pre-King Kenny.
GK: Reina (Liverpool)
The defensive back-line includes two of the PFA XI in Vidic and Ashley Cole, but also includes two more stand-out performers for their clubs. Admittedly Gary Cahill didn't cover himself in glory on Sunday in the FA Cup Semi final, but he has had a fantastic season, won his England debut, and is being linked to a summer move to Manchester United. To complete the four, we have an ex-United player, who has shown real leadership qualities and is sorely missed whenever he isn't on the pitch at Goodison Park. Harry Redknapp knew his value as a 'character' on the pitch, and tried to buy him in the winter to help them get the edge in Premiership and Champions League. Step forward, Phil Neville!
DF: Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Vidic (Man Utd), Gary Cahill (Bolton), Phil Neville (Everton)
Our midfield has been shaped slightly by the PFA Awards - both Wilshere and Bale keep their places after proving themselves as their respective teams' most valuable player. Add Scott Parker into the mix and you have the central-midfield pairing that impressed so much for England. Parker has been West Ham's all-action hero so far this season, on occasion dragging his team kicking and screaming to a point or three, so he deserves the recognition. Our last choice is a bit left-field, but with 12 goals for a team that was expected to struggle this year, but didn't, Odemwingie has certainly earned his place.
MF: Odemwingie (West Brom), Wilshere (Arsenal), Scott Parker (West Ham), Bale (Tottenham),
Up front, we went for goals! With Berbatov written out of the team because Nemanja Vidic has been so inspirational, the responsibility for getting the ball into the onion bag falls to Carlos Tevez (19 goals) and Darren Bent (14 goals and counting...)
AT: Tevez (Manchester City), Darren Bent (Aston Villa)
Why is Arteta not in the team? Better than Phil Neville
Phil Neville deserves his place - absolute legend!