Organizing a squad is one of the hardest things that Premier League clubs must do. Some teams go with younger, unestablished players while others opt for the experienced big names who have done it all. The perfect squad has a mix of both.
Take Liverpool for example, they’ve signed big names like Thiago Alcantara and also gave Diogo Jota a chance to establish himself as a star. The perfect squad must have players who are determined to reach the top combined with those who have already reached it and are motivated to do so again.
Squad depth is also key. The team must have at least two players natural in each position and at least two more that can cover there if injury strikes. High potential youngsters must be ready if an opportunity strikes but shouldn’t be relied on as a first or second option unless they’re clearly good enough.
Building the Perfect Squad Is Complicated
Building Our Template
Before we build our squad we must first set out a template for us to follow. What age should our players be and what role can they expect to play. The squad will follow Premier League regulations so will be 25 players big and will be looking to win the title. The example players are the ideal Premier League Squad, taking into account player happiness as well as quality. Players will play the same role for this team as they do for their real-life clubs so Patrick Bamford won’t be a role player and James Ward-Prowse cannot be a rotation midfielder.
- 1st option: The player is preferably in his prime, world-class, and doesn’t have to be homegrown. An example player is Alisson Becker.
- 2nd option: Player who used to be top class, Experienced in the league, preferably homegrown, the team’s cup goalkeeper. An example player is Joe Hart
- 3rd Option: A Young prospect, doesn’t need experience, from the academy, and if no opportunities appear the player can play for the youth team. An example player is Caoimhin Kelleher.
A team expecting to win the Premier League needs a world-class goalkeeper and Alisson is exactly that despite recent errors. Joe Hart has won the league in the past and counts as one of the eight homegrown players required in a squad. Liverpool back-up Kelleher also counts as homegrown and has shown in his five appearances this season that he can step in when needed. All three options are capable and will push each other every day in training.
- First choice full-backs: Should be capable of attacking and defending, Rotated out in cups, and top class. Example players would be Andrew Robertson and Joao Cancelo.
- Second Choice full-backs: Helpful if he’s top class at either attacking or defending, not a liability to the team, fairly injury-free, Versatile, and one should be homegrown. Example players would be James Justin and Vladimir Coufal.
- Main centre-backs: Must be World Class, good communicator, leader of men, Plays almost every game, and composed. An example player would be Virgil Van Dijk.
- Two Supporting centre-backs: Should be Top class, mistake-free, one should be homegrown, rotate most matches and offer different strengths. Example players are John Stones and Mason Holgate.
- Reserve centre-back: Needs to be Premier League level and determined. Would ideally play in cups or when injuries hit but have the potential to improve. An example player would be Wesley Fofana.
As Liverpool has learned, depth in defence is vital to avoid a massive drop-off when key players are out. Having eight capable defenders should allow the players to remain fresh. Although James Justin and Virgil Van Dijk have long-term injuries now, these were freak incidents and the players were mostly injury-free before. Having a player like Justin, who can cover all across the back four, would’ve also helped Liverpool deal with the current crisis better. Despite all this depth, we must have a few midfielders in our squad who can fill in here too.
- First choice defensive midfielder: Must be quality on the ball, Physically big, mobile, world-class, and able to play centre-back if needed. An example player would be Fabinho.
- Goal-scoring Midfielder: Needs quick feet, to be mobile, and have a good shot. Should be able to get 10+ goals a season and defensively able. An example player would be Ilkay Gundogan.
- Box to Box Midfielder: Must be World-class and leader of men, most likely be the captain, in his prime, and be able to play in all three midfield roles. An example player would be Jordan Henderson.
- Playmaker: Should be at least top class, get assists and goals, used against low blocks, takes risks, and able to play on the wings. An example player is Jack Grealish.
- Four rotation midfielders: Helpful if he’s Versatile, either experienced or full of potential, can expect to play in the cups and rotated in the league but two must be homegrown. Example players would be James Milner, Ngolo Kante, Kalvin Phillips, and Phil Foden.
Having Ilkay Gundogan‘s goals from midfield has been key in Manchester City‘s charge for the title and something that champions Liverpool have lacked. Jack Grealish‘s tactical flexibility sees him beat Bruno Fernandes to a place in the squad and Phil Foden could easily replace Grealish as the playmaker in future years. Kevin De Bruyne is one of the best midfielders in the world but City can win without him and Gundogan has been better recently. All the rotation players can play multiple positions which help with depth.
- Two first choice wingers: Should be at least Top class, fast, a good finisher, and in their primes. Example players would be Mohamed Salah and Heung-Min Son.
- First choice striker: Must be World Class, able to bring others into play, and in his prime. An example player would be Harry Kane.
- Second Choice Striker: Must be experienced, be a quality finisher, and good at playing from the bench. An example player would be Edinson Cavani.
- Second choice attackers: Must be versatile, young with potential, and one must be able to play upfront. Examples would be Jota and Mason Greenwood.
This level of attacking depth and quality would tear defences apart. Salah has kept his quality up despite Liverpool’s slump and Son and Kane are one of the most lethal partnerships the Premier League has seen. Jota and Greenwood can both add a spark from the bench and Cavani can help mentor the Manchester United wonderkid. The Tottenham Hotspur striker brings both goals and assists and an ariel threat which may see Salah and Mane get more assists from their crosses.
The Perfect Premier League Squad
Goalkeepers: Alisson Becker, Joe Hart, Caoimhin Kelleher
Defenders: Virgil Van Dijk, Andy Robertson, Joao Cancelo, James Justin, Vladimir Coufal, John Stones, Mason Holgate, Wesley Fofana
Midfielders: Fabinho, Ilkay Gundogan, Jordan Henderson, Jack Grealish, James Milner, Ngolo Kante, Kalvin Phillips, Phil Foden
Attackers: Harry Kane, Mohamed Salah, Heung-Min Son, Edinson Cavani, Diogo Jota, Mason Greenwood
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