Garth Crooks’ Premier League Team of 2021 infuriates fans as he even snubs Mo Salah

Garth Crooks’ Premier League team of the year has left football fans in disbelief – particularly because he omitted Liverpool star Mohamed Salah.

Crooks, 63, has grown a reputation for his selections and formation choices in his weekly BBC column.

And the former Tottenham forward made no exception to his random ways when it came to picking his best Prem XI for 2021.

Right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold featured in a back three with Ruben Dias and Antonio Rudiger in front of Ederson.

Bernardo Silva was out of position at left-wing back in a midfield four also featuring Reece James, Declan Rice and Ilkay Gundogan.

But it was the front three which was most controversial.

Garth Crooks
Garth Crooks has sent football fans crazy with his Premier League team of 2021

Crooks opted for Bukayo Saka and Phil Foden either side of Michail Antonio, even though Salah has scored six more goals than any other player in the league this calendar year.

His tally of 24 finishes is just the tip of the iceberg of the Egyptian King’s achievements in 2021.

They include being voted as the winner of Reach Sport’s Premier League Fans’ Footballer of the Year for the second year running.

What changes would you make? Let us know in the comments section.

Liverpool's Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah looks on during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Southampton at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on November 27, 2021
Mohamed Salah didn’t get a place despite his repeated heroics for Liverpool

Crooks faced heavy criticism for his decisions, with one person claiming: “No Salah immediately renders this irrelevant. Ridiculous. Unbelievable disrespect.”

Another added: “Weird formation, no Salah, two right-backs… Garth still doesn’t have a clue.”

While a third wrote: “Saka over Salah that is levels even for Garth.”

Bukayo Saka of Arsenal celebrates after scoring their team's first goal during the Premier League match between Norwich City and Arsenal at Carrow Road on December 26, 2021
Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka was instead given the right-wing spot

Crooks also snubbed Salah for his TOTY in 2020, opting for his team-mate Sadio Mane, Son Heung-min and Dominic Calvert-Lewin instead.

And even when the winger netted his 100th Premier League goal in September, Crooks still criticised his “poor” performance.

Explaining his attacking selection, the pundit said: “Saka has been consistently outstanding throughout the year and has easily been the Gunners’ best player.

“Calm and seldom ruffled, Foden looks very comfortable in the City line-up.

“Antonio may have gone off the boil recently, but it’s hardly surprising the amount of energy he puts into a game.”

No mention was made of arguably the world’s most in-form footballer.

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