It's not quite the Ballon d'Or but...

  • by Staff Writer
  • Friday, 20th May 2022

Two West Ham United players have been named in the Europa League Team of the Year for 2021/22.

It's perhaps no surprise to see West Ham skipper Declan Rice included in UEFA's best XI, which was selected buy UEFA's technical observer panel and also includes representatives from Frankfurt, Rangers and Leipzig

Yet slightly more extraordinary perhaps is the inclusion of 32-year-old central defender Craig 'Ballon d'Or' Dawson, who has enjoyed a fantastic season at the heart of West Ham's defence in that XI.

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The Rochdale-born defender arrived at West Ham from Watford's reserves as the Hornets were languishing in the Championship at the beginning of the 2020/21 season, and had to wait until October before making his debut for the club.

Yet since then Dawson's renaissance has become something of a fairy tale, with the popular defender having played a major role in the club's Premier League and Europa League campaigns.

Should he feature for West Ham this Sunday in the club's final Premier League outing of the campaign against Brighton at the Amex Stadium. it will be Dawson's 50th appearance of the season and 73rd in all since moving to east London.

And having cost the Hammers just £2million when signing from Watford, it is quite conceivable that he could legitimately be considered the best value for money purchase made by West Ham for many years.

In addition to the two Hammers, the Europa League best XI also features four players from winners Eintracht Frankfurt, three from beaten finalists Rangers and two from RB Leipzig, who like West Ham were knocked out of the tournament at the semi final stage by the Glaswegians.

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