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Mohamed Salah is the only African star in the best XI selected by the former Liverpool captain and ex-Man Utd captain

Jamie Carragher said Sadio Mane was excluded from their Premier League XI for 2020 because of his lack of goals this season while Gary Neville picked Tottenham Hotspur’s Son Heung-min ahead of the Liverpool star due to his contributions.

Mane has contributed five goals and two assists in 13 appearances for Jurgen Klopp’s side while Son has a tally of 11 goals and four assists in 14 league outings for Spurs.

Neville, in his defence, stated that the 2019 African Footballer of the Year deserves a spot in their selection alongside Son but he excluded the Senegal forward for his teammate Mohamed Salah, whom he described as a “cold-blooded” player, unlike “team player” Mane.

“You cannot criticise Son or Mane. There is no negative about them. They are both absolutely world-class,” Neville told Sky Sports.

“Every club in the world would want Son or Mane playing for them – Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United, every club in the world want those two players.

“Just plug the actual goals and assists in, and Son’s just done better in a team that isn’t as good obviously. Son just won it but that is no reflection on Mane. He could’ve easily been in the team.

“The reason I’ve always chosen Salah over Mane is because he’s cold-blooded. Mane’s a team player, who would always put the team first, but Salah is cold-blooded and that’s not a negative. It makes Liverpool vicious as a team and he’s the type who will just go for it again and again and again and again, and he won’t stop.”

On the other hand, Carragher pointed to Mane’s lack of goals in the English top-flight as a reason for his snub.

The 28-year-old ended his eight-game goal drought with a strike in Liverpool’s 7-0 rout over Crystal Palace last Saturday but he is still six goals behind Son in the Premier League goalscoring chart this season.

“I love Mane but he’s just going through a little spell at the moment,” the Liverpool legend said. “He’s got just one goal in nine games whereas Son’s been off the charts. You couldn’t not pick Son.

“But what I would say is, that position, the left-sided attacker is the strongest position in the league and where the best players are.

“For the last two or three years, you’ve had Mane and Raheem Sterling who have been as good as anything in the world in that position.”

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December 22, 2020
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