Paul Williams ‘Diary of an FPL Manager’ – FPL English XV


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Here’s FFGeek contributor Paul Williams with his bi-weekly ‘Diary of an FPL Manager’ series. This week, Paul has created a hypothetical FPL squad made up of solely English players. Paul is one of the Top 10 FPL Managers I follow and finished with an overall rank of 412 last season, 1,382 in 16/17 and 7,164 in 15/16.

Paul Williams ‘Diary of an FPL Manager’ – FPL English XV

You can read more from Paul in his ‘Diary of an FPL Manager’ series on his Facebook blog using this link.



INTRODUCTION:

In order to fill yet another seemingly endless international break, for a bit of fun, I have spent some time creating an FPL squad consisting of players only from England. Without a doubt, there are FPL managers out there who do place certain criteria on their teams out of choice. For example, I have come up against a Spanish manager in the past whose team was made up of only Spanish players. Also, a couple of years back an Everton fan called Ben Crabtree won the entire thing despite not selecting one player all season from Everton’s Merseyside rivals, Liverpool!

So, the following imaginary squad manages to stick to FPL’s rules of having no more than three players from one club, as well as falling under a budget of one hundred million. Of course, I have also added the extra requirement that every player must be English and able to represent England (they have not gone on to represent a different country).

GOALKEEPERS:

In goal, I have opted for England’s current number one, Jordan Pickford. He’s backed up by Watford’s ex-England international, Ben Foster. It wasn’t a given that I’d necessarily choose Pickford but when you look into it, it really is slim pickings. Doing this has made me realise that there isn’t that much competition amongst English goalkeepers at the moment and Pickford could accumulate a lot of caps unless someone breaks through to challenge him.

As money wasn’t too much of an issue when choosing the squad, I’ve gone for a playing back-up in Foster, as opposed to a cheaper non-playing alternative, such as Ben Hamer.

DEFENDERS:

Sticking with England defenders still gives you a strong back-line. The three first choice defenders are: Walker, Trippier and Alexander-Arnold. All three carry an attacking threat and they also provide access into Man City’s and Liverpool’s defence – which has proved particularly important this season.

This season, in FPL, we are also fortunate to have a few sub-£4.5m defenders to choose from and arguably the two best options – Wan-Bissaka and Ryan Bennett – are both English. They are perfect to offer support when needed from the bench.

Players perhaps unfortunate to miss out, include: Stones (for a possible Man City double-up) and Luke Shaw – however, I am a current owner of Shaw and trust me it has not been fun, I’ve suffered for it.



MIDFIELDERS:

The midfield is unsurprisingly headed by Raheem Sterling. There is no way that he could be left out as he offers the squad a solid captaincy option. Maybe it’s time Sterling was cut a bit of slack. Although it feels as if he has been around for ages, Sterling is still only twenty-three years of age and despite being on the path to developing into a genuine world class player, he continues to get a lot of stick directed his way.

After Sterling, I have included another young player in Dele Alli. His season has yet to take off, but at twenty-two, he’s already an established Premier League performer – he definitely had to make the squad.

My next pick is someone who I have previously owned for a long period of time this season, James Maddison. He is another player who divides opinion; before his injury, many owners had already made the decision to remove him from their FPL squads. However, I’ve grown into a bit of a fanboy and after watching his performances closely, I would argue that the main contributing factor towards his lack of attacking returns so far has been his Leicester teammates’ poor finishing. An immensely creative player who dominates set pieces, what’s not to like?

For my next pick, I have gone really left field and indulged myself with a differential choice – Junior Stanislas. In my opinion, he is one of the most underrated players in the Premier League. As a result, he is also one of my favourite players. If you have ever read what his Bournemouth peers have to say about him, then you will know that he is largely considered to be their most talented player. Unfortunately, he just can’t seem to stay fit. If he could, he would be FPL gold, trust me!

To add a bit of interest, glamour and sexiness to the squad, my final midfield selection is James Milner! I couldn’t leave him out.

FORWARDS:

Leading the attack is one of our own, Harry Kane. Although he’s not setting the world alight right now, he’s still one of England’s few world class players and I am certain that he will hit the goal trail again soon. Plus, he is another captaincy option for the squad.

Next up is Callum Wilson who was really deserving of his England call up for this current international break. To bounce back from the horror injuries that he’s had, he deserves the accolades that are now coming his way. He seems like a decent guy; he has been a popular player to own this season due to his consistent returns and affordable price in FPL.

The last place in the squad goes to Danny Ings. He does have one England cap, but the main reason behind his inclusion is his budget price tag. Nevertheless, Ings is a player that I like – he’s just unfortunate to find himself playing in an impotent Southampton team.

SUMMARY:

So, there it is – all in all, not a bad set of players. I enjoyed looking into it and putting the group together. However, like every fantasy football nut, I can’t wait for the international break to be over so that I can start tinkering with my own team again.

You can read more from Paul in his ‘Diary of an FPL Manager’ series on his Facebook blog using this link.

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