It is all too often in football that we see headlines awash with credit or criticism for the same players week in week out. At Europe’s Elite we’ve decided to take a slightly different angle. Here’s our list of the top 5 unsung heroes from The Barclays Premier League in 2014/2015, the same motley crew that you wish you had in your fantasy team right from the get-go!
By Jaleh Shoghi (follow @JalehLShoghi on Twitter)
Fraser FORSTER – Southampton (Goalkeeper)
Despite Southampton deciding to cash in on the defensive talents of Dejan Lovren, Luke Shaw and Callum Chambers pre-season for a combined £68m it was no fluke that they ended the campaign having conceded just 33 goals with Forster between the sticks. The 6ft7 man mountain amassed a bundle of clean sheets having made the move from Celtic for an estimated £10 million in the summer of 2014, where he held the Scottish League record for not conceding, a marathon 1,256 minute stint! Success for Forster was halted when he was ruled out for the season in March with a fractured knee cap, however, if his form can emulate that of recent seasons I would imagine he will be in the driving seat for the Three Lions’ number 1 jersey at the 2016 European Championships.
Charlie AUSTIN – QPR (Striker)
Scoring 18 goals in a Premier League season is some feat, but scoring 18 goals for the team that finishes rock bottom requires an immense goal scoring ability. At 25 years old Charlie Austin has exactly that; the hunger for goals and knack of being in the right place at the right time that simply cannot be taught. With QPR playing the upcoming season in The Championship it would seem an injustice to not see Austin given another chance to prove his worth at the top of the game, his £15 million asking price blocking this from happening for the time being.
Gylfi SIGURDSSON – Swansea (Midfielder)
Icelandic football’s poster boy and talented in every department, Gylfi Sigurósson is a true catalyst that still looks to have his best years ahead of him. Sigurósson first set his sights on Swansea City in 2012 when he joined on loan from German side 1899 Hoffenheim. He quickly settled in to the Welsh side’s squad and his fine form earned him rave reviews, player of the month awards and the summer would bring a move in excess of £8 million to Premiership rivals Tottenham. The Icelandic international was to have a successful two seasons at White Hart Lane before a deal that would see Sigurosson move back to the Liberty Stadium. Sigurosson was to have a mixed season, but has always been at the heart of the Swansea team. Somewhat an underdog compared to other Premiership heavyweights such as Juan Mata and Alexis Sanchez, the Swansea midfielder looks to have been the cement in the brickwork which saw the Swans finish 8th in The Premier League table and the 2015/2016 season could turn out to be Tottenham’s loss and Swansea’s gain for the former Reading youngster.
Aaron CRESWELL- West Ham (Defender)
Ipswich Town were gutted to lose their star left back in the summer of 2014 to West Ham United and he quickly showed why the Hammers spent close to £4million on the defender. Creswell picked up numerous awards including the prestigious Players’ Player, showing the level of respect he has earned from his peers during a campaign of solid performances. However the noise surrounding Creswell hasn’t been so loud outside of Upton Park, yet to be awarded a first international cap for England despite statistics showing him in the Premier League’s top five for defenders with assists (4), chances created (33), passes in the final third (502) and crosses (110).
Jose FONTE – Southampton (Defender)
If you want a player who’s been through it all it is Southampton’s Jose Fonte, right at the heart of the Saints’ meteoric rise through the ranks of English football from League One to back to back promotions to the Premier League. Fonte is an absolute main stay under Ronald Koeman having excellently filled the shoes of Dejan Lovren to spearhead his side’s extremely compact and organised back line to an impressive 14 clean sheets over the course of the season. His efforts earned him a stellar man of the match performance at Old Trafford in January as well as a first cap for his home nation Portugal but it will be a career defining choice over the summer for the 31 year old, who must decide to continue his journey or move onto the allure of a bigger club.