Independent.ie Premier League team of 2016 - Find out who makes our starting XI
The Premier League year is coming to a close and we have selected our dream team for 2016, with the absence of star names from the reigning Premier League champions Leicester highlighting the scale of their demise in the first half of this season.
Deploying a hugely attacking 3-4-3 formation, this team may well be open to counter attacks if it was sent into battle, but it would be great to watch the Independent.ie dream team of 2016 take centre-stage.
DAVID DE GEA (Manchester United)
United’s No.1 is firmly established as the best in the Premier League and while he has made some small errors since Jose Mourinho took over as United manager last summer, De Gea’s ability to pull off game changing saves makes his a natural pick for any Premier League best XI.
TOBY ALDERWEIRELD (Tottenham)
The influence of this powerhouse defender has been highlighted during his time out in the treatment room, with Alderweireld a model of consistency at the back for Tottenham. His value on the transfer market would be colossal is Spurs were tempted to sell him.
VIRGIL VAN DIJK (Southampton)
This Dutchman is the most wanted central defender in English football right now, with his powerhouse displays inspiring talk of interest from both Manchester clubs, Chelsea and Liverpool. Southampton are determined not to sell him in the January transfer window, but expect a big money move for Van Dijk next summer.
DANNY ROSE (Tottenham)
A dynamic full-back who is a real threat breaking forward, Rose has emerged as a key member of a Tottenham defence that has been among the most solid in the Premier League over the course of 2016.
N’GOLO KANTE (Leicester/Chelsea)
A driving force in the Leicester midfield that shocked the world by winning the Premier League title, he has become a one-man wall in the heat of battle for Chelsea in the second half of the year. Small in stature, but strong in spirit, this French warrior could be on course for a second title Premier League title in 2017.
ADAM LALLANA (Liverpool)
Plenty of critics questioned Lallana’s ability to make his mark in the Liverpool midfield, but the England star has been a symbol of the high energy pressing game Jurgen Klopp has proved since his arrival as Reds boss. Lallana is now one of the Premier League’s elite performers.
KEVIN DE BRUYNE (Man City)
Sergio Aguero has been the star man of the City side for many a year, but this brilliant Belgian may have usurped him over the course of 2016. A match winner who has already contributed nine assists and a couple of vital goals to the City cause, they lack invention in his absence.
PHILIPPE COUTINHO (Liverpool)
Barcelona are reported to be eyeing up a move for this Brazilian playmaker and with good reason as Coutinho has been sensational over the course of the last 12 months. Goals, assists and brilliance have flowed with sumptuous consistency for Coutinho.
JERMAIN DEFOE (Sunderland)
While most eye focus their attention on the top of the Premier League, Defoe’s 19 Premier League goals in 2016 have kept Sunderland afloat in the division and he will need to continue to produce miracles at the age of 34 to keep them up once again in the New Year.
HARRY KANE (Tottenham)
With 21 goals in 2016, Kane is the most prolific scorer in the Premier League over the last 12 months. Those who questioned whether his emergence in the Tottenham team could be sustained have had their answer from a player who recently signed a new contract to douse speculation over a big money move to Manchester United.
DIEGO COSTA (Chelsea)
Back to his brilliant best in the first half of this season, the Spain striker who was clearly reluctant to perform at his best for Jose Mourinho in the second half of 2015 is driving his side towards title glory all over again. Chelsea’s Premier League push would take a huge hit if Costa picked up a long-term injury.