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The FA Cup Fourth Round

Free-transfer team: Pick your starting XI

TEAMtalk Editor Simon Wilkes presents his Premier League free-transfer XI - and invites you, our army of readers, to pick your own line-up.

Last Updated: 12/06/13 at 08:42 Post Comment

Florent Malouda: Gets a licence to thrill in Wilkes' free-transfer XI

Florent Malouda: Gets a licence to thrill in Wilkes' free-transfer XI

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Tom McDermott picked a free transfer XI for Sky Sports.com last week, and has been getting stick from the TEAMtalk lads ever since.

His starting XI (4-4-2) was: Schwarzer; Upson, Gallas, Kilgallon, Baird; Bentley, Malouda, O'Neil, Diarra; Santa Cruz, Carlton Cole.

We reckon better, more balanced teams can be constructed, so TEAMtalk Editor Simon Wilkes selects a team of his own - and invites you to do the same after scanning through the full list of released Premier League players available to you.

Simon Wilkes' free transfer XI (4-2-3-1): S Harper; D Simpson, W Gallas, M Upson, M Kilgallon; M Diarra, T Hitzlsperger; Arshavin, Malouda, J Thomas; Di Santo.

Subs: M Schwarzer, C Baird, I Harte, J Pennant, G O'Neil, Z Gera, C Cole.

Defence: Steve Harper has been in the shadows for virtually all of his career, but takes the number one jersey for me, as is a good shot-stopper, commands his area well and has bags of experience to call upon.

In front of him I've picked an experienced and rock-solid centre-back pairing. Neither Gallas nor Upson are the fastest, however, hence the decision to play two holding midfielders to offer them protection against pace.

Defensive midfielders: With Diarra the anchor, left-sided Hitzlsperger has more freedom to be the link man with the attacking midfield trio, and with Matt Kilgallon more defensively minded than Simpson on the right flank, the German can afford to make runs forward without leaving a hole to expose at the back on the left.

Attacking midfielders: It was a tough choice between Andrey Arshavin and Jermaine Pennant for the right-sided role, but I plumped for the former due to his greater pedigree and experience. Florent Malouda gets a licence to thrill and create as the man in the middle, while former West Brom winger Jerome Thomas gets a chance on the left flank, having thrived there for Albion under Roberto Di Matteo and Roy Hodgson.

Striker: Playing an attacking trio behind the frontman means balls will be coming into feet rather than from the wings aerially, so Franco Di Santo gets the nod over the likes of Carlton Cole and Marc-Antoine Fortune due to his superior touch and all-round play. He does have a physical presence too, so is perfectly suited to this role.

That's my team, now pick yours!

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