With the voting process underway, we thought it time to shed some light on a couple of players who may not be the first choices for your Ultimate XIs, but we believe should be.
Sure, they may not be massive, headline stealing superstars, but they each play a pivotal role for their sides.
First up, polarising player Jorginho.
He will gain massive plaudits from commentators and pundits alike, however, when discussing him with mates you will often feel hate fill the room.
Jorginho even splits opinion within the RealSport team, with some seeing him as a fraud carried by the likes of Nicolo Barella and N'Golo Kante, and the others being
wrong entitled to their opinion!
Despite what everyone thinks of him, one thing is clear - he was an integral part of a Chelsea side that won the Champions League and the Italy team that won EURO 2020, and that can't be overlooked.
Battling it out for a spot in Team of the Year is West Ham's homegrown hero Declan Rice.
Again, the experts love him, but unlike Jorginho, a lot of football fans do too!
Maybe we've just been hearing too much of Editor Michael Wicherek's pro Hammers agenda because we truly regard him as one of the best midfielders in the world.
Both men have received a spot on the Team of the Year Shortlist, yet, given there are only three spots available, we think only one could make the final XI.
When we take a look at each of these players on the field, their styles couldn't be more opposed.
Jorginho seems very static, playing short, tempo-setting passes without doing much to get the crowd off their seats.
When he does find a time to shine it is when taking a penalty, but even then, his little hop, skip and jump routine can leave a sour taste in the mouth.
Rice is combative in midfield, getting involved in breaking up play and then charging up the field with the ball at his feet.
It's easy to see why West Ham and England fans alike find it so easy to cheer him on and sing his praises.
Cold, Hard Stats
Personal opinions of Jorginho and Rice aside, we need to look at them as footballers and what they contribute to their sides.
As we mentioned, we often think of Rice getting stuck in and Jorginho setting the tempo, however, that would do a disservice to the defensive support the Chelsea man gives.
Both had a similar level of minutes played - as both are mainstays in their respective sides - but Jorginho made 127 tackles and 94 interceptions for Chelsea and Italy, compared to Rice making 104 tackles and 78 interceptions for West Ham and England.
In fact, the 25 interceptions Jorginho made at EURO 2020 are the most on record by any player at a single edition of the tournament.
With Jorginho's defensive numbers surprisingly higher than many would expect, it's Rice's time to surpass expectations.
He isn't really viewed as a playmaker in the same way the Italian is, yet he has an 89.8% passing accuracy, which almost matches Jorginho's 89.9%.
It must be said that Jorginho played over 1000 more passes than Rice, but when either player offloads the ball they almost always find their man.
Rice doesn't just get the ball up the field through passing it, as he progressed 2,148 metres with his ball carries in the Premier League in 2021, which was the most of any midfielder.
All 10 of Jorginho’s Premier League goals in 2021 were scored from the penalty spot, something that is often seen as a negative against him.
With only two assists last year, it is often seen that he doesn't provide enough goal contributions for his teams.
But if we view the penalties in a more positive light, that is a cracking contribution from a midfielder.
Not just the number of goals, but knowing you have a super reliable spot-kick taker on the field gives you big confidence when he steps up to the plate.
Penalties can prove vital turning points in games, and in six out of the eight games where Jorginho has scored from the spot (twice on a couple of occasions), his goals alone have ensured Chelsea gets points from the game.
Conversely, of Rice's eight goal involvements, only twice have they resulted in points going to the team that otherwise might not have.
Conclusions to be drawn
We're not trying to sway your Ultimate XI vote for Team of the Year, just illuminate some of the hidden numbers that could make you think twice about your team choices.
Both of these players have had incredible years for club and country, with Jorginho having the medals to prove it.
Maybe that's what it comes down to in the end, he has helped his sides go that extra step and make it all the way.
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