Eight Manchester United players were named in the Europa League squad of the season, selected by UEFA’s technical observers.
United, who won the competition with a 2-0 victory over Ajax in Stockholm on Wednesday, had by far the most players in the 18-man selection, with Sergio Romero, Eric Bailly, Daley Blind, Antonio Valencia, Ander Herrera, Paul Pogba, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Zlatan Ibrahimovic all included.
Runners-up Ajax and semifinalists Celta Vigo and Lyon each contributed three players, while quarterfinalists Anderlecht’s Youri Tielemans — who joined Monaco in a €25 million deal this week — completes the selection.
Former United boss Sir Alex Ferguson was among UEFA’s technical observers in Stockholm along with former Romania internationals Cristian Chivu and Ioan Lupescu, ex-Serbia and Inter Milan midfielder Dejan Stankovic, former Poland defender Stefan Majewski and Mixu Paatelainen, who played for and managed Finland.
Herrera drew particular praise from the panel, who said he was “the Man of the Match in the final and extremely important throughout United’s campaign,” while they said Ibrahimovic — injured in the quarterfinal win over Anderlecht — had been a “talisman” until that point.
The ever-present Pogba, meanwhile, was described as the “complete midfield player” and Blind drew praise for his “excellent reading of the game in the final [which] helped to nullify Ajax’s potent attack.”
Others to draw notable praise were 17-year-old Ajax defender Matthijs De Ligt, whose “mature performances belied his years,” and Tielemans, labelled an “impressive young player who was outstanding throughout competition.”
Alexandre Lacazette, in talks over a move to Atletico Madrid, was “Lyon’s key attacker” and the French side’s Corentin Tolisso was hailed for “one of the goals of the tournament versus Roma.”
Sergio Alvarez (Celta Vigo), Sergio Romero (Manchester United)
Eric Bailly (Manchester United), Gustavo Cabral (Celta Vigo), Jeremy Morel (Lyon), Matthijs De Ligt (Ajax), Daley Blind (Manchester United), Antonio Valencia (Manchester United)
Pablo Hernandez (Celta Vigo), Ander Herrera (Manchester United), Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Youri Tielemans (Anderlecht), Corentin Tolisso (Lyon), Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Manchester United), Amin Younes (Ajax)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United), Alexandre Lacazette (Lyon), Bertrand Traore (Ajax)