Friday, 26 April 2019

Paul Pogba 'Should Not Be Close' To PFA Team Of The Year- BBC Pundits

 Six Manchester City players and four from Liverpool make the PFA Team of the Year - but it is the inclusion of the remaining player that has been the most notable selection.

Despite an inconsistent season, Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba finds himself in the 11, the only player in the side not from the Premier League's top two clubs.

The team was voted for by his fellow professionals, but should Pogba be in the team? And if not, who should be in it instead?

Former England strikers Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer, ex-Premier League forward Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and football writer Melissa Reddy discuss the options.

Pogba 'does not deserve' to be in

France World Cup winner Pogba's 13 goals and nine assists so far this season put him in the top 10 for both categories - but none of the four pundits included him in their teams.

Pogba is a beautiful footballer, there is no question about that and has lots of qualities. In certain performances this season for Manchester United he has been exceptional. I don't think he deserves to be in the team of the year because his form has been erratic, certainly in the Mourinho part of the season. He has not been consistent enough.

I am really surprised other players think he has been so consistent that a lot of them have decided to put him in their team. You should respect him for what he has done in the game but he has not been as consistent as he should be.

Pogba's individual ability is magnificent but I don't think he should be even close to this team.

He is supremely talented but nowhere near consistent enough. He is not reliable enough and not the reference point for his team. When you are that gifted, you should be and everyone should be looking at him as the leader. Perhaps the name helps.

Who should have been in instead?

Chelsea are challenging for a top-four place but may not have been there without the contributions of Eden Hazard, who has scored 16 goals and provided 13 assists. All four pundits selected Hazard in their teams.

Midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum has been instrumental in Liverpool's quest for a first league title in 29 years, while Declan Rice's performances for West Ham have earned him a call-up to the England national team.

When you judge players and how good they are, the element of joy they bring to the game is very important. Hazard is probably the closest to Lionel Messi in style - low to the ground, strong, with an electric burst of pace - and I love watching him play.

Wijnaldum is Mr Consistent. I don't think Liverpool would be where they are without his performances. He offers solidity and is a leader in that midfield. Not many people mention him compared to the others, but he has been a regular 8/10 each week.

This boy Rice has caught my eye. I saw him play and followed him, he left Chelsea to join West Ham and they have nurtured him. He is 20 but plays so maturely and in an important position where you have to be unselfish. What I have noticed is he does it simply, getting the ball and playing it. He has a pass accuracy of around 80%. He has been very consistent and against Manchester United at Old Trafford, he played a magnificent game and was above everyone else.

Chelsea would not be anywhere near the conversation for a Champions League place without Hazard. When you speak to players who have played against him, they say he is unplayable. He is so quick in his mind so is three steps ahead of you. He is so strong so it is difficult to get the ball off him. You have to have multiple players defending against him and a gameplan to stop service to him.

The goalkeeping debate

The pundits were split in the goalkeeper category, with Manchester City's Ederson and Liverpool's Alisson the two clear options.

It is easy to make a great case for both Ederson and Alisson, there is not a lot in it. They are vying for the top spot for Brazil too. Alisson has been helped by a stern Liverpool defence and both can play football but Ederson gets the nod because he could probably play in midfield for Manchester City and has been consistent - he has made fewer errors than Alisson.

For the goalkeeping position, my mind was 50/50 up until last weekend when Ederson made four one-on-one saves in their 1-0 win over Tottenham and it tipped it in his favour. Both he and Alisson have made a huge difference and added something else to their teams.

Alisson has made such a big difference to Liverpool compared to last year. I appreciate how he has come in and how he has changed the backline and the confidence he has given to the Liverpool fans and the defence. He has made the big saves in the big moments. They have only conceded 20 goals so far this season. He is not as good with the ball at this feet as Ederson, but I like a goalkeeper to be a goalkeeper - make saves and catch balls. Alisson does that.

When he walked in, the players stopped and marvelled at him. In the tunnel, there is a sense of 'that is our goalkeeper' and psychologically that has had an impact. His playing style allows Liverpool to win in a variety of ways, which is something they have not done before. They can rely on a steely foundation. Ederson is exceptional, but I do not think he has had an impact like Alisson.

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