Paul Merson picks the 5 most underrated players from the 2021-22 Premier League season

A handful of players made quite the impression in the 2021-22 Premier League season
A handful of players made quite the impression in the 2021-22 Premier League season

The Premier League is widely regarded as the most competitive league in world football and is filled with top-class players. While those playing for the so-called 'Big 6' get their fair share of appreciation, there are a handful of very good footballers who tend to go under the radar.

I could've so easily picked players who feature for the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool, but I don't think too many of them are underrated. I was thinking of someone like Bernardo Silva, but if I recall correctly, Pep Guardiola was referring to him as one of the best players in the world in his position earlier this season, which clearly shows how highly he's rated.

I think the players that I've picked are all coming on the back of fantastic seasons for their respective clubs, and some of them could also be on the move this summer.


#5 Matty Cash - Aston Villa

Manchester City v Aston Villa - Premier League
Manchester City v Aston Villa - Premier League

Matty Cash is a really good right-back and has been a great signing for Aston Villa. He defends well and isn't afraid to venture forward, making him the perfect modern-day full-back. He isn't afraid to have a pop at goal and is a fantastic athlete, as he pretty much plays every game.

If you think about it, he's really unlucky to be in this England generation blessed with unbelievable right-backs like Trent Alexander-Arnold and Reece James. I'm glad he had the opportunity to turn out for the Polish national team, because a player of his caliber deserves to be playing international football.

Cash is a 7/10 every week and in my time doing punditry, I've never really seen him getting ripped to shreds by an attacker regardless of who he comes up against.


#4 Jarrod Bowen - West Ham United

West Ham United v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League
West Ham United v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League

Jarrod Bowen is someone who got recognition on the grandest stage recently as he made his England debut, but I still believe he's underrated. He's an outstanding player and has gone from strength to strength since swapping Hull City for West Ham - I can't believe it took so much time for Gareth Southgate to call him up!

When West Ham have a big game coming up, he's a player - along with Declan Rice - who gets rested and that just shows how much he's grown in stature. Come to think of it, he reminds me of a forward version of James Milner - reliable, honest and works his socks off for the team. He's been linked with a move to Liverpool and at the moment, I think he'd be a great squad player for them. He won't go in there and take someone's spot immediately, but Liverpool play a lot of games and their brand of football is intense, so he'll have plenty of game time under his belt.

He's got a chance of making it to the England squad for the World Cup, but we'll have to wait and see how he performs against Italy. If he plays the way he did against Hungary, he definitely has a chance because it was a lively debut from him. On the other hand, it also depends on how Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho start the 2022-23 season, because I still think they are ahead of Bowen in the pecking order for England.

We've written off Rashford really quickly and I feel sorry for the bloke because this is the first time in his career he's looked desperately devoid of confidence. He's been in a lot of England squads over the years and has 46 caps, which is a fantastic achievement for someone who is 24. The next few months will decide if Bowen is on the plane to Qatar, but regardless of how it turns out, he is an outstanding footballer who has really made a name for himself in the past 12 months or so.


#3 Dan Burn - Newcastle United

Southampton v Newcastle United - Premier League
Southampton v Newcastle United - Premier League

This is a player who has turned it around for Newcastle United since joining the club in January and it could be argued that his arrival coincided with an upturn in fortunes for Eddie Howe and co. They paid a fair bit of money to snap up Dan Burn from Brighton, but he's an absolute giant of a defender and has been as solid as a rock.

He's not very natural and elegant, but he does what it says on the box! Burn is an old-school center-half and his arrival has turned out to be a masterstroke for Newcastle, as he played pretty much every game in the second half of the season to help them comfortably avoid relegation.

I liked him when he was at Brighton, but he's been outstanding at Newcastle. Whoever has played next to him at the heart of the defense has looked good, which is a clear indication that he is the leader of their backline. He's already played a big role for Newcastle under the new ownership and has been a better signing than Bruno Guimaraes, for me.


#2 Leandro Trossard - Brighton & Hove Albion

Brighton & Hove Albion v Manchester United - Premier League
Brighton & Hove Albion v Manchester United - Premier League

Leandro Trossard is such an intelligent footballer and a special, special player on his day. He isn't always consistent, but he's capable of playing in multiple positions across the frontline and moves the ball around well, I just don't feel like he gets the accolades he deserves because he plays for Brighton.

He gets called up regularly for Belgium and that says a lot because Roberto Martinez has a talented pool of players to choose from, especially when it comes to attackers. With the talent Trossard's got, it wouldn't surprise me if he played a role for the national team at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, so teams interested in him should probably look to snap him up this summer before his value soares.

There are a couple of other players I could have picked from Brighton because they are a really good football-playing side, but I just like the way Trossard plays and have always felt that he's a bit underrated. No disrespect to Brighton, but he can go higher and easily turn out for one of the top teams in the Premier League.

He could go play for Manchester United or someone like that, but that won't happen because he's currently playing for Brighton. The fans will have a moan and question why a club of Manchester United's stature should go in for a player like this, but he ticks a lot of boxes, even for teams like Everton and Tottenham Hotspur.


#1 Oleksandr Zinchenko - Manchester City

Everton v Manchester City - Premier League
Everton v Manchester City - Premier League

Oleksandr Zinchenko doesn't play all the time for Manchester City, but he's been a top player for Pep Guardiola and never looks out of place regardless of where he is deployed on the pitch. For Ukraine, he plays as a central midfielder and looks like a proper footballer who can make a difference at any point in the game.

A lot of people don't speak about this, but Zinchenko sort of changed the game for Manchester City after coming on against Aston Villa on the final day of the Premier League season. He had a hand in the first goal and got the crowd going with his work rate and determination, which is exactly what you want to see. Not just in that game, but he doesn't let the fans or the manager down and is a brilliant player to have amongst the squad.

I think a few top teams will look to buy him this summer because he isn't a guaranteed starter for Manchester City. Zinchenko doesn't get the credit he deserves and would be a proper addition to any team in world football, it'll be interesting to see where he lands up.


Underrated manager - David Moyes

Eintracht Frankfurt v West Ham United: Semi Final Leg Two - UEFA Europa League
Eintracht Frankfurt v West Ham United: Semi Final Leg Two - UEFA Europa League

David Moyes went to Manchester United to replace Sir Alex Ferguson, there was no way it was going to turn out well for him. What he's done at West Ham, however, has been phenomenal and he's proven once again that he's a top-class manager.

His work at West Ham has been similar to what he did at Everton - which is basically overhauling an aging squad and putting a team together with the right blend of youth and experience. He improves pretty much every player he takes on, that's the main thing. Declan Rice is a £100 million player now, while Jarrod Bowen is an England international and could cost the big bucks if and when they decide to cash in on him.

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