Since he first arrived at Upton Park off the back of a pretty low key switch from Ipswich Town at the beginning of the season, Aaron Cresswell has simply been one of the surprise acts of the 2014/15 campaign.
The 25-year-old left-back has reportedly gained the attention of both Chelsea and Manchester City for his consistently strong performances this season – and in a footballing climate currently defined by mostly non-home-grown players coming from high profile backgrounds – that has to come as a great individual achievement on the defender’s part.
West Ham’s no. 3 has drawn untold praise from fans and pundits alike this season, with speculative talk involving a future England career also being suggested for the former Portman Road favourite in the not too distant future.
So then, with all the discussion and debate currently surrounding the PFA’s hand selected team of the season at the moment, should Aaron Cresswell ultimately have been included in the illustriously star-studded XI?
Well regardless of what the player in question eventually goes onto achieve in his Premier League career, West Ham and Sam Allardyce got an absolute bargain on their hands when they landed their new first choice left-back for as little as £3.75million in the summer. The Hammers have notoriously struggled in the full-back positions in recent seasons, so Cresswell’s contribution throughout 2014/15 campaign has been nothing short of miraculous for the Upton Park faithful.
To many within the game, the former Ipswich Town man seemingly has all the qualities of the ‘perfect full-back.’ He is quick on the turn and has proven to be very dangerous in the final third for Big Sam’s side this season, yet he can additionally provide a more than adequate presence at the back for the Hammers whenever required.
[ffc-gal cat=”west-ham” no=”5″]
If the 25-year-old were of different origins than his English upbringing – maybe South American say – perhaps the no. 3 would be held in much higher regard not only in the Premier League, but across Europe as well.
The new star of the east end has not only shown some real glimpses of quality through his crossing ability and set-piece expertise this season, but he has also played every minute for West Ham in the league this term to a truly efficient degree. Aaron Cresswell’s consistency therefore has to see him involved in Roy Hodgson’s England squad before his chance on the international scene ultimately comes and goes.
In light of such a positive take on the left-back’s achievements this season then, it would seem somewhat questionable as to why the West Ham man was not included in the 2014/15 PFA team of the season. With all things considered, even though both Cesar Azpilicueta and Ryan Bertrand (the eventual winner of the left-back spot) have both undoubtedly had strong seasons so far this campaign, it could be fair to suggest that Cresswell deserves the credit above his counter-parts for several different reasons.
The 25-year-old not only had to make the difficult transition between the Championship and the Premier League this summer – which he achieved in surprisingly impressive style – but he has been forced to operate largely under the radar within a team that just haven’t gained the same level of attention as either Southampton or Chelsea have managed this season. He has still nevertheless shone brightly on nearly all given occasions.
Cresswell’s arrival as a somewhat unknown entity should have arguably been enough to deserve further praise with everything taken into account.
Yes, he may certainly need to work on that right foot of his, yes, the odd mistake from a positional point of view has seen the defender caught out once or twice this term, and yes, his side might have drifted off dramatically throughout the tail end of the current season – but ultimately Aaron Cresswell still could have been involved in the final PFA team selection purely for being one of the most impressively exciting, yet surprising, new stars of the 2014/15 campaign.
As such matters invariably make little impact on the week-to-week progress of such players however, the entire Premier League will likely be keeping tabs on the West Ham man throughout the course of 2015/16, regardless of his exclusion, with an illustrious move elsewhere still potentially on the cards for Aaron Cresswell.