The Team of the Season hype train is well and truly on the tracks in FIFA 23 Ultimate Team, which means opinionated pieces like this will be flying around the internet.
General fan displeasure at the omission of their favourite stars swirls like grimy bath water down a plug hole, and the recent reveal of the EFL Team of the Season left a bad taste in my mouth.
I will preface this by saying I am an Ipswich Town fan, but the omission of a single Tractor Boys player is not my only qualm with a squad that fails to acknowledge and respect England's lower league.
EFL Team of the Season Fury
The EFL Team of the Season has always been something of a circus, but this year's selection has particularly ruffled some feathers.
Of course, there is the element of care that I've never bothered with before, as the last Ipswich player to make a TOTS squad was Daryl Murphy back in FIFA 15.
That being said, there are three main components that frustrate me above all else when it comes to the Team of the Season squad:
- There are no Ipswich or Plymouth players
- Many players are rated too highly
- There simply aren't enough players to represent an adequate spread of talent in the EFL.
Let's go through these one by one...
League One Snubbed
League One is the least represented division in the EFL Team of the Season, with League Two receiving one more inclusion.
Whilst this isn't the biggest crime on show in the EFL TOTS selection, it does baffle me when you consider just how competitive the League One landscape was.
Bias will blind me of course, but the lack of representation for Ipswich and Plymouth is laughable.
Ipswich, who finished second and secured automatic promotion, scored 100 goals this season and amassed 98 points. Statistically, Kieran McKenna's side dominated all metrics and their main man, Connor Chaplin, won the league's golden boot, despite the EFL claiming he shared it with Jonson Clarke-Harris.
Not only that but new signing Leif Davis drummed up the most assists and recorded the best statistics for a full-back in the EFL, but he was also omitted.
Plymouth's omission almost seems more mental. The Pilgrims battled the odds to get over 100 points and claim the league title, but only Bali Mumba represents them, and he's not even in the main squad.
Another notable absence is the actual League One player of the season, Aaron Collins.
Collins was given the prestigious award a few weeks ago and whilst the second half of his campaign has been nowhere near as fruitful as the first, his omission feels summitive of how EA selected this team for FIFA 23.
The EFL Team of the Season is likely representative of a major issue that runs throughout FIFA 23, and past FIFA titles.
Players are too highly rated.
I understand that EA wants to make these players usable, but the tag of a high rating is taking away from what makes FIFA great.
Long gone are the days of silver stars, instead every player has to be 90+ rated due to EA setting dangerous precedents during promos throughout the game's cycle.
Take League Two winner Lawrence Vigouroux as an example. He boasts a 91 rating in this team, one rating higher than Ederson and Ramsadle, both of whom feature in the Premier League Team of the Season squad, a league three division higher than where Vigouroux is currently playing.
I'm not saying that these players should be milling in the mid-80s, as I'm aware no one would use them, but that says more about the flooding of high-rated cards in the FIFA Ulitmate Team market as opposed to truly reflecting the level in the EFL and offering players something completely different.
Squad Size Dilemmas
This point slightly contradicts the one above, as I'm aware that increasing the size of the EFL Team of the Season would perpetuate the issue of too many high-rated cards on the market.
However, that ship has firmly sailed and why should it matter if six or so more players were added and, secondly, the EFL Team of the Season is one of the only squads that requires more inclusions.
The EFL is made up of 92 clubs, all of whom would make a claim that at least one of their players should be considered for the TOTS squad.
Of course, you can't include 92 players but you could at least increase the overall squad size to 16 or 18, allowing EA to represent more clubs, players and leagues.
The Championship obviously steals the limelight in the EFL Team of the Season, but further representation across the leagues is incredibly important.
FIFA has a pull so significant that people generally start supporting clubs because of a certain player or team they've used in a video game.
That love for the lower leagues will decrease if EA doesn't show the EFL the love it deserves moving forward.
Overall, the FIFA 23 EFL Team of the Season has left a lot of people feeling underwhelmed, with the inclusion of Joao Pedro, a man that has flopped for Watford, perfectly surmising how little care was put into this squad's selection.
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