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Monday, 15 April, 2002, 09:13 GMT 10:13 UK
PFA's Premiership XI

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Rio Ferdinand and Wayne Bridge are the only England players among a foreign legion in the Premiership team of the year, chosen by the Professional Footballers' Association.

With England captain David Beckam a shock omission from the line-up voted by his peers, Leeds United's Ferdinand and Southampton's Bridge take their place among a multi-national line-up.

Fulham's Steve Finnan is one of three Republic of Ireland interrnationals named in the team.

The team also reflects the strong presence of World Champions France in the Premiership, with Arsenal trio Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry and Robert Pires all voted in.

Ferdinand became the world's most expensive defender when he moved from West Ham to Leeds for 18m in November 2000.

Wayne Bridge is one of just two England players in the PFA Premiership team
Wayne Bridge is one of just two England players in the PFA Premiership team

The central defender is on the brink of returning from a knee injury that has sidelined him since March and is certain to be a key member of Sven-Goran Eriksson's squad.

The inclusion of Southampton left-back Bridge underlines his emergence as an international class defender.

The 21-year-old has won just two full caps, but is a shoe-in for England's World Cup squad for Japan and South Korea.

Bridge has played every available minute of Premiership football since the start of last season.

Newcastle's Republic of Ireland keeper Shay Given gets the nod of his fellow professionals after a string of stunning performance which have helped Newcastle challenge for a Champions' League place.

Fulham's Finnan is a surprise inclusion at right-back, while Liverpool's Finnish defender Sami Hyppia completes the back line.

English players are conspicuous by their absence from the midfield and the strike-force.

Thierry Henry and Robert Pires are part of a strong Premiership French connection
Henry and Pires are part of the Premiership's strong French connection

Pires just missed out on the individual award but his selection ahead of Beckham will come as some consolation as he contemplates missing out on the World Cup with a knee injury.

Manchester United captain Roy Keane and Arsenal skipper Vieira make up the midfield engine-room, while Ryan Giggs selection on the left makes him the sole Welshman in the team.

Van Nistelrooy's phenomenal goalscoring feats for Manchester United earned him the individual player of the year accolade, and natural selection for the PFA team of the year.

But there is no place in the team for leading Premiership goalscorer, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.

The Dutchman's 23 Premiership goals were not enough to earn him the vote of his fellow profesionals ahead of Arsenal's Thierry Henry, who completes the line-up.

PFA Premiership team: Shay Given (Newcastle United), Steve Finnan (Fulham), Rio Ferdinand (Leeds United), Sami Hyypia (Liverpool), Wayne Bridge (Southampton), Robert Pires (Arsenal), Roy Keane (Manchester United), Patrick Vieira (Arsenal), Ryan Giggs (Manchester United), Ruud van Nistelrooy (Manchester United), Thierry Henry (Arsenal).

Is Ruud van Nistelrooy the right choice?



12357 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion
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See also:

15 Apr 02 |  Eng Prem
Players honour Van Nistelrooy
15 Apr 02 |  FA Cup
Ranieri spurs on Chelsea
15 Apr 02 |  World Cup 2002
Keown's England call
Links to more Eng Prem stories are at the foot of the page.


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