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    UEFA Team of the Year: Will the English clubs be represented?

    Taking away Wales' euro success, it can be said that 2016 has been a fairly average year for British football across Europe.

    The year that saw all the English ‘big’ clubs fail and allow Leicester City take the Premier League title, highlighting major flaws within England’s Premier Clubs.

    The Champions League flag was very much flown by Manchester City who got no reward for a valiant fight vs Real Madrid in the semi-finals, after rival Manchester United had been demoted to the Europa League, Arsenal got eliminated at the round of 16 (again) as did Chelsea.

    However, the theory that 2016 has been an average year for British football has been quashed with the listing of twelve English Premier League players in UEFA’s team of the year.

    Premier League winners, Riyad Mahrez and N’Golo Kante are the most notable names from England on the list after their major part in the fairy tale that was Leicester City last season. Mahrez has also not started badly in the Champions League with 4 goals in his first 5 games this season. Kante, who was the unsung hero of Leicester’s campaign, has resumed business at Chelsea – his most notable performance was the dominance of Paul Pogba in midfield during the Blues’ 4-0 win over Manchester United.

    Perhaps most surprisingly on the list is Stoke City’s Joe Allan, signed from Liverpool in the summer for £13million has enjoyed a strong start to this campaign in the number 10 role after playing a major part in Wales’ impressive Euro 2016 run to the semi-finals. Along with Allen in the midfielder category is Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey who also played his part in Wales’ campaign.

    France’s Laurent Koscielny, Paul Pogba and Dimitri Payet all feature from the Premier League after France reached the Euro 2016 final – Payet the most notable performer with a contribution of strong performances and  vital goals through-out the  tournament after a fantastic season for West Ham.

    Belgium’s Toby Alderweireld and Kevin De Bruyne also made the list, as did attacking trio Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Alexis Sanchez and Sergio Aguero. This bought the number of Premier League representatives up to twelve which is a very impressive return out of the forty players shortlisted.

    With 2015’s team being dominated by Real and Barca and 2014 only featuring Manchester United’s Angel Di Maria (heavily influenced by a man of the match performance for Real Madrid in the Champions League final) – could this finally be the year of which the English teams are properly represented again in UEFA’s Team of the Year?

    In short, it could be a big struggle to look past the eight champions league winners from Real Madrid alone, on top of that the five representatives possessed by Barcelona including Messi, Suarez and Neymar which highlight La Liga again as the most likely league to boast the most players.

    However, the achievement should not be taken away from these English representatives, especially if it is noted how hard it has been for an English based player to break into the UEFA team of the year over the last couple seasons. This recognition could surely see a start in the turn of fortunes for the British clubs in Europe which has been started in this season’s Champions League and will hopefully continue for a long time.       
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    Item Reviewed: UEFA Team of the Year: Will the English clubs be represented? Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Luke Dunning
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