Sporting Life pick of the Prem

  • Last Updated: April 28 2014, 8:44 BST

Our football team select their top player and team of the Barclays Premier League season.

Yaya Toure: Features heavily in our Teams of the Year
Yaya Toure: Features heavily in our Teams of the Year

The PFA had their say last night and now our football team give you their verdict on the top performers of this exciting Barclays Premier League season.


Team of the season:

Goalkeeper: David de Gea (Manchester United)

Defence: Luke Shaw (Southampton), John Terry (Chelsea), Per Mertesacker (Arsenal), Leighton Baines (Everton)

Midfield: Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Yaya Toure (Manchester City), Raheem Sterling (Liverpool)

Strikers: Luis Suarez (Liverpool), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)

David de Gea has been badly let down by his back four for a large period of the season but has still managed to show sparks of brilliance and certainly seems to have grown into the role of Manchester United goalkeeper. Luke Shaw is as classy a full-back as I've seen for a long time, while Leighton Baines, John Terry and Arsenal's Per Mertesacker have displayed excellent consistency throughout. Raheem Sterling is perhaps the surprise name in my midfield but he has developed almost beyond recognition under Brendan Rodgers tutelage this term and has the potential to set the forthcoming World Cup alight should he be given a chance to do so by England. Luis Suarez and Sergio Aguero are simply the two best players in the Premier League; it's just a shame we've seen so little of the latter due to his persistent injuries.

Player of the season: Luis Suarez (Liverpool)

It's not often players of Suarez's ability come to the Premier League and Liverpool's season would no doubt have been a whole lot different had he stuck to the view that he held at the start of the campaign whilst serving the end of his 10-match ban for the infamous bite on Ivanovic. But he and Liverpool kissed and made up and it's hoped now Champions League football has been secured at Anfield we'll get to enjoy the Uruguayan for a number of seasons to come. His level of performance has elevated Suarez into a very small group of players just behind Messi and Ronaldo in the world's best pecking order and should the Reds just come up short in their title bid this time, they're certain to be on the scene again next May if they hold onto their main man.

Young player of the season: Raheem Sterling (Liverpool)

Raheem Sterling has gone from a speedball winger without much of an end product to the brightest young talent in the league in a very short space of time, and much of thje credit must go to Brendan Rodgers. Playing alongside the sensational Suarez can only help a young man learn the game and if he continues his rapid improvement over the past few months for England then I expexct him to make a huge impression on the international stage this summer.


Team of the season:

Goalkeeper: Asmir Begovic (Stoke)

Defence: Seamus Coleman (Everton), John Terry (Chelsea), Curtis Davies (Hull), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)

Midfield: Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Yaya Toure (Manchester City), Adam Lallana (Southampton)

Strikers: Luis Suarez (Liverpool), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool)

Begovic remains the pick of the Premier League goalkeepers for me. I’m amazed a club in the Champions League hasn’t already signed him and he’s got to have done well to keep out the impressive David de Gea, Tim Howard, Allan McGregor and David Marshall. Curtis Davies is possibly the surprise name in my defence but I think he deserves his spot after performing wonders in the centre of Hull’s backline. Probable survival and a place in the FA Cup final is more than the Tigers could possibly have dreamt of at the start of the season. The midfield and attack didn’t need too much thinking about. There’s no keeping apart Liverpool’s SAS up front and Adam Lallana gets my vote as the most enjoyable player to watch perform this term.

Player of the season: Luis Suarez

A pretty easy decision. Suarez’s main competition comes from Steven Gerrard and John Terry in my eyes but the Liverpool striker still gets the nod by some distance. His performances since returning to action following his ban at the start of the season have been sensational and he’s the main reason the Reds will win the title. England’s defence won’t enjoy coming up against him at the World Cup.

Young player of the season: Ross Barkley

I know the PFA award is open to all players aged 23 or under at the start of the season but I’d rather it went to someone enjoying their breakthrough campaign. Ross Barkley made only nine appearances for Everton last season and got his experience of first-team football on loan at Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds. Now he’s one of the key members of the Toffees side and expected to be part of the England World Cup squad. His goal at Newcastle goes down as one of my favourites.


Team of the season:

Goalkeeper: David Marshall (Cardiff)

Defence: Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City), Vincent Kompany (Manchester City), John Terry (Chelsea), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)

Midfield: Gareth Barry (Everton), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Yaya Toure (Manchester City), Eden Hazard (Chelsea)

Strikers: Luis Suarez (Liverpool), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool)

Seamus Coleman may have grabbed more goals and headlines this season but Pablo Zabaleta has enjoyed another outstanding season at Manchester City. He’s been better than Coleman in defensive situations and offers the City side plenty going forward too. In the left full-back position, I’ve chosen Cesar Azpilicueta ahead of Leighton Baines - he’s been superb since taking over from Ashley Cole and has played a vital part in making Chelsea’s the best defence in the Premier League. The other name many will disagree with in my line-up is that of Gareth Barry. Much was made of Everton’s deadline-day signings with Romelu Lukaku’s potential loss next season being much discussed by the media of late. However, Barry will be missed more if the Toffees don’t manage to grab his signature on a permanent deal. A real game-breaker, Barry’s beauty is that he does the simple things so well. It’s not a glamorous role but few do it with such distinction. How he’s continued to be ignored by England is beyond me.

Player of the season: Luis Suarez

I'm one of millions who surely hate the antics of the Uruguayan – the sprawling, the moaning, that scowl. But when it comes to simply kicking a football, Suarez is quite simply one of the best players in the world and he’s proved that in virtually every single game he’s played this season. Liverpool would have got nowhere near the title without him, of that I’m sure. The special skills that baffle defenders have hit a new level but the biggest improvement in his game has been in the finishing department. Roll back a couple of years when he first arrived in England and all the criticism was he wasn’t a true goalscorer. Well, with 30 in the bag this term and a possible league record to follow, that is well and truly in the past. Judge him only on the football and Suarez is a worthy winner of this award - by a mile.

Young player of the season: Daniel Sturridge

Sturridge has been around so long that it’s hard to believe he’s still eligible for this prize but, having found a real home for his undoubted skills, he gets my vote. Again, ask the question would Liverpool have won the league without him? The talent has always been there, from his early days at Manchester City but a move to Chelsea was ill-advised; he rarely looked like being first choice there despite scoring plenty when given his chance. Regular football is what he required and having been handed it by Brendan Rodgers he hasn’t disappointed. He’s played more than simply a support role to Suarez and has shown his versatility by being used in a tweaked role when required. He has much to thank Rodgers for – the manager may well deserve his own award, but that’s for another day.


Team of the season:

Goalkeeper: David de Gea (Man United)

Defence: Pablo Zabaleta (Man City), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Leighton Baines (Everton)

Midfield: Raheem Sterling (Liverpool), Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal), Yaya Toure (Man City), Eden Hazard (Chelsea)

Strikers: Luis Suarez (Liverpool), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool)

There are only two Premier League goalkeepers I'm interested in: David de Gea and Hugo Lloris. Both are far better than the teams in front of them, and both are far better than the morass of solid citizens minding nets elsewhere in the division. De Gea just edges it for this season. I'm struggling with the back four to be honest, so I'll go for one defensive full-back in the ever-reliable Pablo Zabaleta and a more attacking one in Leighton Baines. There are a dozen contenders to line up between them, but none who particularly excite. I'd probably pick two different ones tomorrow, two more the day after, and two Michael Dawsons the next. Further forward, Yaya Toure has been the second best player in England this year and is a straightforward pick, as is Eden Hazard. Aaron Ramsey has played only half a season but has been the best player on the park every time I've seen him; nine goals and eight assists is an outstanding return from just 18 Premier League starts. Raheem Sterling has kicked on this year and been a key figure in Liverpool's stunning end-of-season title tilt. Funny/ludicrous to think halfway through this season it was still possible for some to imagine Andros Townsend as the most exciting pacy young Englishman in the game. But Liverpool's two main men have been the strikers, who are both straightforward picks for this team in my eyes. Even if Liverpool fall short of the title, it is the partnership of Suarez and Sturridge propelling Liverpool's astonishing improvement that has defined this campaign.

Player of the season: Luis Suarez

It can be no other. Simply sensational, with several moments of magic to take the breath away and make the hair stand on end. While there has been much nonsense about Suarez proving his critics wrong - his critics have never been talking about his football - it would be pure contrariness to claim any other player has matched his impact on this campaign. He, along with Sturridge, has elevated Liverpool above the workmanlike and prosaic Everton, Tottenham and Manchester United and may yet lead them to a first league title since 1990.

Young player of the season: Daniel Sturridge

If we were to give this award to an actual young player, it would be Luke Shaw or Raheem Sterling. But while 23-year-olds at the season's outset remain eligibile for some reason, it would be remiss not to reward Sturridge for a season of sustained excellence. It may be disingenuous to call him a young player given he is now nearer 25 than 23 and has already played for three of English football's big beasts, but this could perhaps be seen as a breakthrough year. His quick feet and pace across the turf have been matched with a quickness of thought and coolness alongside Suarez that has seen the 'young' striker develop into a genuinely exciting English footballer. Hurrah for that.