Premier League five-a-side groups: who would you decide to your membership?

Which gamers will “the streets always remember”?

Emile Smith Rowe?


Dan Burn?

We tasked our Premier League reporters with selecting a five-a-side staff from the membership that they cowl. There are some apparent picks — and a few much less apparent ones.

The foundations

  • The ball isn’t allowed over head top
  • Slide tackles are forbidden
  • Every staff should have a goalkeeper they usually can’t come out of the world
  • Outfield gamers usually are not allowed within the space
  • They will rating from anyplace outdoors the world

Right here we go then. Please be at liberty to disagree wholeheartedly with their picks within the feedback part…


Though goalkeepers can’t come out of their field, their means to distribute the ball successfully in tight areas can be of essential significance. With that in thoughts, Aaron Ramsdale makes for the plain alternative between the sticks for Arsenal.

The primary outfield title on the teamsheet needs to be Bukayo Saka. He’s the perfect five-a-side participant: two-footed, athletic, and sensible when working in tight areas. If you happen to’re going to incorporate Saka, it’s tempting to place Emile Smith Rowe alongside him — having come by way of the academy collectively, they’ve a improbable understanding. Each gamers carry creativity, work ethic and targets. They’re pure decisions to storm up and down the flanks for our five-a-side staff.

Smith Rowe, Arsenal

Emile Smith Rowe ought to hyperlink up nicely with Bukayo Saka in Arsenal’s five-a-side staff (Picture: David Value/Arsenal FC by way of Getty Pictures)

On the base, I’ll go for Thomas Partey. It’s tempting to incorporate a defender like Ben White or Takehiro Tomiyasu, however Partey has ball-winning skills in addition to the power to dribble by way of essentially the most congested components of any pitch. All these rondos throughout his soccer schooling in Spain will are available in very helpful right here.

Then the staff wants a spearhead — somebody who can end probabilities, but additionally tirelessly shut down the opposition. I’ll go for Gabriel Martinelli — a tigerish predator who might seize on any unfastened ball.

James McNicholas

Aston Villa

One of the best five-a-side groups are enjoyable, fluid and filled with targets. It’s all about outscoring the opponents and Villa have 4 outfield gamers who might trigger some critical injury on this format.

However I’m bottling it and as an alternative of taking part in 4 forwards and a goalkeeper, I guessed this group will want Tyrone Mings someplace alongside the way in which. So, for his blocks and velocity over a brief distance (plus he’s a helpful dribbler when he will get going) he’ll sit in entrance of Emi Martinez. Pepe Reina would have gotten in if it was 2020.

Creating all of the injury with their silky expertise and fast toes can be Emi Buendia and Philippe Coutinho. Who cares if they will’t play collectively in 11-a-side? That is completely different. The South People will occupy so many opponents and it is going to be sensible to observe. 

Philippe Coutinho is a difficult opponent for any aspect (Picture: Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC by way of Getty Pictures)

With house, freedom and countless goalscoring alternatives, Danny Ings is my man up high as he’s nonetheless a greater finisher than Ollie Watkins.

Gregg Evans


It might be troublesome to look previous Mark ‘El Pulpo’ Travers in purpose. Whereas ball-playing isn’t certainly one of his strengths, he ought to nonetheless get by — particularly if his cat-like reflexes maintain the staff out of bother as they did final season.

For a defender, Lloyd Kelly appears to be like extra comfy on the ball than some midfielders. His athleticism means he can cowl the house to man the defence on his personal and his knack for coolly profitable the ball by brushing opponents off is much more of an asset on this format.

Lewis Prepare dinner is the right participant to patrol the center of the pitch. He performs like he has eyes on the again of his head, loves a deal with and his eye for a move is in contrast to another Bournemouth participant. That form of consciousness is so helpful within the confines of a five-a-side cage. Combative, inventive and has an eye fixed for a screamer too. What’s to not like?

As essentially the most skilful participant within the staff, Siriki Dembele offers the aspect its X issue. Stepovers, rabonas, nutmegs — he’s obtained all of it and may use any wiggle of the appropriate analog keep on with bend markers to his will. Simply pure “HOW HAS HE STILL GOT THE BALL?!” power.

Lastly, each staff wants a marksman and Bournemouth don’t must look very far to seek out theirs. Left foot, proper foot, long-range finishes, solo targets, tapping dwelling pretty passing strikes, Dominic Solanke can do all of it. The one slight bother is the place the remainder of the targets will come from.

Ahmed Shooble


David Raya is doubtlessly the best-suited goalkeeper within the Premier League to five-a-side soccer. The Spain worldwide is fast, extraordinarily nimble and grew up taking part in futsal so passing the ball below stress and thru the strains comes naturally. 

We have to make some sacrifices to squeeze our greatest attacking abilities into the aspect. Pontus Jansson or Rico Henry would have been dependable choices on the again, however as an alternative, Christian Norgaard, who usually performs in midfield, begins in defence. He tried essentially the most tackles and accomplished the fifth-highest quantity of interceptions within the top-flight final season so ought to excel in his new position.

Christian Eriksen is our playmaker, as a result of this fictional event takes place earlier than his contract expires, and he’ll mix with Ivan Toney to devastating impact. As an added bonus, Toney is unafraid to throw his weight round which can be useful on a good pitch and deter opposition gamers from being too intelligent with their methods.


Christian Eriksen will add creativity to Brentford’s five-a-side staff (Picture: Federico Maranesi/MI Information/NurPhoto by way of Getty Pictures)

The ultimate spot comes right down to the flip of a coin between Yoane Wissa and Bryan Mbeumo. They’re each agile, difficult forwards who can wriggle between tight areas and supply a particular spark. Mbeumo’s work charge is superior, however Wissa is extra environment friendly in entrance of purpose so he will get the nod.

Jay Harris


Unsurprisingly, I’ll begin my five-a-side staff with Robert Sanchez in purpose. A commanding determine who wears the badge on his sleeve. It’s nearly a disgrace he isn’t allowed outdoors the field or to slip deal with as a result of he would positively volunteer himself for a last-ditch-dodgy-slide try and cease the opposition scoring — his sending off towards Newcastle involves thoughts.

Selecting a defender is the toughest half contemplating the quantity of expertise Brighton have on the again. Tough. However I’m going for maybe the wildcard possibility of Joel Veltman. He can defend like a centre-back and run with the ball like a wing-back… and he scores targets. So I reckon he’s a great shout. 

No Brighton staff is full with out the intelligence of Alexis Mac Allister, he’ll be the overall playmaker of the staff with secret weapon Moises Caicedo sitting behind the Argentinian.

Lastly, the cherry on the highest of the Brighton cake, Leandro Trossard can be up entrance. Together with his swift turns and long-range photographs, he can be excellent for capturing alongside the bottom outdoors the D. 

Dayna Richman


This was tougher than I assumed. For starters, I’ve neglected Chelsea’s first-choice goalkeeper Edouard Mendy! However I went for Kepa as a result of as that is five-a-side, the keeper will see loads of the ball and that’s in all probability Mendy’s largest weak point.

Thiago Silva was in to start with after which I realised I needed to discover room for Reece James. He’s so robust, quick and cozy in possession, he might be in cost on the again as an alternative. 

You want two assured guys who’re combative within the deal with shut by to assist out. That’s the place Mateo Kovacic and Mason Mount are available in. They’re sooner than the ageing pair of Jorginho and N’Golo Kante and have extra of an understanding with one another than Chelsea’s different attacking midfielders. Each can dribble and do fancy flicks going ahead.

Kai Havertz doesn’t have a lot competitors for the striker position. However his silky contact and motion is simply what you need to outwit opposition defenders.   

Simon Johnson

Crystal Palace

Judging by how poor I’ve all the time been at it, five-a-side soccer is all about velocity throughout quick distances, ability and power. With a dose of sound approach, shut management and energy thrown in.

So Wilfried Zaha walks into the Palace staff, with Michael Olise and Eberechi Eze — each higher at monitoring again and contributing defensively than they as soon as have been, for all that I’m already pining for Conor Gallagher on this choice — flitting across the Ivorian.

Marc Guehi might be the defensive organiser, not least as a result of he’s so comfy in possession.

I might have picked any of Palace’s three senior goalkeepers, however let’s go together with younger Joe Whitworth, often with the under-23s, not least as a result of he has already demonstrated how comfy he’s with the ball at his toes.

Dominic Fifield


Phrase doesn’t appear to have travelled a lot additional than Goodison, however Jordan Pickford arguably had his greatest season but in purpose for Everton. I’m backing him to shine on this five-a-side staff because of his fast reflexes and skill to construct assaults.  

In entrance of him, I’ll go for Yerry Mina. The Colombian is Everton’s greatest defender when out there; so commanding that he calms down everybody else round him. If solely he might string a daily run of video games collectively…  

This looks like an excellent surroundings for Alex Iwobi to showcase his expertise. As a toddler, he grew up taking part in on the caged pitches of east London, seeking to emulate his uncle Jay-Jay Okocha. His trade, fast footwork and skill to control the ball in tight areas can be invaluable right here. 

Alex Iwobi and Dominic Calvert-Lewin can be surefire picks (Picture: Richard Sellers/PA Pictures by way of Getty Pictures)

Up entrance, I’ve paired Richarlison’s goalscoring intuition and grit with Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s hold-up play and skill to smell out probabilities near the world. A formidable duo, however can Everton maintain maintain of them this summer season? 

I’m assured this aspect would enhance on Everton’s Sixteenth-place end within the league final season. With Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole, Leighton Baines and Duncan Ferguson within the ranks, the teaching workers would subject a good staff too. 

In actual fact, can I decide them as an alternative?

Paddy Boyland


If you happen to’re not comfy in possession, you aren’t getting in Marco Silva’s all-conquering Fulham aspect — you’re definitely not incomes a spot on this five-man joga bonito extravaganza both.

Marek Rodak, a pillar of Fulham’s final two promotion-winning campaigns, will get the nod in purpose. Together with his imposing body, the Slovakian is able to gorgeous response saves and is comfy with the ball at his toes, not that it issues an excessive amount of on this occasion — all he can be doing is passing to Tosin Adarabioyo.

The towering centre-back carries out his defensive duties aggressively, as Silva calls for of his defenders, and is able to getting his aspect up the sphere shortly together with his penchant for a marauding run — echoes of Joel Matip, maybe.

Captain Tom Cairney might not be a everlasting fixture in Fulham’s beginning line-up anymore, however his composure, passing vary and devilish left foot makes him a sure-fire determine on this aspect.

Welsh playmaker extraordinaire Harry Wilson takes up one of many two attacking berths. Like Cairney, his left foot is a factor of magnificence, making him a purpose menace from just about anyplace, whereas his clever motion and weight of move are certain to bamboozle opponents.

Lastly, Aleksandar Mitrovic will hopefully have the time to provide Neeskens Kebano a raise to the cauldron that’s this hypothetical 3G pitch. As dominant because the Serbian was final season, the ball not being allowed over head top takes away a key side of his ability set and, whereas his link-up play improved considerably in Silva’s first season, what “Mitro” has in brutish brilliance, he lacks in agility and fluidity. Step ahead Kebano, contemporary off the again of his greatest season at Craven Cottage, to be the resident skillsman (not a phrase, however ought to be) of this aspect. Agile, pacy and direct — a nightmare for any defender hot-tailing after an extended day on the workplace.

Rhodri Cannon

Leeds United

Illan Meslier is a giant, large fella and five-a-side targets weren’t made for him however there’s no different goalkeeper you’re selecting at Leeds United so the gloves are his.

We’ll have Kalvin Phillips for the defensive duties, which he can simply do on his personal — assuming he has not left Elland Street by the point we kick off. Smash everybody, that type of factor, and maintain it easy.

We’ll need Raphinha (additionally switch dependent) for his methods and the power to embarrass individuals, to not point out his high quality in tight areas. And talking of high quality in tight areas, Joe Gelhardt will get the nod with directions to serve up targets and assists just like the one towards Brighton final month. Gelhardt looks like the type of participant who scores about 10 within the common sport of fives, a correct avenue footballer.

Sanchez Brighton Leeds

Gelhardt will get a shot away towards Brighton (Picture: Alex Dodd – CameraSport by way of Getty Pictures)

And final however not least, Mateusz Klich. Okay, we haven’t seen peak Klich for a great whereas now however quick passes and fast interaction are his strengths and like Raphinha and Gelhardt, he can even cope with out acres of room to work in — a helpful trait in cage soccer.

Phil Hay


No head heights, so no set items — which suggests Leicester might excel at The Athletic’s five-a-side. 

The keeper can be a given for me. Kasper Schmeichel, for his shot-stopping skills.

In entrance, I’d go for athleticism and flexibility, so James Justin will get the nod on the again, though Wesley Fofana and Ricardo Pereira can be good shouts as nicely. 

In midfield it must be the guile of James Maddison — Metropolis’s grasp of the nutmeg — teamed with the trade and energy of Kiernan Dewsbury-Corridor, and in assault the evergreen Jamie Vardy. Though he’s a penalty-box striker, and he can’t go contained in the field in our guidelines, his ending remains to be so cool and intelligent. 

Rob Tanner


Alisson, who grew up taking part in futsal, is the goalkeeper. If he fancies a run outfield donning a slick coiffure I’m letting him. He picks himself. So does Trent Alexander-Arnold. There’s nobody fairly like West Derby’s most interesting.

And who wouldn’t need Thiago of their five-a-side staff? He can be doing a little ridiculous flicks and methods melting the heads of the opposition. Luis Diaz can be doing the identical. He’s within the staff as a result of he likes to beat you after which return and beat you once more. He’s punishing and so is Mohamed Salah, reducing in on his left and curving his shot into the nook.

Thiago can be a pleasure to observe on any five-a-side pitch (Picture: Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC by way of Getty Pictures)

Can we now have substitutions please? As a result of Roberto Firmino is determined to get off the bench and do some no-look genius.

Caoimhe O’Neill

Manchester Metropolis

You’d certainly wrestle to discover a group of gamers higher suited to five-a-side than Manchester Metropolis. Their gamers reside in a rondo, and will ping it about in small areas higher than anyone. So the problem right here grew to become deciding on essentially the most appropriate in a squad filled with prime candidates.

Ederson is apparent in purpose as a result of he might simply rating if he wished to, and his passing is nearly pretty much as good as anyone. In defence, you may have John Stones, Aymeric Laporte or Oleksandr Zinchenko however Rodri certainly has sufficient defensive instincts to get by and his passing is actually top-tier.

With Bernardo Silva, you’ve then obtained a splendidly gifted technician who can transfer the ball in tight areas but additionally beat a person, cowl a number of floor and rating targets. It was very tempting to pair him with Phil Foden, who’s precisely the identical, however what do you do in regards to the rampaging brilliance of Kevin De Bruyne?

And let’s go together with Erling Haaland as a result of the thought is solely hilarious (we have been additionally capable of twist some arms on the Premier League to register him earlier than July 1). Julian Alvarez may very well be a good contender at some point, as he’s extra of a technician and he is aware of the place the purpose is, however you’ve obtained to go for Haaland. Think about him banging the targets in.

Sam Lee

Manchester United

I’m penning this with the extra rule that this staff is taking part in in a cage/enclosed pitch so you possibly can kick the ball off the partitions. 

David de Gea has weaknesses to his sport that may fortunately be lined up with these mandates, so he will get the nod in purpose right here. Harry Maguire is a bodily, ball-carrying centre-back who will do a lot of the speaking for this staff. You’ll be able to virtually hear him yell, “I’ve obtained two right here!” as he retreats to cope with a counter. 

Final summer season, Jadon Sancho stated, “Road soccer is in regards to the megs and all that, so that you need to violate a pair man”, so he’s going straight into the staff. Marcus Rashford was within the high 5 for nutmegs in Europe in 2020-21 together with Sancho, so in he goes too.

Up high is Cristiano Ronaldo. The directive for this staff is “badding individuals up”, as Sancho as soon as stated. 

Carl Anka

Newcastle United

If Bruno Guimaraes and Allan Saint-Maximin are thrilling to observe within the 11-a-side format, think about how exhilarating the pair of them can be on the smaller courts that formed them as children?

Guimaraes realized his craft taking part in futsal, which is the place he developed his trademark flick management, whereas Saint-Maximin honed his stepovers and flamboyant expertise within the caged courts of Meudon in Paris. In fact, throughout all the Premier League, Newcastle in all probability possess two of the gamers most ideally suited to five-a-side soccer.

Saint-Maximin Newcastle puzzle

Allan Saint-Maximin’s expertise are completely fitted to five-a-side (Picture: Getty Pictures)

So as to add finish product to the attractive and explosive build-up play, Callum Wilson, Newcastle’s top-scorer, is a shoo-in up high. Then, in purpose, Martin Dubravka maintains his No 1 berth, primarily due to his consistency and the paucity of options. I did take into account fielding Jonjo Shelvey as a makeshift goalkeeper, simply so he might show a few of his magnificent passing vary from inside his personal D, however I don’t assume he’d be greatest happy with that suggestion…

For the ultimate spot, I needed to go for a defender. Kieran Trippier as captain was given critical consideration, however the head-height rule means he can’t whip crosses in and acted towards him, and Fabian Schar’s footballing expertise have been near getting him the nod. Nevertheless, Massive Dan Burn, who considerably surprisingly received nationwide futsal tournaments as a youngster, can use his huge body to stride up and down the pitch and lead this thrilling aspect to Premier League five-a-side glory.

Chris Waugh

Nottingham Forest

One more reason to need the grasp of shithousery, Brice Samba, to stay at Nottingham Forest can be to have him in purpose. An incredible shot-stopper however he would additionally speak the opposition into submission — or only a blind fury.

As a defender, let’s make a Steve Cooper-style large name and omit Joe Worrall in favour of Scott McKenna who, whereas not fairly but the brand new Des Walker, has taken over his chant. It’s a good distance spherical him and he can play.

Ryan Yates would launch you within the air, however be well mannered sufficient to choose you up and apologise. Earlier than doing it once more seconds later. Extra power than a six-year-old filled with cola. Cafu alongside him in midfield, simply because his love for the sport is so infectious. And his purpose celebrations at Powerleague can be simply as joyous as they have been at Swansea.

Brennan Johnson would simply be the so-and-so who everybody would attempt to kick, however would repeatedly stick it within the high nook, regardless.

Paul Taylor


Fraser Forster would have been my first alternative, given he tends in sure matches (I’m your turf, Arsenal) the place he simply appears to sprawl each flailing limb efficiently. Alas, he isn’t right here anymore so I’ll go together with Gavin Bazunu, whose athleticism prevails over Alex McCarthy.

I would like an all-encompassing defender able to coping with counters (sure, they do exist in five-a-side) and may play out below stress. Mohammed Salisu, offering he’s at his greatest, will get the nod.

This will shock you however Oriol Romeu will anchor my midfield. He’s been slowly bettering his ball development however he’s not right here for that. Not solely is he a really good man, who will in all probability pay the subs, he’s extra press resistant than James Ward-Prowse and when areas on the pitch are small, he covers them excellently.

Southampton, West Ham

Oriol Romeu will kind a part of Southampton’s midfield (Picture: JOHN SIBLEY/POOL/AFP by way of Getty Pictures)

Kyle Walker-Peters, the jinky, elusive dribbler, will work alongside Romeu. Ralph Hasenhuttl has used Walker-Peters in various midfield roles intermittently, noting his inherent means to work between opposition strains. This can be a barely defensive lineup on paper, however Walker-Peters was arguably Southampton’s most incisive attacking outlet final season.

The shootaholic Adam Armstrong will lead the road. His first season at Southampton was lukewarm at greatest, however his shoot-on-sight type and quickened step sample across the field — he does a bit two-step shuffle when you watch carefully — may match nicely.

Jacob Tanswell


Given goalkeepers can’t come out, I’ll keep away from the temptation to pick out 5 outfielders. So, in purpose it’s Hugo Lloris who, to be honest can be extraordinarily helpful in a cage together with his laser-sharp reflexes. 

My defender can be Cristian Romero who, let’s face it, can be completely terrifying in that form of confined surroundings. Are you able to think about chasing a ball right into a nook with him?! No likelihood he would respect the “unwritten rule” and will let you again out when you obtained there first. 

Subsequent up can be my wildcard decide Tanguy Ndombele. Sure, he would possibly begin flagging within the second half of video games however his ability and shut management in tight areas can be completely mesmerising. Having somebody who can take out opposition gamers from a standing begin is invaluable in fives, and so I’m giving a lifeline to the Spurs outcast. 

Tanguy Ndombele’s ability and shut management in tight areas can be suited to the small-sided video games (Picture: Marc Atkins/Getty Pictures)

My ultimate two picks can be Harry Kane and Son Heung-min. Kane can be invaluable, not solely due to his targets and assists, however the truth that if he wished to he might play in just about each place. Even when Lloris will get injured, Kane has gone in purpose for Tottenham earlier than and you already know would again himself to provide it a go once more. 

Then there’s Son, whose two-footedness and skill to whip a ball into the nook from outdoors the field (no going inside the world, bear in mind) would give this staff a fair higher menace. 

I’ve talked myself into the concept that this staff can be basically unbeatable. Particularly with Dejan Kulusevski as first reserve in case anybody’s operating late after work and may’t make kick-off. 

Charlie Eccleshare 

West Ham

Alphonse Areola would have gotten the nod over Lukasz Fabianski had West Ham accomplished his signing earlier than the deadline for this piece. Fabianski nonetheless remains to be a great possibility with reflexes certainly one of his strengths. 

For a five-a-side sport I would like a defender who can have no points tackling opposition gamers to throw them off their sport. Kurt Zouma is ideal for this however honourable point out to Craig Dawson who narrowly misses out.

In colloquial phrases, I would like gamers who’ve “tekkers”. With it being a small-sided affair Declan Rice, Mentioned Benrahma and Jarrod Bowen full my staff. Rice has the power to dictate the tempo, Benrahma is able to offering assists, scoring and humiliating the opposition, whereas in class phrases Bowen is that child on the playground who all the time will get picked first for video games like these.

There’s expertise, aptitude and management in my staff. We’re huge, now can somebody give us instructions for the place we gather our trophy? 

Roshane Thomas


On condition that Wolves have a global futsal participant of their ranks, the primary title on the teamsheet is obvious. With apologies to Conor Coady, Max Kilman is in as captain, ball-playing defender and the voice of expertise relating to aggressive, small-sided soccer.

Jose Sa is the clear alternative in purpose the place, with keepers banned from leaving their penalty areas, the sport can be all about shot-stopping —  the world the place final season’s participant of the yr is very adept.

After which three attacking gamers are wanted, two of whom are no-brainers.

Joao Moutinho and Ruben Neves are top-quality performers who might move opponents off the pitch in addition to chipping in with targets, and they’re on the identical wavelength too.

Whereas it’s tempting so as to add a No 9 because the attacking spearhead, physicality is much less of a difficulty right here so Pedro Neto will get the nod for his particular person aptitude as his eye for purpose.

Steve Madeley

Who do you assume is profitable the five-a-side Premier League then?

Tell us within the feedback beneath…

(Photographs: Getty Pictures; design: Sam Richardson)

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