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Premier League TOTS | 40-man shortlist officially released

Questions will no doubt surface after the likes of Ivan Toney, Granit Xhaka, and Bruno Fernandes did not make the shortlist, but Erling Haaland, Bukayo Saka, Kevin De Bruyne, and Nick Pope rightly lead the charge

It’s official; the 40-man shortlist for the 2022-23 Premier League Team of the Season has been released; and there are certainly quite a few questions.

Not surprisingly, the likes of Manchester City goalscoring ace Erling Haaland lead the pack in the forward line along with many notable selections the likes of Bukayo Saka, Harry Kane, Gabriel Martinelli, and Ollie Watkins.

A midfield chock-full of exceptional talent is headlined by the co-creative genius of Martin Ødegaard and Kevin De Bruyne, with Bruno Guimarães, Palhinha, Alexis Mac Allister, and James Maddison among those to join.

At the back, there are few if any surprises of those that have been recognized among the forty best players in England’s top flight, with Brentford’s Ben Mee among some illustrious company.

Finally, Aaron Ramsdale and Nick Pope justify their moves to bigger clubs across fantastic performances throughout the campaign, while former Arsenal keeper Bernd Leno’s inclusion in the shortlist shows a player who still had plenty to give, and just needed new surroundings.

But the shortlist is hardly devoid of criticism; quite the opposite. Though no one can be sure why, Brentford’s leading man Ivan Toney has been left off the shortlist despite sitting on 18 goals and only the aforementioned Haaland and Kane ahead of him in the goal chart, though somehow, Chelsea’s Kai Havertz was given the nod.

Despite the cadre of head-scratching selections, the bulk of the shortlist has been included on merit, and the arduous task of narrowing a list of such unfathomable talent down to just eleven players remains a truly difficult one.

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Andrew Thompson

US-based Football writer. German football guru with a wealth of experience in youth development and analysis. Data aficionado. Happily championing the notion that Americans have a knowledgeable voice in the beautiful game.

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