We’ve done the best, and the worst. Now it is time to focus on the player who has quietly done an outstanding job this season. This player may be one who is berated by fans, not talked abut by fans, or did not appear as often as they should have this season. Here are our picks, don’t forget to chime in with your own!
Elijah Newsome - Ayoze Perez
Ten goals and five assists this season across all competitions and Ayoze still gets crapped on every game by fans. Give this man the respect he deserves! Yes, he is not the best CAM, but he certainly is the best one we have, and he’s been good enough to help us secure a top 10 finish. Ayoze, has a lot to work on, but his determination and effort he puts forth every match is often unmatched by opponents and players in the team alike. He has stepped us this season as a leader and deserves at least a little bit of recognition.
Dominic Kearns - Martin Dubravka
I would’ve given this to Jonjo Shelvey, but the Lord Voldemort lookalike got enough attention from British press by March that he was no longer underrated.
That leaves Martin Dubravka as the clear choice for me. He debuted in the 1-0 win over Man United that saved our season. Dubravka was my MOTM in that win, and made critical saves in one-goal wins over Arsenal, Leicester, & Huddersfield. Shows potential to be our best keeper since Shay Given in the 2000s. Please sign the man permanently!
Mirza Usman Baig - Florian Lejeune
At first, I thought that Paul Dummett would be the most underrated player since his work isn’t in any way glorious or flashy. He always puts in a shift and fans have started to recognize his importance to this team. So instead, I have to opt with Florian Lejeune who has quietly proven to be a Premier League level center back and then some. The learning curve had been unnecessarily rough for him given the Kane tackle and needless foul vs Southampton. Despite these hurdles, Lejeune’s talent has been on full display throughout the season. His defensive abilities are what you’d expect from a center back hand-picked by Benitez. In addition though, he’s quietly proven to be calm with the ball at his feet and an exceptional passer of the ball, both of which are complimentary to Rafa Benitez’s style of football.
David Hatch - Mohamed Diame
Diame entered the season as a 30-year-old midfielder who had played most of his career in an attacking position; by the end of the season, he was playing the role of destroyer in the middle of the park, completing tackles and making marauding runs that, along with his size, made him look like Yaya Toure for significant stretches. In the final stretch of the season, with Rafa cementing the 4-4-1-1 formation that provided so much success, Diame outclassed some of the Premier League’s best and most promising midfielders, including N’Golo Kante and Mario Lemina. I had low expectations for Diame at the outset of the year and am happy to have been proven wrong.
Cameron Johnson - Ayoze Perez
I can’t think of another player on the team who contributes so much for the amount of criticism he gets. Ayoze is a talented player and he can score against anyone on any day. His only issue is consistency. Perez has scored plenty of top quality goals over the years, including his lob against Leicester this year. Ayoze has drawn interest from big clubs in past transfer windows, so he deserves more respect from fans.
Brad Mitchell - Florian Lejeune
Ultimately, like most players who got better as the season went on, he’s gotten the acclaim he deserves. I do think he’s gotten the littlest amount among Dummett, Diame, Ayoze, and Jonjo though. Took him a little time to adjust to the English game but he certainly has now. There’s no doubt Lascelles has helped him too, they both have created a rock solid defensive partnership. This feels like the first time in a decade we’ll go into a new season not needing a new starting center back.
That’s it for our picks, let us know what you think below! Did we miss out on anyone? Is there someone on this list that shouldn’t belong? Let us know fam! Comment below!
Who was the most underrated player this season?
This poll is closed
Someone else (comment below)