The PFA Championship Team of the Year was announced today and it included three Newcastle players: Jonjo Shelvey, Dwight Gayle and Jamaal Lascelles.
Being recognised by your peers is said to be the best award one can receive. After all, they are the ones that play against you out on the pitch.
First and foremost, the voting procedure for the Team of the Year is bizarre to say the least.
Voting is cast from January and the votes are counted up by February. That is, barely halfway through the season. That means that when a player votes for their Championship Team of the Year, they have likely only played against that player once this season. Even in the cases that players were suspended or injured for certain games, then they haven’t even played against them at all.
It is also important to remember that it’s not as if players have seen their peers playing at other times across the course of the season. Most games in the Championship kick off at 3pm, meaning that players are usually out on the field themselves whenever another game is on.
So it’s perhaps not as ‘recognised’ an award as people like to make out, or certainly nowhere near the prestige of the Premier League PFA Team of the Year.
The 2016/17 Championship team of the year, as follows:
David Stockdale (Brighton)
Lewis Dunk (Brighton)
Jamaal Lascelles (Newcastle)
Ryan Sessegnon (Fulham)
Tom Cairney (Fulham)
Anthony Knockaert (Brighton)
Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield)
Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle)
Dwight Gayle (Newcastle)
Chris Wood (Leeds United)
While most of these selections are as expected – the likes of Stockdale, Dunk, Cairney, Knockaert, Mooy, Shelvey, Gayle and Wood have been integral to their sides fortunes this season, the same cannot be said for others. Naturally, the ‘others’ have sparked huge debate across social media today.
From a Newcastle perspective, it is perhaps a surprise to see that Matt Ritchie and Ciaran Clark missed out. I also thought Paul Dummett could count himself unlucky too (no doubt I will receive a fair amount of stick for that comment).
This is especially the case for Clark, given that he has been Newcastle’s player of the season this year. While his performances with the side have been nothing short of brilliant, it is perhaps Newcastle’s recent defensive performances without Clark in the team that have showed just how important he is to the team.
Matt Ritchie on the other hand has been one of our better players this season, and while his performances since Christmas have lacked consistency, he is without doubt always going to be one of the first names on the team sheet.
Obviously from a Toon fan’s perspective, the fact that Jamaal Lascelles gets in the side comes as a big shock, given the fact that his performances this season have been hit and miss (to the say the least) – and he has not even been the best centre half at Newcastle United, never mind the rest of the division.
If you compare his performances with the last Newcastle centre-half to make a PFA (Premier League) team of the season, Fabricio Coloccini in 2011/12, then it goes to show that the standard of the Championship really is far lower than the Premier League.
At the end of the day, awards like this aren’t important, they don’t affect anything, and I’m sure that the players named, except for 16-year-old Ryan Sessegnon, will take the award with a pinch of salt.
Lets hope that Shelvey, Lascelles and Gayle can show over the next few weeks just why they made the team of the year.
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