After the regular Eredivisie season came to an end last weekend, Goal.com picks out the best performers of the 2011-12 campaign
Goalkeeper Esteban Alvarado faced the difficult task of replacing Argentina international Sergio Romero between the sticks at AZ, but the Costa Rican was more than up to the job. The 23-year-old kept more clean sheets than any other goalkeeper in the league, and his impressive performances have made him a real crowd favourite in Alkmaar.
The rearguard contains representatives from four different teams, with a number of surprising names making the cut. At right-back, Kelvin Leerdam gets the nod after a superb season at Feyenoord. While the likes of Gregory van der Wiel failed to perform consistently at Ajax, Leerdam was solid as a rock all championship long. At centre-back, Jan Vertonghen is a certainty following his impressive campaign with Ajax. The Belgian scored more than any other defender in the Dutch top flight and led by example to help the Amsterdam giants to the title.
Vertonghen is partnered at the back by Vitesse skipper Guram Kashia. The Arnhem side only just escaped relegation last term, but were the first team to secure a ticket to the end-of-season play-offs this time around, and much of their rise is due to the reliable Georgia international. AZ wing-back Simon Poulsen occupies the left-back slot, and there won't be too much debate about the Dane's inclusion. The 27-year-old has been a key figure for the Alkmaar outfit with his runs forward, while he hardly set a foot wrong defensively either.
Two of the revelations of the season occupy the holding midfielder positions. After a number of relatively anonymous years at AZ, Rasmus Elm finally lived up to the high expectations this term as he became one of the league's top stars. His tidy distribution in combination with his accuracy from set pieces make him a joy to watch, and he'll be looking to keep up his good form at Euro 2012. A player who won't make it to this summer's tournament, but thoroughly deserves his spot in the Team of the Season is Jordy Clasie. There were plenty of doubts about the young midfielder's physique, but the 20-year-old was the creative engine that kept Feyenoord going to eventually claim a second-place finish.
In attacking midfield, Heerenveen winger Luciano Narsingh gets the nod on the right. The former Ajax starlet provided an impressive 20 assists over the course of the season, and his blistering pace offered his direct opponents endless nightmares. Highly-rated youngster Christian Eriksen also makes the cut after a 2011-12 campaign in which he showed his immense talent time and again. His numerous assists as well as his important goals played a vital role in Ajax's title-winning campaign. Dries Mertens occupies the left-wing slot after a productive debut season for PSV. The Belgium international was involved in a total of 35 goals, and although he couldn't maintain his high level after the winter break, the attacker more than deserves his place.
With players such as Luuk de Jong, Sanharib Malki and John Guidetti all enjoying stellar seasons, there were plenty of candidates for the position of lone striker. However, very few will disagree that Bas Dost should be the man to lead the line. The Heerenveen star had his best season ever as he netted 32 times in 34 league appearances to become the Eredivisie's top scorer. He has missed out on a spot in Oranje's Euro 2012 squad, but it promises to be a good summer for the towering forward as a transfer to a bigger club looms.
| Clean sheets: 15
|Appearances: 31||Appearances: 32||Appearances: 31||Appearances: 34|
|Goals/Assists: 1/7||Goals/Assists: 3/1
|Appearances: 33||Appearances: 32|
| Appearances: 34
||Appearances: 33||Appearances: 33|
|Goals/Assists: 8/20||Goals/Assists: 7/15||Goals/Assists: 21/14|