Team of the Year inclusions big deal for Saints
The announcement of the PFA Team of the Year on Sunday night saw two notable if somewhat unusual inclusions. Two Southampton players.
After the season they have had, that might not seem too surprising to some, but to Southampton supporters it marked a massive sign as to how far the club have come in the past five years.
That is staggering when you think about it, and the fact that two of them made it in the same year (the first time that has ever happened) is even more testament to the season they and the club have had. They join the illustrious group of Mick Channon, Dave Watson, Kevin Keegan, Peter Shilton, Alan Shearer, Matthew Le Tissier and Wayne Bridge as incumbents of the role.
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And if their inclusion didn't inspire enough pride from the fans, both Lallana and Shaw are products of the academy -- Channon, Shearer, Le Tissier and Bridge also came through the youth ranks.
It makes it extra special that among a team of mostly expensive foreign imports there are two homegrown players still playing for their first clubs. For them both to have been nominated for PFA Player and Young Player of the Year respectively as well adds yet more shine to proceedings. For them to have caught the eye of their peers enough over the course of the season to be put on a pedestal alongside the regular names from the big clubs is truly remarkable and caps a wonderful season.
It takes something special to break the stranglehold of the traditional winners from the Premier League's elite, and in players like Lallana and Shaw, Saints have just that. This recognition should hopefully follow with their inclusion in Roy Hodgson's World Cup squad, something that would end this already memorable season on another high.
With both players' futures constantly under scrutiny in the press, most Saints fans are nervous as to their destiny in the summer. If they do feel the need to progress elsewhere, then much like with Theo Walcott, Gareth Bale and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, the club will move on and the next superstars will get a chance to emerge from the academy of football.