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Koeman and Kane were different class


Top boss: Ronald Koeman gets my Manager of the Year vote for the fantastic work he has done with the Saints

Top boss: Ronald Koeman gets my Manager of the Year vote for the fantastic work he has done with the Saints

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Top boss: Ronald Koeman gets my Manager of the Year vote for the fantastic work he has done with the Saints

With the Premier League over for another season, here are my end of campaign awards, kicking off with my Team of the Season...

David De Gea (Manchester United) - The outstanding keeper in the league. He has saved United so many points along the way. An easy choice to make.

Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea) - This is a man who knows how to defend. He is not the quickest but he gets in position and he has that nasty streak that all good defenders have. Chips in with goals.

Jose Fonte (Southampton) - He has had a really good season after a summer when team-mates - Dejan Lovren especially - had gone elsewhere. He has come to the fore with Southampton, a late developer now 31.

John Terry (Chelsea) - Another solid 38 games. He gets a lot of protection from Nemanja Matic but there is no questioning his importance to Chelsea. His experience helped get them over the line.

Ryan Bertrand (Southampton) - He just beats Cesar Azpilicueta, the Chelsea man is an excellent defender. Bertrand gets in by virtue of his attacking ability, and the fact that he's left-footed.

David Silva (Manchester City) - A hard choice, given how well Alexis Sanchez has done in his first season. I just love the way that Silva plays the game. Not his greatest season, but such quality when he does play well.

Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea) - He has not been out of the world, but when you look at his passing stats they show he has been one of the most influential. There's no one better in the league at what he does.

Nemanja Matic (Chelsea) - For the most part he has done a brilliant job for Chelsea. He tailed off a bit towards the end but, at his best, does a great job of allowing Fabregas to play and protecting the defence.

Eden Hazard (Chelsea) - There is still more to come from this man. He could get up to the mid-twenties in terms of his league goals. Nevertheless, he has been the standout player in the country.

Sergio Aguero (Manchester City) - The top goalscorer with 26 goals despite having extensive injury problems. Again, not his best season but still the most dangerous forward in the league.

Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) - A great achievement to score 21 league goals when his first start in the competition came on November 9. A player with so much determination.

My goal of the season is Andre Schurrle's against Burnley in August. It was a great teamwork goal that showed early on what Chelsea were capable of. I loved the way they opened up Burnley.

My Manager of the season is Ronald Koeman. I know that Jose Mourinho should win this by default, but bear with me.

Clearly, Mourinho is a great manager and he has won the biggest prize of all, the league title, but a couple of things I feel just tip the balance against him. First, we are talking about a club with huge resources to buy players, and one that has been buying players on the £25m-£30m mark over a number of years.

Secondly, one of the biggest disappointments of the season was Chelsea's performance against PSG in the Champions League. I felt they never attacked the tie in the way a club of their ambition should have done.

Either way, I felt that Koeman built so well from such a difficult start and his signings were absolutely brilliant.

My breakthrough player of the season is Harry Kane.

It has to be Kane for forcing his way into the Tottenham team, staying there and scoring so many goals along the way.

Joint winners of my 'biggest disappointment' award are Angel Di Maria and Mario Balotelli. Di Maria got off to a good start but, for £59.7m, the hope was that he would give United much more.

Balotelli just has not fitted into the way that Brendan Rodgers has wanted to play at Liverpool. Rodgers wants hard-working, quick strikers. Balotelli may be quick but there is no way he is hard-working. Perhaps next season he might flourish but I don't think he'll get a second chance.

Belfast Telegraph