English Team of the Week

Mike Hewitt

At the heart of every good football blog is a subjective team of the week. Frankly, we wouldn’t be doing our jobs if we weren’t looking at the standout English performers week in week out. So that’s exactly what we’re going to do.

Alright so lets start by laying down some ground rules. Rule number one: To be part of the English team of the week you must be English. Rule number two: To be part of the English team of the week you.must.be.English.

You get the point. League doesn’t matter (although we make no apology for the fact that to get into the team of the week from League 2 you would have to do something pretty special!), neither does team, reputation or off-field personality. This is all about performance.

Week Commencing 11/11/13 – 4-3-3 formation

Goalkeeper: John Ruddy (Norwich City)

It’s well documented that there isn’t exactly a plethora of options when it comes to English goalkeepers at the moment. With Joe Hart again sitting out the Manchester City game at the weekend you’re down to 3 realistic contenders; Ruddy, Forster and Butland. I’m going to stick with Ruddy this week though who showed strength of character and great ability to bounce back from the 7-0 humiliation in Manchester last weekend to turn in a commanding performance in the Norwich goal, forming the foundation for a much needed 3-1  win at home to West Ham United in the late kick off.

Right Back: Chris Smalling (Manchester United)

Part of a back four that kept the league leaders at bay, Smalling played such an influential role in keeping the mesmeric Mesut Ozil quiet that the German was eventually moved to the opposite flank by Arsene Wenger in an attempt to get him into the game.

Centre Back: Phil Jones (Manchester United)

It was a toss up this week whether to include Jones in central midfield or central defence such was his influence in both positions against Arsenal this weekend. For me though Jones is one of the most natural centre backs in the Premier League so I'm going to keep a square peg in a square whole - it's only a matter of time before he cements himself there for club and country.

Centre Back: Ryan Bennett (Norwich City)

One to watch. Bennett was a £3m January signing for Norwich from Peterborough back in 2012. At 23 years old he has all the makings of a top quality centre half – strong, quick, good in the air and great with the ball at his feet. He has yet to be given the chance to fully establish himself within the Norwich backline but was brought in this week at the expense of Sebastian Bassong and played a key role in propelling his team to victory.

Left Back: Luke Shaw (Southampton)

With Chelsea conceding two at home (Cole), Everton failing to beat struggling Crystal Palace (Baines) and Arsenal losing away to Man Utd (Gibbs), this one feels like a bit of a no brainer to me. Shaw is a fantastic young talent playing in a high flying team and making it all look easy. Another assured performance in a compelling 4-1 demolition of Hull and Shaw rightfully occupies the left back slot.

Central Midfield: Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)

What can you say about Gerrard that hasn’t been said? He continues to be a lynchpin in a Liverpool side making its best start to a Premier League campaign for a number of years. Two more quality assists in the 4-0 drubbing of Fulham made Stevie G the second name on the team sheet.

Central Midfield: Adam Lallana (Southampton) **STAR MAN**

The first name on the team sheet and this weeks captain. It’s been a great week for Lallana who celebrated his call up to the full England squad with a standout performance for Southampton, culminating in a tremendous individual goal which underlined his credentials as an up and coming star.

Central Midfield: Will Hughes (Derby)

Much has been written about Will Hughes. At 18 he is arguably Derby’s most influential player. He generally sets the tempo for them and Saturday was no different, turning in another charismatic performance and capping it with a goal in their 3-0 victory over Sheffield Wednesday.

Right Forward: Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)

Jamie Carragher this week described Wayne Rooney as almost "single-handedly" dragging Manchester United up the Premier League table. Showing characteristic strength, endurance and guile Rooney produced a man of the match display to haul United to within five points of table topping Arsenal.

Centre Forward: Rickie Lambert (Southampton)

32 penalties – 32 goals. Frankly I think Rickie Lambert should be given a spot in this team for that stat alone but if you’re looking for any other reasons this week then an England call up and another assist in the game versus Hull will surely do it?

Left Forward: Danny Ings (Burnley)

At 21 years old, Danny Ings’ ten goals for Burnley this season have propelled them to the top of the Championship table. Another late equaliser this weekend made sure that his side maintained a two point gap over nearest rivals Leicester. If Ings can keep up his early season form then don’t be surprised if you’re seeing his name linked with Premiership clubs come January.

What do you think of our team of the week? Have your say in the comments section below.

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