Awards in football tend to go to the biggest names at the biggest clubs, the star players with flashy reputations. But what about the players who go under the radar? With a maximum of one player per club, we’ve put together an XI or the underrated Premier League players of the season.
Underrated Premier League players
Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa)
Third behind Ederson and Edouard Mendy for clean sheets in the Premier League this season, Martinez has been one of the signings of the season.
Villa struggled for consistency in goal last season but they have an undoubted number one for many years to come in the 28-year-old. Arsenal may already be regretting selling the Argentine.
Jacob Murphy (Newcastle United)
Newcastle’s upturn in form unsurprisingly coincided with the return to fitness of key attackers Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin but another under-the-radar tactical tweak helped too.
Steve Bruce’s decision to switch Murphy to a wing-back role initially raised some eyebrows but it has proven a success, with his pace and quality delivery adding a fresh dimension to the side.
Ben Godfrey (Everton)
A £20 million purchase from Norwich, Godfrey has looked to be worth every penny this season despite being one of the most underrated Premier League players of the season.
The 23-year-old’s versatility means he has filled a range of positions for Everton but his future is surely in the heart of the back line. Godfrey is in the top five for blocks in the league, with his willingness to put his body on the line impressing Carlo Ancelotti, who has also noted the defender’s speed and intelligence.
James Tarkowski (Burnley)
Strangely overlooked by England in recent years, Tarkowski could be moving on from Burnley this summer, due to his desire to play European football, having signalled his intention not to renew a contract that expires in 2022.
There will be no shortage of suitors for a physically dominant centre-back who has made four goal-line clearances this season and also ranks in the league’s top five for blocks, along with his similarly underrated defensive partner Ben Mee.
Stuart Dallas (Leeds United)
Leeds have been a fans’ favourite among neutrals this season with Dallas among the players to have seemingly stepped up to the Premier League with ease.
Capable of playing in a range of positions, the Northern Ireland international has contributed eight goals this season, including a famous double in Leeds’ April win at Manchester City. With many of the plaudits going to his teammates like Patrick Bamford and Kalvin Phillips, Dallas is unquestionably one of the most underrated Premier League players this season.
Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City)
Leicester have a few candidates for this team, such as James Justin but Ndidi stands out.
The Nigerian is the best defensive midfielder in the league, more than filling the void left in the side by former Foxes star N’Golo Kante, but he does not get the widespread recognition his consistently excellent performances deserve.
Ndidi was typically brilliant in the Wembley win against Chelsea to seal Leicester’s first FA Cup.
Rodri (Manchester City)
It is perhaps hard to argue any of the Manchester City players are truly underrated but Rodri often goes under the radar despite his undoubted importance to the Premier League champions.
A difficult first season in Manchester has been followed by a superb second as Pep Guardiola’s increasing trust in the Spaniard has liberated Ilkay Gundogan to play higher up the pitch. Rodri has played more passes than anyone in the league this year, completing 91.3 per cent.
Yves Bissouma (Brighton)
Destined for bigger things than Brighton, Bissouma is being linked with clubs including Arsenal and Liverpool despite a reported £40 million price tag.
The Seagulls are right to be demanding top dollar for a diminutive dynamo of a midfielder who has recorded almost 100 tackles this season.
Pedro Neto (Wolves)
It has been a difficult year for Wolves but Neto has impressed for Nuno Espirito Santo’s side despite having to shoulder more responsibility in the absence of Diogo Jota and Raul Jimenez.
The 21-year-old managed five goals and six assists from 30 Premier League starts to prompt suggestions from Jamie Carragher he should be targeted by Liverpool to join Jota at Anfield, at which point he would surely receive the acclaim that one of the league’s underrated players deserves.
Matheus Pereira (West Brom)
Reaching double figures for goals in a relegated side is no mean feat, with Pereira surely having performed too well this season for West Brom to be able to keep him in the Championship.
Pereira’s dazzling display in the Baggies’ shock win at Chelsea was one of the most memorable individual performances of the season. Pereira is certainly one of the relegated players who could make a swift return.
Michail Antonio (West Ham)
Leading the line in our underrated Premier League players team of the season is Antonio, whose energetic and powerful presence in West Ham’s attack has helped them to have their best campaign in years.
Injuries have restricted Antonio’s involvement at times this season but the 31-year-old has become one of the league’s most reliable – and likeable – goalscorers.
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