Turns out there’s an official UEFA team of the Europa League group stages this year. We were surprised by this bit of news, too, and would normally think it a little bit silly. Which it probably is, to be perfectly honest, even if they’ve gone to the trouble of getting us to care by including Liverpool right back Nathaniel Clyne in it.
It’s the first time UEFA have named a team of the Europa League group stages, and with players from 48 teams to choose from and given Liverpool’s competent at best performances so far in the competition, that even one Red made it to the team of the tournament so far has to be classed a win. Clyne is joined by representatives of nine other clubs, with only Napoli getting two players on the list.
In attack, there’s Jose Callejon of Napoli, Aritz Aduriz of Bilbao, and Raul Bobadilla of Liverpool’s next opponents, Augsburg. The midfield has Tottenham’s Erik Lamela, Rapid Wien’s Steffan Hoffmann, Braga’s Rafa Silva, and Napoli’s Dries Mertens. Fenerbahce’s Gokhan Gonul and Krasnodar’s Andreas Granqvist join Clyne in defence, while Schalke’s Ralf Fahrmann is the goalkeeper.
It’s a mostly veteran side, with Clyne the third-youngest player included and one of only three who are younger than 25 years of age. For those looking for potential and rising stars in Europe’s second cup competition, then, there isn’t much here of interest beyond Tottenham’s Lamela and the youngest player on the list, Braga rising star Silva, who had a goal and three assists in six appearances.
UEFA Tweeted out the full team earlier today. Liverpool’s next Europa League matches are in February with the Round of 32. The first leg will be at Augsburg’s WWK Arena on February 18th, followed by the return leg at Anfield on February 25th.