The OUTCAST XI — 2016/17
The club season is officially over, folk have hit the beaches (some have hit Russia), and they sit with bated breath, awaiting their potential inclusion in The OUTCAST XI 2016/17 edition. Yes, the most confusingly titled football article is here.
Obviously, some players are no-brainers, they can’t be denied a place on the list, but folk won’t be denied if they’ve had a tremendous season and their club has not, all have been given equal opportunity to impress.
So, if you’re sitting comfortably, we’ll begin; from the Premier League to the National League, here’s the five English league OUTCAST XI’s for the 2016/17 season.
These are not teams full of players that have been outcast by their club, this is just a play on the name of the blog itself, let’s just get that cleared up.
SO WHO JUST MADE THE LIST!
GK: Ben Foster (WBA)
DEF: Victor Moses (Chelsea)
DEF: David Luiz (Chelsea)
DEF: Michael Keane (Burnley)
DEF: Nacho Monreal (Arsenal)
MID: N’Golo Kanté (Chelsea)
MID: Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
MID: Christian Eriksen (Spurs)
MID: Son Heung-min (Spurs)
FW: Romelu Lukaku (Everton)
FW: Harry Kane (Spurs)
SUBS: Tom Heaton (GK, Burnley), Kyle Walker (DEF, Spurs), Toby Alderweireld (DEF, Spurs), Gylfi Sigurdsson (MID, Swansea), Victor Wanyama (MID, Spurs), Pedro (MID/FW, Chelsea), Sadio Mané (FW, Liverpool)
MANAGER: Antonio Conte (Chelsea)
In a 4–1–3–2 formation, most of these are a no-brainer, some would be on the periphery anyways, and some are outsiders. Firstly, Kanté, Hazard and Eriksen: Doi. Kane and Lukaku was the dream dynamic duo up front all season for fantasy leagues everywhere, Son was the only two-time player of the month, and deservedly so, leaving the defence as the most debatable line-up here. David Luiz started slow but picked up in a big way, aiding in Chelsea’s stampede to the title. His central defensive partner, Michael Keane was other-worldly for Burnley, and if these performances had come at a bigger club, he’d be a shoe-in. Monreal was the low-key highlight of a comparatively drab Arsenal season, oft overshadowed by news surrounding Sanchez, and Victor Moses took his opportunity to be in the Chelsea first team and ran with it non-stop, literally. Finally, Ben Foster was the reason WBA were so high up in the first half of the season, and the reason they didn’t drop off completely in the second half; simple.
Others that just missed out include WBA’s Craig Dawson and Matt Phillips, both of whom suffered peaks and valleys when it came to form; Wilf Zaha of Palace turned it on, but only in the new year; Jan Vertonghen was yet another Spurs player having a great season, but not as great as his teammates; Michail Antonio turned the volume down for the second half; and after a monumental season, Bournemouth can be proud of Josh King, whose cracking record helped them to a top-ten finish, but Nathan Aké was well on his way before Chelsea called him back. If Diego Costa could keep his form steady and his aggression in check, who knows…? Big shout-out to James Milner for a cracking season of captaincy at Liverpool as well.
Pochettino might have run him close, but when a title separates you, the choice is clear, the choice is Conte. Cool, calm, collected when he needs to be and wild, erratic and hilarious when it’s entertaining to be. Not afraid to make big calls, and just a brilliant cavalier attitude to management of a club that is in desperate need of it.
GK: David Stockdale (Brighton)
DEF: Jamaal Lascelles (Newcastle)
DEF: Pontus Jansson (Leeds)
DEF: Kyle Bartley (Leeds)
MID: Tom Cairney (Fulham)
MID: Matt Ritchie (Newcastle)
MID: Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield)
MID: Anthony Knockaert (Brighton)
FW: Tammy Abraham (Bristol City)
FW: Chris Wood (Leeds)
FW: Dwight Gayle (Newcastle)
SUBS: Danny Ward (GK, Huddersfield), Ryan Sessegnon (DEF, Fulham), Bruno (DEF, Brighton), Lewis Dunk (DEF, Brighton), Danny Williams (MID, Reading), Aiden McGeady (MID, Preston), Elias Kachunga (MID/FW, Huddersfield)
MANAGER: David Wagner (Huddersfield)
Lining up 3–4–2–1 (with Wood leading the line), I’d say Stockdale, Jansson, Cairney, Ritchie, Mooy, Knockaert, Gayle and Wood are the aforementioned no-brainers in this league. Abraham was close run with the Terriers’ Kachunga and the Seagull’s Glenn Murray, but considering his goals kept an entire team in the league, he gets the nod. Bartley and Dunk were battling it out for a place in the defence, but the way Bartley lined up and lead the team earned him a place here. Finally, ol’ Lascelles; leapt into captaincy like a fish into a barrel (of water). Simple.
As I said, Glenn Murray just missed out, and there were plenty of Huddersfield players who missed out, specifically defenders, simply due to their record not being good enough, Hefele, Schindler, Issy Brown and Löwe all running it close. Leeds crop up again, with Pablo Hernandez just missing out; Burton’s Jackson Irvine, Villa’s Kodjia and Brentford’s Jota miss out due to their major appearances popping up few and far between, standing out in individual games rather than over vital stretches. Any other periphery players come from the playoff sides, including Sheffield Wednesday’s Westwood, Kieran Lee and Bannan, and Fulham’s Scott Malone, David Button and Tim Ream. #ream
Wagner could have come so close to not working for Huddersfield. Could. He kept his head, he stuck to his guns, and he played the most tactically interesting football in the Championship this season, testament to the risks he took, calculated, I’m sure.
GK: Neil Etheridge (Walsall)
DEF: Conor McLaughlin (Fleetwood)
DEF: Jack O’Connell (Sheffield United)
DEF: David Wheater (Bolton)
DEF: Kieron Freeman (Sheffield United)
MID: Neal Bishop (Scunthorpe)
MID: Ricky Holmes (Charlton)
MID: Stephen McLaughlin (Southend)
MID: Josh Morris (Scunthorpe)
FW: Simon Cox (Southend)
FW: Billy Sharp (Sheffield United)
SUBS: Jordan Archer (GK, Millwall), James Meredith (DEF, Bradford), Curtis Nelson (DEF, Oxford), Jay O’Shea (MID, Chesterfield/Sheffield United), Billy Bodin (MID, Bristol Rovers), David Ball (MID/FW, Fleetwood), James Vaughan (FW, Bury)
MANAGER: Chris Wilder (Sheffield United)
This is a 4–1–2–1–2 formation, and Billy Sharp being the top scorer in the country gets him on board before anybody else, he was straight fire this season. Wheater’s always solid, Josh Morris’ scoring might have dropped off in the latter half of the season, but his form didn’t, and Simon Cox almost single-handedly fired Southend into the playoffs. Sheffield United were obviously the standouts, with Jack O’Connell and Kieron Freeman standing out in their defence, Fleetwood’s Conor McLaughlin is a general League One standout season in, season out. The midfield is a mix of goal-scoring and goal-saving, with Ricky Holmes being potentially the most natural ball-player in the team, McLaughlin dropping back and flying forward all season, and Bishop leading the team from the centre of the park, clangin’ and bangin’ all over the shop. Neil Etheridge is, much like Stockdale, a commander, evidenced by his recent move to Cardiff, and he was the lone standout ‘keeper of this League One season. Simple.
From the playoffs, only Millwall’s Mark Beevers and Aiden O’Brien made the periphery, with Walsall’s Erhun Oztumer incredibly unlucky to miss out and Oxford’s great season not going unnoticed, with John Lundstram, Chey Dunkley and Chris Maguire all close to the team.
Wilder’s a definite no-brainer for boss; two promotions in two seasons, he just seems to know what to do and when to do it. I met him when he was Northampton boss and I can say that he is a lovely bloke, just so chill, and that goes a long way with an outcast.
GK: Sam Slocombe (Blackpool)
DEF: Christian Burgess (Portsmouth)
DEF: Mathieu Baudry (Doncaster)
DEF: Scott Cuthbert (Luton)
DEF: Sonny Bradley (Plymouth)
MID: Bright Osayi-Samuel (Blackpool)
MID: Graham Carey (Plymouth)
MID: Luke Berry (Cambridge)
FW: Danny Hylton (Luton)
FW: John Akinde (Barnet)
FW: John Marquis (Doncaster)
SUBS: Luke McCormick (GK, Plymouth), Enda Stevens (DEF, Portsmouth), Jazzi Barnum-Bobb (DEF, Newport), James Coppinger (MID, Doncaster), David Wheeler (MID, Exeter), Shay McCartan (FW, Accrington), Matty Godden (FW, Stevenage)
MANAGER: Paul Tisdale (Exeter)
Defence was the name of the game in League Two, and the hardest choice to make was the four men to make up the flat-line at the back in the 4–1–2–3 formation. Christian Burgess’ community spirit made him a sure thing and eventually, with Enda Stevens sensationally lucky to miss out, it left four clear (you guessed it) no-brainers, DUMMY, YEAH. Joining them in the absence of mind section are Carey, and then the three free-scoring strikers; Hylton, Akinde and Marquis. Luke Berry is calm and collected for his age and will go on to be a Cambridge legend, especially with Shaun Derry using him perfectly, and Bright Osayi-Samuel showed immense diversity for such a young player, shifting around the park with the ease of influenza. Once again, the position of goalkeeper was an even fight, but Sam Slocombe has paid his dues, and his collected performances can’t go unnoticed, especially with his reflexes helping Blackpool to promotion.
The periphery players all come from the playoffs bar one, with Colchester’s Sam Walker being the unlucky third choice keeps. But the playoffs conclude the list, with Carlisle’s Danny Grainger and Mark Gillespie, Blackpool’s Tom Aldred (ledge), Exeter’s Ollie Watkins, and though not playoffs, Doncaster were promoted, and surely the young player of the season, Liam Mandeville is unlucky to miss out.
Paul Tisdale just seems to inspire something in players, lifting Exeter from the bottom this season, and it’s not the first time; helluva manager and helluva guy.
GK: Jake Cole (Aldershot)
DEF: Sam Habergham (Lincoln)
DEF: Luke Waterfall (Lincoln)
DEF: Sean Raggett (Lincoln)
MID: Idris Kanu (Aldershot)
MID: Liam Noble (Forest Green)
MID: Matt McClure (Aldershot)
MID: Jordan Maguire-Drew (Dagenham)
MID: Corey Whitely (Dagenham)
FW: Ricky Miller (Dover)
FW: Christian Doidge (Forest Green)
SUBS: Elliot Justham (GK, Dagenham), Scott Doe (DEF, Dagenham), Aswad Thomas (DEF, Dover), Mitch Hancox (DEF/MID, Macclesfield), Blair Turgott (MID, Bromley), Andy Cook (FW, Tranmere), James Alabi (FW, Chester)
MANAGER : Danny Cowley (Lincoln)
It’s 3–4–1–2, and it’s top-six dominated. Dover might have finished outside the playoffs, Ricky Miller, mind, scored 40 goals for them. FORTY. NO-BRAINER. Join him up with Doidge and no-one’s gonna keep a clean sheet, or clean pants, against ’em. A highly creative midfield could easily double any frontline’s tally and a Made-In-Lincoln defensive line near enough assures promotion. This was the team that just made sense to me, no-one came that close to being displaced; I was just convinced this team would walk it, with long-time outcast Jake Cole finally getting his plaudits between the sticks.
The whole management team of Lincoln would be in charge, but The Cowley Brothers take this team by a country mile, and no doubt could take them a country mile and beyond.
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And there you have it!
Agree? Disagree? Tell me all about it!
All you players in the teams can rest easy and enjoy your Summer, and all y’all who didn’t? I hope to see you here next year…
Until then, keep it streets ahead,