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EFL: Team of 2016

30 December 2016

A fantastic year of EFL action is drawing to a close, so we've selected 11 of the best players and a manager to form a Team of 2016.

Following a thrilling climax to the 2015/16 season, and an equally exciting start to the current campaign, we’ve taken a look back at the calendar year and picked out 11 star players and a manager from a memorable 12 months.

So, here is the EFL Team of 2016…

Goalkeeper: Kieren Westwood (Sheffield Wednesday)

Westwood played a huge part in the success that Sheffield Wednesday enjoyed last season, and has taken his fine form into the current campaign.

The Republic of Ireland international kept nine clean sheets at the back-end of 2015/16 and was outstanding in the Play-Off Final defeat to Hull City, and he has kept another eight so far this term with the Owls in promotion contention once again.

Defender: Paul Robinson (AFC Wimbledon)

With 24 games gone at the end of 2015, AFC Wimbledon sat 12th in Sky Bet League Two. One year on, they’re 11th, and in the division above.

Robinson has been outstanding in that period, helping the Dons climb the ladder and starring in their Play-Off Final win over Plymouth Argyle. This season, the 34-year-old has only missed one game as the club continue to impress in Sky Bet League One.

Defender: Lewis Dunk (Brighton & Hove Albion)

Dunk has stood tall in the Brighton defence all year long, and is one of the reasons why his side currently hold top spot in the Sky Bet Championship.

Following three reverses to start 2016, Dunk has tasted defeat just three times since, with the Seagulls enjoying a couple of lengthy undefeated runs and conceding just 14 in 23 so far this season.

Defender: John Egan (Gillingham/Brentford)

Egan was in excellent form in 2016, firstly for Gillingham and then for Brentford, after the Sky Bet Championship outfit moved for his services in the summer.

The 24-year-old earned a place in the PFA League One Team of the Year despite the Gills narrowly missing out on a Play-Off spot, then began his Bees career in style by scoring twice on his home debut, in what was also one of eight clean sheets kept by the club so far this term.

Midfielder: Josh Morris (Bradford City/Scunthorpe United)

The first half of 2016 may not have been the most memorable for Morris, but the winger has a new lease of life at Scunthorpe United and has been the stand-out performer of the EFL season so far.

Chipping in with 14 goals and nine assists from the wing since his Glanford Park arrival, the 25-year-old has directly contributed to half of the Iron’s goals this term.

He earned back-to-back Player of the Month awards in August and September, and has helped the Iron to top spot in Sky Bet League One.

Read more: Josh Morris named Sky Bet League One Player of the Month

Midfielder: Graham Carey (Plymouth Argyle)

Despite Plymouth slipping out of the automatic promotion places in the second half of the 2015/16 season, Carey was still one of the standout players in Sky Bet League Two, and was named the sixth best player in the division as the Pilgrims missed out on promotion in the Play-Off Final.

The Irishman is at his best again this term with nine goals and eight assists to date, and the Green Army are riding high once again, only trailing the league leaders due to goal difference.

Midfielder: Nicky Adams (Northampton Town/Carlisle United)

Northampton were the runaway champions of Sky Bet League Two in 2015/16, embarking on a 24-game unbeaten run and finishing 13 points clear of their nearest rivals.

Adams was a key part of the Cobblers’ success, and he took his creative abilities and winning mentality with him to Carlisle in the summer. The midfielder is flying high in the division once more with the Cumbrians, and it wasn’t until 12th November that he first tasted a league defeat in 2016.

Midfielder: Adam Hammill (Barnsley)

Hammill returned to a hero’s welcome when he rejoined Barnsley at the beginning of last season, and both he and the club enjoyed a truly remarkable 2016.

After climbing off the bottom of the table, Hammill’s wing wizardry helped the Tykes reach the Play-Offs, where he struck a Wembley wonder goal to help see off Millwall. Just a month earlier, he netted the decisive goal at the national stadium to clinch the EFL Trophy.

Forward: Matty Taylor (Bristol Rovers)

Taylor finished third in the running for the Sky Bet League Two Player of the Year award after firing Bristol Rovers to third spot and a second successive promotion, scoring 14 goals in the second half of the season.

The prolific striker hasn’t lost his touch, hitting another 13 in the EFL so far this season for the 10th-placed Pirates.

Forward: Will Grigg (Wigan Athletic)

Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that the terrace chant of “Will Grigg’s on fire” will be one of the lasting memories of 2016.

The Wigan fans’ song made its way to Euro 2016, and was fully justified. The Northern Ireland international bagged 20 goals at the turn of the year as the Latics stormed to the Sky Bet League One title, adding a further five as he and his side adjust to life in the Sky Bet Championship.

Forward: John Akinde (Barnet)

Akinde leads the Sky Bet League Two goalscoring charts having grabbed 17 goals for Barnet so far this season, carrying on from where he left off at the end of 2015/16.

The powerful striker found the net 13 times during the finale to that campaign, making him the EFL’s top goalscorer this calendar year.

Manager: Chris Wilder (Northampton Town/Sheffield United)

Wilder led Northampton to the Sky Bet League Two title in style last season, clinching the crown in April without a loss since the turn of the year.

The Sheffield-born boss departed Sixfields for his boyhood club in the summer, and has instilled that winning attitude into his Sheffield United squad.

After a slow start, the Blades have lost just once in 19 games, giving the 49-year-old a 2016 record of 29 wins, 13 draws and just four defeats.

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