It is getting towards that stage of the year where – with copy in short supply – media outlets will ask their pundits to pick their teams of the season/year (so far).
I saw a package on Sky Sports News with ex-Fulham and West Ham defender Tony Gale (although I get the impression that’s much more of a former West Ham player than a former Fulham player if you know what I mean). He was picking his defenders of the year. The list was as follows:
Martin Laursen (Aston Villa)
Glen Johnson (Portsmouth)
Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United)
Jamie Carragher (Liverpool)
Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United)
Gael Clichy (Arsenal)
Spot anybody missing there? No? What about Brede Hangeland? At least if they don’t mention him they can’t talk about how he’s about to leave the club I guess. How Gael Clichy is in there is anyone’s guess. He is very good going forward but his defending has been awful this season. If I had to vote for one of that list, I’d go for Martin Laursen. Commanding, outstanding in the air, unbeatable. But I’d bet you any money that he won’t win it.
Brede does get a mention in the excellent Henry Winter’s Six of the Best feature though (as number six):
Hangeland was also on show and the assertive Fulham centre-half confirmed Roy Hodgson’s eye for inspired recruitment.
The Norway captain even makes the Goal Team of the Season So Far:
What a buy the American-born Norweigan captain is proving to be for Roy Hodgson and the Cottagers. Hodgson would have known about the tall defender from their brief stint together at Viking, and the decision to bring him to west London has seen the 27-year old’s stock rise to the stratosphere. His understanding playing alongside Aaron Hughes was one of the key factors to Fulham’s Premier League survival last season, and this term Hangeland began an impressive campaign by toe-poking a solitary winning goal at home against Arsenal, while also keeping a clean sheet. Fulham’s defensive record while Hangeland plays in front of Schwarzer is enough to have any manager purring, and it is no wonder there are endless press stories linking him with a January exit.
That story is rather marred by the selection of goalkeeprs, though. I think Ross Turnball’s a fine prospect but has he been better than the likes of Reina, Friedel or even Schwarzer? And don’t even get me started on Scott Carson being in the second XI. I might do one of these myself sometime soon but right now I’m having trouble picking my midfield. Have a go in the comments if you want.