Danny Higginbotham’s Premier League unsung heroes team of the season

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THE Premier League’s A-list stars have been praised to the rafters in the end-of-season awards and analysis.

But what about those players who’ve struggled gallantly in mid table, or heroically helped their teams avoid the drop?

Danny Higginbotham has decided to honour these men in his unsung team of the season…

Tom Heaton

Reuters

Heaton has been one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League this season

The Burnley goalkeeper has been fantastic this season.

Only six teams have conceded fewer goals at home and that has been key to the Clarets’ success.

Heaton is vocal and a wonderful organiser — a must for any keeper.

Adam Smith

Smith has got forward down the flank for Bournemouth this term

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Smith has got forward down the flank for Bournemouth this term

Bournemouth are very much a front-foot team, as their number of goals (54) shows.

Smith has been key on the right of their defence, providing stability but plenty of assists, too.



Harry Maguire

Maguire holds off Manchester United’s Phil Jones during the EFL Cup semi-final

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Maguire holds off Manchester United’s Phil Jones during the EFL Cup semi-final

Turning into a very good centre-back who I am sure will stay in the Premier League after Hull’s relegation.

I played alongside him at Sheffield United and his potential and maturity were clear from an early age.

He is being talked about in terms of England honours and I think that is a fair shout.

Michael Keane

Michael Keane has impressed for Burnley this season in his first Premier League campaign

Reuters

Keane has impressed for Burnley in his first Premier League campaign

Left Manchester United to get his career on track and it has turned out to be a shrewd move.

He is tremendous in both boxes as he is so calm and assured — and he could well be heading back to Old Trafford in the summer.

Ryan Bertrand

Claude Puel claims Ryan Bertrand could deputise for Van Dijk in the centre

Reuters

Former Chelsea man Bertrand has plenty of England potential

The left-back forced his way into challenging for an England starting spot after an outstanding season at Southampton.

He gets forward really well and is a threat whenever he does.

Harry Arter

harry arter

PA:Press Association

Arter has been one of the stars of Bournemoth’s impressive season

Your typical high-energy, box-to-box midfielder.

Arter is equally happy defending or attacking, which is a rare asset.

He has four assists to his name this season and is more than happy to set the tone of the game.

Oriol Romeu

Barcelona are reportedly chasing former player Oriol Romeu

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Saints boss Claude Puel compared Romeu with N’Golo Kante

The Spaniard has been immense in central midfield for the Saints.

There has been some chopping and changing at centre-back and Romeu has made the job of the new pairing, Jack Stephens and Maya Yoshida, so much easier.

He is brilliant at breaking up play and picking up runners or sitting on a deep-lying centre-forward.

Wilfred Ndidi

Jamie Vardy celebrates with Wilfred Ndidi after his team-mates wonderful opener

Reuters

Jamie Vardy celebrates a goal with Ndidi, who has become a key Leicester player

It was very difficult for Leicester to replace N’Golo Kante — but Ndidi has done a fine job.

He has grown in stature as the season has gone on. He allows the back four to sit deep by getting in between midfield and defence.

This lets the Foxes soak up pressure and then counter at pace.

Gylfi Sigurdsson

Everton are interested in signing Swansea star Gylfi Sigurdsson this summer - can you keep him?

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Sigurdsson is likely to be a target for a host of clubs this summer

The midfielder has been key to Swansea’s revival and survival.

He is a very clever player who finds space in the most congested areas, which has led to him providing 13 assists and nine goals.

If he scores one more he will become the first Swansea player in the Prem to score at least ten goals and provide at least ten assists.

Josh King

Josh King wheels away in celebration after netting the late winner for Bournemouth

Reuters

King has netted a host of crucial goals for Bournemouth this season

Has led the line brilliantly for Bournemouth, particularly in the second half of the season.

He has provided 16 massive goals and been a constant threat, making intelligent runs to get shots away.

He is always looking to stretch games, which gives his midfielders more time to dictate play.

Fernando Llorente

Fernando Llorente wheels away in celebration after his early goal for Swansea

Rex Features

Chelsea and Manchester City have been linked with moves for Llorente

The big striker stepped up just when Swansea needed him most.

He has been a focal point for his side and boss Paul Clement has created a system that buys his team time out wide to get crosses in for the Spaniard.

Fernando Llorente rose highest in the Chelsea box to bring Swansea level in the game

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Llorente heads home against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in February

Swansea also have very good set-piece delivery, which he laps up.

In fact, there are not many better strikers at converting crosses. He has 14 goals and eight in his last 14 games, when it really mattered.

On the bench

Honourable mentions to Gareth McAuley at West Brom — who is maturing like a fine wine and chipped in with a few goals — and also to Luka Milivojevic at Palace.

McAuley has scored eight goals for Tony Pulis’s side this season

Reuters

McAuley has scored eight goals for Tony Pulis’s side this season

Palace’s signing of Serbian midfielder Milivojevic in January was the springboard for their survival. He protected the defence brilliantly.

Milivojevic celebrates scoring in Palace’s 4-0 drubbing of against Hull on May 14

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Milivojevic celebrates scoring in Palace’s 4-0 drubbing of against Hull on May 14



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